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Michael Seacat's Fundraiser:

Bushika's Vulnerable Scholars

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Michael's Photo
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Michael Seacat

THE STORY:

Bushika Junior Education Center provides valuable educational opportunities for the most vulnerable children in the Bududa District.

In 2010, Richard Kimanayi, health outreach coordinator for the Beatrice Tierney Health Center, noticed a large number of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) wandering the streets of Bushika in Eastern Uganda. Some were isolated due to their positive HIV status, while others were homeless from losing their parents to HIV or landslides. With his brother and a friend, Richard started teaching these children in his spare time, a few hours every day. Others took notice; while the number of OVCs continued to increase, so did the number of adults willing to teach. As a result, Richard donated some of his land to build a school in 2012.

Today, Bushika Junior Education Center (BJEC) has 135 students, 85 of which are considered OVCs. There are now 3 pre-school (nursery) classes and 4 elementary (primary) school grades. BJEC is a private school and receives all funding through school fees. Students from families that take in an orphan pay discounted fees, and all OVCs pay rates according to their ability.

The school provides opportunities for these children that would not be available otherwise. However, the school would greatly benefit from a few fundamental changes. Teachers are not provided a salary large enough to support personal primary needs. Orphans are sometimes mistreated in their current homes and some have been forced to provide physical or sexual favors for their caretakers. Students are fed only three days a week due to lack of funds. School materials are minimal, and there are not enough desks or benches for each child. The latrines are falling apart and are located too close to the school's water source. Some students don't have uniforms to wear, which are required, and those that do often wear them with tears and missing buttons.


Bushika Junior Education Center has high hopes for the future. If provided with financial assistance, the school would strive to feed each child a healthy meal 5 days a week. It hopes to provide salaries for teachers that are fair and sufficient for living expenses. Latrines would be re-constructed in a proper location, classrooms would have doors installed to optimize the learning environment and promote safety, uniforms would be bought and/or tailored, and re-usable school materials would be purchased to improve the educational experience. In addition, a school counselor would be hired to perform unannounced home visits for each orphan, as would a health advisor to provide first-aid attention when needed.

Donations will be utilized to fix urgent issues and to invest in projects that would provide sustainable revenue for years to come. Please review our pictures to see the progress already made!

If you have any more specific questions, please feel free to send a message to michael.seacat@gmail.com and we'll get them answered for you.

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