Nyamabuga Foundations School – Moving Towards the Future
‘Belonging to those who cannot be defeated,’ this is the meaning behind all of the love and work Sister Gertrude Kabatalemwa poured into her community. This is the legacy her son Emmanuel Mwesigye intends to continue with NEEPUganda and as director of the Nyamabuga Foundations School. Emmanuel Mwesigye may have the technical training to take on the greater task of the operations of the school, but it is the heart he has for the community that is the driving force behind what he does on a daily basis. From this place we see the same heartbeat his mother had for the advancement of the people of Uganda being carried out through him.
Currently, the Nyamabuga Foundations School facilitates educational training for children at their primary levels. Due to present-day circumstances the secondary school is temporarily not in operation. What this means to the children is a shift in their educational training during their adolescence. A period to which consistency is crucial to their development into adulthood. The school accepts students as young as 3 years of age, and offers education to the approximate age of 14. The training provided would be similar to our system of Pre-kindergarten through middle school. Without a functioning Secondary, or what we would consider High School, children and their families are left to fend for themselves finding ways to continue their education, if at all. This presents a challenge for those at the institute that have fostered the seeds of life skills planted in these children’s lives.
Without the proper bridge there is no way to encourage their development further towards such learning as university, trade, or technical schooling. Having a fully functioning secondary school will provide an assurance that the good work being done in their lives are brought to a completion so that they can bring change within their village. For this reason, one of the greatest desires of Emmanuel is to not only see the secondary school reopen, but to be fully operational within the next five years. Once established, his hope is to bring into fruition the vision to make the school international. By opening the school to children in the surrounding countries the vision of hope will be felt worldwide.
One of the other aspects Mwesigye would like to see brought to the institute is an increase in the teaching of trades, and life skills that would improve the village. Vocational training would mean an improvement to the rural conditions of the village these students come from. The advancement would then become much like our own as it would be ‘by the people, for the people.’ Children are being taught the principle of Matthew 25:40 which states “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In this way their education is so much more than curriculum, but a way of life, to do for those in need including at home.
Nyamabuga Primary School – Nurtured learning
Many of the children of Nyamabuga Primary School participate in farming at the school farm. By cultivating the earth they learn the fundamental expertise of sustainable agriculture, and providing nourishment to their community. “On the farm,” Emmanuel says “is where you can witness the excitement of the children and how they are gifted.” Their participation is voluntary, but many of them choose to come to learn even on the weekend.
Similarly, the school’s approach to art and creativity plays an important role in these developing minds. Emmanuel shares “When you put a pencil, or paint brush in front of them, and let them get creative you begin to understand how their mind works.” Basket weaving is another craft the children have an opportunity to learn. This skill proves to be useful in broadening their artistic ability as well as promoting their ability to create a vital tool to their everyday living. “[Much of what we do] involves seeing what the children are good at and then work with them to further promote that skill.” states Emmanuel. This open style of teaching that Mwesigye speaks of comes from a place of discovery. Children are encouraged to discover, then through observation teachers discover their gifts and talents. With the aid of their teachers the children enjoy discovering ways to learn and thrive in the talents they are naturally skilled to do.
As you can see there are many layers to the vision Emmanuel hopes to fulfill. Which is why partnering with Nyamabuga Foundations School has become imperative. As Director Mwesigye, the administrators, teachers and staff attempt to meet the needs of the students and community there is a great need of support for them as well. “An increase in support to our school would mean more educational training, better facilities, and even greater awareness to the community. When mum (Sister Gertrude) was alive she sponsored some of the children herself. She would also bring medical services to the village, and attempt to provide what other needs they may have, [in order to sustain trust and] bring awareness to the families.” Emmanuel continues, “In whichever way another can provide assistance that is what we need.”
Sister Gertrude’s vision is bringing Matthew 25:40 to life. As we consider Nyamabuga Foundations School, let‘s take a moment to consider what living Matthew 25:40 would mean for us. What could we “do for the least?” Whether there is a talent to share, educational resources to donate, time to spend on the farm, or finances to support the reopening of the Secondary school, remembering whatever we do for the least is doing our very best for the Lord.
Amber Lawton, Special Interview for NEEPUganda