Aren’t there public schools in Bwindi?
Yes, but because of Universal Primary Education, many public schools, especially rural schools, are often overwhelmed with too many students and limited facilities and staff. The equality of education may be very poor. As a private school, Watoto accepts no government funding. This makes it possible for them to keep classes to a maximum of 30 students. Educational results are some of the best in the District. However, because there is no government funding and because most students come from families of extreme poverty – and many are orphans – there are never enough operating funds.
Why do the sponsored children have to board at school?
Our children perform better academically when living at school. Many come from far away. It may take several hours to walk each way to school. At Watoto, children also receive more nutritious food than they would at home. After a few months boarding, one can see a visible change in the faces of children, especially their eyes and skin, as well as in their behavior.
When a child goes home each night, he or she may not return to school the next day. Most of our families live in absolute poverty; many are single parent homes. A child may be needed to help with younger children or to work in the family garden rather than return to school, or the parent may simply not have the time to bring the child back to school.
There is seldom light to study by at home, nor anyone to encourage them to study. No one has textbooks to take home. We try to purchase more for the school every year, but there are never enough even in the classroom.
How are Donations/Sponsorships used?
Educate Bwindi provides the vast majority of all school costs.
We combine most donations to provide nutritious and plentiful food, salaries for teachers and staff, a health and wellness program including a small medical insurance plan, a full-time nurse at school, school supplies, teachers’ salaries, small infrastructure projects and on and on– everything needed to support the school’s operating budget as best as possible. A sponsored child also receives his or her own personal items every year. These may include clothing, shoes, a bookbag, a new blanket or a lock box for their few possessions, just to name a few.
Educate Bwindi also uses an outside auditor and other financial controls in Uganda and must pay modest foreign taxes, legal costs, bank fees, etc. On occasion, we may bring in a consultant, for instance, to do teacher training. These are simply examples of the ways your donation helps support the goal: to provide your child, and every child, with a happy and healthy education and living environment.
I was told that the cost of the first year is $555, but when I went online to pay on the website, the fee was higher.
Online payments, whether you use a credit card or PayPal, are processed through PayPal which charges a fee for each donation. We build that fee into all online payments. We receive a non-profit discount from PayPal website, but the US cost and international cost vary. The amount shown on the website ensures that payments cover costs for a newly sponsored child regardless – with the US cost being a little more, and the international cost being a little less. If you live in the US, you may wish to consider sending a check.