They are few and far between, and all are day schools. Orphans and impoverished children do better in a boarding school environment, and Bwindi Watoto is significantly better academically than the local, public primary schools. In most cases, without a sponsor, an orphaned or poor child does not receive an education.
Secondary schools may receive government support, but they are not free. While Bishop Comboni gets some government funding, it is not sufficient to cover all the educational and accompanying (uniforms, books, transportation, etc.) expenses. Without family or outside support, students are unable to continue their education. Bishop Comboni was selected as an outstanding secondary school in the same district as Bwindi Watoto.
Why do the sponsored children have to board at school?
There are several answers. First, many children’s homes are far away from schools. It can take one, two or many hours to walk each way to school. Second, children who go home each night often do not return to school, especially if the family is poor or if only one parent is available; the family may want the child to help with other children or with farming, or they simply don’t have the time to bring them back to school. Third, children perform better academically when living at school. They are on a regular routine, study is part of their day, and the environment encourages learning. Finally, the children receive better nutrition at school than most would at home.
Do the children get religious training? Did you pick Bishop Comboni for secondary school because it is Catholic?
Uganda is very much a Christian, and for the most part, Catholic country. Bishop Comboni was founded by the Catholic Church and given to the local community. It is considered a non-denominational public school. It receives some government funds. The Board of Directors is made up of parents and the local community. It was chosen solely for its academic standing as the district’s leading secondary school.
Is there anything else I can do to help?
Yes. Please look at the Other Donations page. There are many ideas available, large and small.
Will my child write to me?
We are committed to providing school reports on your child, a new photo each year, and as much additional information as possible. It is our goal for secondary students to write one or two letters each year. This is more difficult for primary school children as they may not be proficient in English and there is not much to write about in the simple, daily routine of a Ugandan village.
We are concerned about open contact between sponsors and children, but sometimes it is difficult to have timely and consistent communication. Also, there is no internet available at Watoto or Comboni at this time, and no opportunity to Skype. While we know how important it is to get more communication to you, please be assured that we do all we can. Part of our commitment is to keep as much information as possible flowing to you through this website and through our Facebook page.
Can I visit my child?
Absolutely. In fact, we can help with recommendations on a driver who is our friend. He may be available to pick you up at the airport in the capital of Kampala, drive you to Bwindi or Kambuga, where Bishop Comboni is located, and act as a translator where needed. If you wish, he can take you to some of the wonderful ecological sites in Uganda. We can also recommend places to stay near the airport and the schools. A member of the school staff will be happy to meet with you, show you around the school, and introduce you to your sponsored child.
For planning purposes, Bishop Comboni is in Kambuga approximately a nine hour drive from Kampala and two hours from Bwindi with many dirt roads. You can visit the “gorillas in the mist” of the mountains, within walking distance from Bwindi, if you have a paid permit to trek with a guide. These are best obtained before leaving for your trip; look at bwindinationalpark.com and bwindiforestnationalpark.com.
May I contact you directly to ask questions?
We would like to hear from you. Please call Jim & Jan Tanis at 928-204-1135. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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© 2017 Bwindi Community Program
A Non Profit 501(C)(3) organization