Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but many public schools, especially rural schools, are often overwhelmed with too many students and limited facilities and staff because of Universal Primary Education. The quality of education may be poor. Watoto is a private school and accepts no government funding.  This makes it possible to keep class sizes to no more than about 21-22 students. Educational results continue to improve, the school believes because of this lower class size.

All sponsored children from first grade to the seventh grade (the last year of primary school) board. Mothers of sponsored nursery students also can choose to board their children at the school. 

Ugandan researchers believe that children, especially those who come from vulnerable families, perform better academically when living at school.

There is a teacher and often the Headmaster available every evening to help boarding children with homework. The children receive an evening meal – something that might not be available often at home. There is electricity in all the school buildings. Everyone goes to sleep at the same time. These are just some of the benefits of boarding.

At home, there may be no time for homework, and most parents or guardians are illiterate. The student may need to help with younger siblings. There is no electricity. Homes rarely have more than two small  rooms making it difficult to find a quiet place to work. Some students would have to walk as many as four hours to and from school each day. 

At Watoto all students, not just boarding students, receive morning porridge and a full meal at lunch.  Boarders also receive an evening meal. Our food is unusual by Ugandan primary school norms. Meals at Watoto School may include some eggs, fruit, milk and a lot of local vegetables along with the standard Ugandan foods of posho (corn meal) and black beans.  

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.

We have very little boarding space. We hope to be able to build new dormitories in the future with outside toilets and showers to accommodate more children.

Over 95% of the schools operating costs are paid for by Educate Bwindi through sponsorships and other donations. 

Teacher salaries (and the small additional staff of cooks, matrons for the dorms, a full-time nurse, cleaning people and security) are responsible for about 55% of costs. Food, wood for cooking fires and medications used by our full-time nurse is about another 38%. The remainder is used for utilities,  school supplies, small infrastructure improvement, transportation, bank fees and a variety of standard needs.

Every sponsored child also receives personal items once per year. These may include, for example,  a new toothbrush and toothpaste, clothing, shoes, a bookbag, a new blanket or a lock box for their few possessions.  These personal items cost $60 out of each sponsorship.

These are examples of the ways your donation helps support the goal and provides your child, and every child, with a happy and healthy living environment and education.

I was told that the cost of the first year is $660, but when I went online to pay on the website, the fee was higher.

Online payments by credit card or PayPal are processed through PayPal which charges a fee for each use. We build that fee into all online payments.  

Both U.S.-based sponsors and sponsors outside the U.S. often use the online payment system. The $680 sponsorship ensures that online payments cover the full cost for a newly sponsored child.

If you live in the U.S., you may wish to consider sending a check for $660.

Educate Bwindi
1933 N Hudson Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

International sponsors: if you would prefer to do a bank transfer, please contact us at

Yes, but it is important to stress that your expectations as sponsors may not reflect the realities of a small village thousands of miles away in rural Uganda. 

We are used to children who have busy, rich lives: after school activities, fascinating projects, events, sports, televisions, vacations and museums, road trips with the family or vacations of all kinds. Your sponsored child (or children) has none of these. It is rare that any of our students have ever been anywhere outside the village. Their letters reflect the quiet day-to-day sameness of village and school life.

For many, the only news that tends to occur in their lives is that a baby has been born or a parent or relative has died.

There are no computers for children at Watoto. No television. Most don’t have radios at home. We received funding that brought electricity to school for the first time two years ago. Seeing it light up from total darkness was magical. Internet connectivity is spotty in Bwindi.

You will receive a letter from your child at least once a year. You will also receive three school reports a year, a new photo each year, and from time to time, we may have additional information to pass on.

Part of our commitment to you is to keep as much information flowing to you as possible, through this website and through Facebook.

Eighty-two percent of the population of Uganda is Christian. There are Anglican, Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical Churches as well as a Mosque in Bwindi. The Ugandan government requires religious studies as part of the curriculum for all primary and secondary schools. 

The schools we work with are non-denominational; Ugandan law guarantees freedom of worship.  Our donors come from many different countries and reflect many different faiths and beliefs, all of which are respected by Educate Bwindi and by the school’s administration and teachers.

Yes. Please look at the Donations webpage. If a sponsorship is not the right option for you, you can donate any amount. Every donation does wonders for the school children.

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