Written by: Clare Lovelace
So you’re 4 years old and just about to start school. Imagine that instead of sitting on a bus or a taking a short walk along the pavement, your journey involved a tough 3km trek through mountainous terrain and that’s even before you attempt to master your times tables. Lack of resources have so far prevented the community from building their own school so for the children of Kagezi this is the harsh reality.
Understandably the parents in the community are reluctant to send their young children on this journey every day, choosing instead to have keep them at home to help out in farming and household chores. Most children in Kagezi are not starting school until they are 7 years old where they are then at the same level as the 4 – 6 year old children in their class and this causes them to feel humiliated and much more likely to drop out of education altogether. As a result the illiteracy rate in Kagezi is at 80% and the high majority of villagers are unable to write their own name. This has caused high levels of unemployment and high birth rates which keep the community trapped in the poverty cycle.
To improve the youth of Kagezi’s educational prospects, RTV have teamed up with the community and progress has begun on the construction of 3 nursery classes within the village. The Kagezi community are fully on board with this initiative and will be responsible for the management of the school going forward. This time next year the school will be complete and the children will be able to start their education with ease, taking the first step towards a more empowered future.