Nalango Secondary School
School motto: As we struggle for the future
This school is important to the local community because it provides the only secondary education in the area. The closest other secondary schools are at Namwendwa, 8km away, or Bulopa, 11km away. Both are too far to walk twice a day, especially in the rainy season. Also, it is risky for teenage girls to be walking in the dark. There are 4 primary schools in the parish that are potential feeders. We started to work with Nalango Primary and Namwendwa Primary during 2011.
The school started in 1997 with classes being held under mango trees. The 5.4 acres are owned by the community but granted to the school. It is governed by a board of governors, chosen by the parents, teachers and local councillors, and led by an inspirational head teacher - Paul Kasadha. The school became registered by the government and received its licence in November 2011. At the beginning of 2014, the school was granted full USE (Universal Secondary Education), making it an important centre for secondary education. We are now awaiting the arrival of the first funds from the government, a cash payment per pupil, which will subsequently pay the teachers’ wages. This will mean that good teachers will be attracted to the school and remain with the school, which will transform secondary education in the region.
In 2007, there were only 3 students. In 2009, all classes were held under mango trees. In 2010, the community built one classroom, an office and staff room, all of which lacked doors, windows, cemented floors and plastered walls, but the students enrolled - 120 of them when Senior One class was established. This was a huge achievement, since the area is incredibly poor with many peasant farmers, high school drop outs and many early pregnancies. The only latrines available for “short calls” were constructed from banana fibre. Any “long call” needs meant crossing the road to use the pit latrines at Nalango Primary.
When we visited Nalango Secondary School in March 2011, we found a school desperately needing help. We had already been approached by David and Nicky Gauntlett, who were very keen to support a school in memory of their son Rob, who tragically died climbing on Mont Blanc in January 2009. Rob had been the beneficiary of a charity education. He was the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest, aged only 19, and went on to become National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year for a fourteen month trip from Pole to Pole, by human and natural power alone. Rob spent much of his time in schools, inspiring children with his story, which is very much at the heart of Nalango SS. Rob’s family and friends maintain a close relationship with the school, with a number of short and long visits to Uganda over the years. David and Nicky accompanied us to Uganda to commission the first buildings in memory of Rob in March 2012.
Completed HvSMF projects have included:
The school is supported by friends and family of Rob. During 2012 Richard Lebon and James Hooper, who were the pair to survive the Alps tragedy, organised 27 friends and family, to ride bicycles from Provence to Sussex - One Mile Closer - and raised in excess of £20,000. Also some cousins who completed the South Downs Way 4 day challenge in 2012. Tim Gauntlett ran in the London Marathon to raise funds in memory of his brother and Nicky Gauntlett, who with some friends. pedalled from London to Brighton in memory of her son.
Through Paul’s excellent leadership, the parents and local community have raised sufficient funds to build a girls’ dormitory and washroom and a boys’ dormitory and washroom, plus provide metal bunk beds. They have also provided solar panels for the girls’ dorm, staff houses and three classrooms. This is a huge achievement.
Paul Kasadha, maintains a high level of discipline and morality amongst the students, as well as a close working relationship with parents and local leaders. We are delighted to be lending our support to this school and look forward to watching its development during the next five years. In his report in 2011 Paul wrote “we put our trust in God and we strongly believe that at one time the world will witness a first world school in this village”.
Head Teacher: Mr Paul Kasadha
Number of pupils in April 2014: 635