Updated: Mar 15, 2021
GEA Fundraiser for St. Maria Gorretti Vocational School for Girls
GEA is excited to lead a fundraiser -with your help- to assist St. Maria Gorretti girls school with some of their current Covid-related needs.
St. Maria Gorretti Girls Vocational Training Center is a private school in Mukono, Uganda, which serves a very low socio-economic population. As most secondary schools in the country, it is a boarding school. Most schools in the country are also private schools. This school has been hit by the pandemic in some extreme ways. Here are some of them:
Teachers have not been paid since schools went on lockdown in February.
Many students that are allowed to be back in schools (final year students) do not have money to pay school fees.
Though some students do have the finances to guarantee school fees the school now lacks the basic items needed for a safe classroom, including: thermometers, sanitizer, more fabric for cloth masks and a functioning “sick bay”.
Teachers (already without pay since February) are working on their own dime to check on the students who have been sent into communities (many of them orphans) because of lockdowns -as lay counselors- to make sure they are safe.
Some students at this all girl’s school have resorted to pregnancies as a last resort to survive, only to be abandoned by the men they trusted.
St. Maria Gorretti is trying to accommodate pregnant girls despite active calls to expel them.
It’s perhaps noteworthy that last summer leaders from the private schools union appealed to the Parliament's Committee on National Economy 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 Gorretti is not the only school in Sub-Saharan Africa (or elsewhere) that is suffering in some of these extreme ways. Female students are getting pregnant or are being forced into marriages all over Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Many are forced out of school to help families survive during these hard times, with some turning to sex work. In some countries and communities, such as in Uganda, it is not customary for pregnant students to stay in school during or after their pregnancies. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone teen pregnancy may be forcing 1 million girls out of schools.
The United Nations Population Fund is estimating that Covid-lockdowns may lead to “7 million unintended pregnancies, and 13 million child marriages ...in the next decade [and that] female global poverty is expected to increase by 9.1 percent due to the pandemic”. Special Report by CNN
While St. Maria Gorretti is not the only school with these problems, it is the one we are connected to and love. We can personally guarantee that our donations are going directly to where we intend them to.
GEA is teaming up with True Africa, a US-based highly respectable organization with a track record of sustainability and partnership with local communities. Donating through True Africa ensures that 95% of our donations will go directly to students and schools (in non-profit lingo this is a very respectable number). They have added to the GEA larger network of local teachers and community leaders and also facilitated our fundraising efforts in the past.
Our fundraising goal is $6000, which will help provide thermometers, sanitizer, soap, fabrics for masks, scholarships for pregnant students and labor and materials for sick bay renovations. With just $35 we would meet our goal!! Share with friends and family! Together we can do this!