Honiton resident seeks to support for education in Uganda
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:09 11 July 2017
The growing Nalwanza Secondary School in Uganda has developed links with East Devon. Honiton resident Richard Lucas explains how the project came about.
Nalwanza Secondary School, nestling in the foothills of Mount Elgon, Eastern Uganda, beside the bubbling Manafwa River, has over the last 15 years grown up to become the centre of a vibrant local community in this lively and beautiful region of Uganda.
In response to President Museveni’s call, in 2002, for a generation of morally upright young people to be raised up to affect Ugandan society, the school has sought to develop excellent and responsible young Ugandans with strong educational qualifications, upright character, and a clear Christian moral compass.
Relationship is the lynch-pin of this venture. It all started in the late 1980s when Richard Lucas, now a resident of Honiton, was a CMS teacher in eastern Uganda. Moses Wamara, then a sixth form student at the same school, used to translate when Richard travelled to speak in different churches.
On his return to the UK in 1990, Richard supported Moses through his university courses and the two of them became good friends, subsequently attending each other’s weddings and visiting each other on a number of occasions.
In 2002, Moses had the vision to start a secondary school for the needy young people in the area. Thus Nalwanza Secondary School began as a handful of students, meeting in the front room of a local man called Dan Fungo. A year later, the fledgling school transferred to some temporary classrooms on Dan’s land.
Hearing of these developments, Richard went out to check on the project and was deeply inspired by Moses’ vision for the school. Back in the UK, Richard set about seeking help to build up this fledgling initiative. Since that time, a growing network of British individuals has been seeking to support this Ugandan venture through sponsorship of those students unable to pay for their secondary education, together with fundraising to develop the school’s infrastructure.
Little by little, help has begun to flow into the project: land has been purchased, permanent buildings erected, and solar power installed. The school has grown to about 250 students, with the planned expansion to accommodate ‘A’ Level students in 2017.
In response to the growing interest in the project, Richard started a UK charity, Nalwanza Charitable Trust, in 2013, to support Moses and his wife Rhoda in the excellent vision that is still being fleshed out at Nalwanza. Several working parties have been out to construct buildings (2006) and build bridges (2007/10). Moses has also been over to the UK (2012). A thriving community, including a church and a primary school, in addition to the secondary school, now flourish on the site. Ambitious plans are in motion to erect a three-storey building to contain a computer room, library, meeting room, classrooms, science labs and offices. Currently, the foundations are laid but more money is needed to continue what has been started.
Nalwanza Secondary School has a particular compassion for the orphaned and other needy students in the community. Many of these are unable to pay school fees (£15 a month for day students, £25 for borders). It is truly life-changing to invest a few pounds a week into someone else’s life: someone who is otherwise not able to study, through poverty or family misfortune.
Richard said: “We are looking for people to act as sponsors for these needy but enthusiastic children on a one-to-one basis. By joining in this venture, you can enjoy the satisfaction of making a life-long difference to the prospects of a young Ugandan!
“We also need help to realise the big plans we have for new buildings to house the growing school. If you are able to help to make these plans a reality, please do! Either use the details below to contact me, or else visit the website to get more of a flavour for the project. It has always been the case that all money raised goes direct to the school in its entirety: no admin costs are incurred.
“Nalwanza is the ongoing story of one person’s vision: the planting of a small seed. As others have joined with this vision and served to foster its growth, so it has grown and produced fruit. The campus now consists of a recently completed girls’ hostel, a boys’ hostel, classrooms, a woodwork block, headteacher’s house, forest and fields for agriculture and games, a primary school, a church, and foundations for the new school block. The number of top division students that Nalwanza turns out far exceeds the results of any other school in the district, illustrating the truth of the motto: “Excellence with God’s guidance”. Do join in!”
Nalwanza Charitable Trust
11 Dove Close, Honiton, Devon, EX14 2GP
Tel: (01404) 758408
UK Charity No: 1151313