Global Playground Chairman Doug Bunch and Executive Director Edward Branagan traveled to Uganda on January 2 to visit Global Playground’s first project, a primary school in Wakiso District.
Global Playground funded the construction of the school in partnership with Building Tomorrow who oversaw the project. Both Mr. Branagan and Mr. Bunch spent time with the students, teachers, and their families while visiting the school.
“We have worked so hard to get to this point, and it marks an important moment for Global Playground that we can actually see all of our efforts materialize,” Bunch said.
“As hard as it is for us to make time to do everything that we do, the benefit that we giveto these communities is larger than we can ever imagine. These kids would not be inschool if Global
Playground had not acted.” Branagan also added, “With about five years of hindsight, one can see and even feel that the modest funds donated for this schoolbuilding project have changed lives both in tangible and intangible ways that may not be reflected in a single success metric such as student enrollment numbers.”
Before Global Playground’s school was built, many students did not attend school because it was too far for them to travel to do so. The new school serves more than six villages. Classes range from 25 to 30 students each with a total enrollment of about 190 students and nine teachers.
“Global Playground can help build four walls for education, but at the end of the day, the learning that occurs within the walls is the result of the teachers, students, parents and local NGO Building Tomorrow,” Branagan said. “It is really inspiring to see how much education is valued by all stakeholders involved, a true testament to the grassroots community engagement model that is being employed by our partners on the ground.”
The government provides teachers and sets the curriculum, but Global Playground hopes to place a Teaching Fellow at the school in the future.
“There is always room for improvement, but, overall, I think there will be ample opportunity for a new Fellow to work alongside a very able and committed community,” Branagan said.
In addition, Global Playground received a grant from the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association (CFEBA) to install solar panels in the school. Bunch and Branagan saw the grant put into good use at the school during their visit.
“The solar panels are working and in use. The power is a huge benefit to the school,” Bunch said.
The panels not only provide power to the building, but they have also become a small source of income to further support the school itself.
“The solar panels are also being used to charge cell phones of community members. The modest funds generated from this are reinvested in the school,” Branagan said.
With a power source and a working school in place, Bunch and Branagan hope that Internet and computers can one day come to the school as well.