Mukono - Uganda
Maria Gorretti Girls Vocation Training School
Greetings from St.Maria Goretti Girls Vocational Training Center
We offer courses like tailoring and fashion design, hair dressing, catering and bakery and agriculture. These courses enable our students to develop skills and adapt to socioeconomic changes. Most of our students are orphans.
The effect of Covid-19 can't be overemphasized since it hit the whole world. Here in Uganda our Government ordered closure and lock down on 20th March 2020 with the aim of reducing the infection.
As a training center and boarding school for mostly orphans we had challenges such as:
We had to send some students to communities to be with relations because we could not maintain them in terms of feeding them and other personal things such sanitaries to mention but a few.
Due to the lengthy stay outside the school without training, some students lost hope in life and were misled by men and got pregnant as a last resort of survival. To those with babies we will allow them to sit their final exams even after they have had babies and we will look for jobs for them. Their counselor will continue to talk to them as she has been doing.
To those who were able to pay some school fees we offered a place for a time until we could not meet fixed operational costs like security, electricity bills, cleaning and hygiene at the centre -as we are a private school and rely on school fees for funding. Our instructors have not been paid even small allowances since and they are still demanding salaries from February 2020. They have borrowed some things like food, soap etc. from shops.
The Government has allowed for seniors to come back and finish their courses and take final exams in person and has set up standard operating procedures (SOP), which require funding before allowing seniors to take their exams. Having these procedures is a challenge to us as we are in need of thermometers and sanitizer, for example. Due to the lack of funds it is impossible as of now. Many of our students (who are orphans) also cannot afford the school fees. We have many challenges my friends. Our counselling team has tried to keep in touch with some students living in the community through phone calls. Some instructors have offered voluntary services like counselling of reachable students.
Sr. Mathias is the Headmistress at St.Maria Goretti Girls Vocational Training Center
Note: 66% of Ugandan secondary schools are private. Leaders from the private schools union appealed to the Parliament's Committee on National Economy last summer for assistance in paying teacher salaries for at least one year. Without income from school fees private schools are unable to pay their teachers. The committee has turned them down.
St.Maria Goretti Girls Vocational Training Center is one of GEA partner schools in Uganda