Great stories

Much more than arithmetic and writing: When school becomes a place of refuge

von Isabelle Diekmann

In many federal states, the school holidays are coming to an end and classes will soon start again. And that is - even if the children may see it differently at the moment - a real privilege. In many countries, the nearest school is several hours away, the children have to support their families with work, or the teaching materials are simply too expensive. But together with Welthungerhilfe, we can change that. Every item of stationery purchased from share automatically supports Welthungerhilfe . The organization provides school materials, meals and hygiene items at various schools in Uganda as needed, thus ensuring that more children can be taught. On our project trip at the beginning of the year, we were able to see this for ourselves together with our trading partner dm. In the magazine, we tell you all about our impressive project trip!

Catalin (dm) and Yvonne (share) with the Welthungerhilfe team on the way to visit the school. ©Christoph Köstlin

With Welthungerhilfe in Uganda

For a week, we were able to accompany Welthungerhilfe in their work in Uganda and get an impression of the great local school project that has a lasting impact on the lives of children. "We" - that is part of our share team as well as Catalin, who works in social media management for our long-standing trading partner dm. When we launched our share stationery at the end of 2020, dm was at our side and put the products on the shelves - a huge help that made supporting the Welthungerhilfe project possible in the first place. Almost three years later, together we were able to visit various schools that are supported by the purchase of share stationery, in addition to the regional offices where we got to know the Welthungerhilfe employees.

School lessons in Uganda. ©Christoph Köstlin

In close cooperation for school lessons

For three days we visited primary schools and a secondary school in the Moroto region in the north-east of the country, close to the Kenyan border. What is often forgotten is that even though Uganda's economy is developing (slowly but steadily), the country is one of the poorest in the world, and this rural region is particularly badly affected. The prevailing droughts are exacerbating food shortages and poverty. And this is noticeable in the schools. Even though there are state schools for up to 1000 children that have toilets and kitchens, we also see schools that have been built by the community itself. They consist of little more than a shed, teachers are volunteers from the communities, and the children have to bring their own piece of firewood and a container so that a simple meal can be cooked for everyone.

School lessons with school materials in Uganda. ©Christoph Köstlin

But all the schools we visited have one thing in common: close cooperation between the communities and various aid organizations is needed to make everyday teaching possible. While Welthungerhilfe provides school materials and hygiene items, such as period products, other organizations donate to build dormitories or drinking water wells. Because only if the children are provided with safe buildings, food and drink, teaching materials and necessary hygiene products can teaching take place in this region of Uganda.

School meals are distributed. ©Christoph Köstlin

When schools become a place of refuge

What we became particularly aware of during our trip to Uganda: school here means much more than arithmetic and writing. In the border region in northeastern Uganda, which is marked by unrest and poverty, the mostly fenced-in school is above all a place of safety, a refuge for schoolchildren and their younger siblings. They often even sleep here for longer periods of time in order to have safe shelter, food and care.

School materials for school children in Uganda. ©Christoph Köstlin

In addition to the basics, reading, etc., the children also learn social skills, English and an understanding that goes beyond the reality of life and the perspectives of their own community. This enables them to support their parents and gives them a better negotiating position outside the community. The aim is also to motivate siblings to go to school and thus pass on the knowledge - for the further development of the communities, but also for their own hopes of secondary education and vocational training. Because whether in Germany or Uganda, the children have the same career aspirations, wanting to become teachers themselves or work in a hospital.

Children arrive at school. ©Christoph Köstlin

Would you like to help? With every purchase of share stationery you automatically support Welthungerhilfe and thus this important project in Uganda.

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