Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages Community School (ROA) is a nondenominational Christian school located in the village of Mbiko, Uganda. Hands4Uganda's (H4U) hope for ROA students is that they will learn of God's love and be given all the necessary tools to grow into responsible, fulfilled, Christian adults. Mbiko is a small suburb of the second largest city in Uganda (Jinja) and sits near the source of the Nile River. Situated on a main highway that connects Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, Mbiko has become known as a village of drug trade and prostitution. STI's, including AIDS, are very prevalent in the small village. Due to the high rates of prostitution in this area, many children come from single parent homes or are abandoned by their parents.
About 320 children, ranging from PK3 through Primary 7, currently attend ROA. The average monthly income in Mbiko, for those who are fortunate enough to have a job, is around 3 USD per month. Education is not free in Uganda. While there are public schools, fees are associated with attendance. When a small income means choosing between food and an education, many families simply cannot afford to send their children to school.
Help Build a New School Facility
Thanks to the faithful giving of Hands4Uganda (H4U) donors and sponsors the 300+ students of Rock of Ages Community School (ROA) are now attending class in a new, two-story building complete with electricity and restrooms with flushing toilets! With plans for seven buildings total, H4U is now focused on raising the necessary funds to begin construction of a kitchen/dining/community (KDC) center. It is hoped that through his center, ROA will be able to touch as many individuals as possible in the village of Mbiko, helping to move their lives from despair to hope, from hunger to health, from poverty to economic stability.
ROA began with just 50 students housed in a small, rented building. Thanks to the generous support of H4U donors and sponsors the 300+ students who now attend ROA are being taught in a two-story, 14-room primary building constructed on a three-acre parcel purchased by H4U in 2016. Some of the major accomplishments at the new primary school building include...
- Electricity - improved conditions for learning and studying; lighting the way for after-hour community activities.
- Water - for drinking and washing of hands.
- Restrooms - sanitary and environmentally friendly - with flushing toilets.
- Library - shelves of books to check out and take home - an almost unheard-of concept in Uganda.
- Playground – a safe place to run and play during class breaks.
To date, the Primary School building along with a playground and a small garden have been established on the three acres of land that was purchased for the school in 2016! Classes began in the new building in January 2020! The small-scale farm is providing ROA students the opportunity to learn a variety of agricultural skills, while also providing fresh food for school lunches.
With enough space to support a 500-student population when completed, the facility will also include a kitchen/dining/community (KDC) center, staff quarters, a nursery school, and a soccer field! The KDC center will provide a safe, clean place for preparing, serving, and consuming meals at school. H4U hopes that since the school has electricity, ROA will be able to foster a direct positive impact on the community of Mbiko by hosting a wide range of after school activities, including church services, community groups, adult learning, etc.
Following the construction of the KDC center, the staff quarters will be built. In Uganda it is customary for a teacher's salary to include housing. Once the construction of the teachers housing is complete, ROA will no longer have to pay for rented housing, drastically cutting the current overhead costs. With most of the necessary infrastructure in place, the nursery building will be constructed next and ROA will be able to expand the student population to full capacity! And finally, a soccer field will be installed to provide opportunities for the students of ROA to participate in a variety of sports, encouraging teamwork and companionship both on and off the field.
Help Us Build the Kitchen/Dining/Community Center
Hands4Uganda (H4U) is currently raising the necessary funds to begin construction of the kitchen/dining/community (KDC) center where school events and after school activities including church services, community groups and adult education opportunities will be held. Currently, the student’s meals are being prepared in a small, temporary kitchen that was moved from the former ROA location. The daily meal, which consists mostly of posho (traditional Ugandan corn-meal porridge) and beans, is prepared over an open fire and served to the children from the small shanty behind the school. The students then seek a shade tree or other comfortable location on the school grounds to consume the meal. Upon completion of the new KDC center, cooking will be done in a large fire place-like structure inside the kitchen and the food will be served to the students through a window from the kitchen into the dining hall. The students will then be able to sit inside at clean tables and chairs to enjoy their, often times, only meal of the day.