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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 3) 2014/15

Remco Schakelaar, KidsGear, Uganda, Mobility for internship, KPZ

Contact KidsGear Primary School

To contact them, contact UP4S foundation in Deventer. They are very happy to welcome new Dutch students.

phone +31 570 51 36 73  
e-mail info@up4s.nl


About the foundation

UP4S Foundation provides shelter and education to underprivileged children in Uganda.

This makes for the chances of a good future for these children to be significantly increased. UP4S has a primary school and a secondary school in the village Bukomansimbi, where many of the children come from. 

In 2003 the UP4S foundation was created by Sylvia Mbabazi and her husband Frank Rus. Sylvia grew up in Bukomansimbi and her parents still live there. Sylvia was in the fortunate position to receive proper primary and secondary education, but for many of her fellow villagers this was not a possibility.

In 1997, Sylvia moved to the Netherlands and in 2000 she married there. Together with her husband they decided to give underprivileged children in the Bukomansimbi area a chance at good education. Thus arose foundation UP4S (read out: up for us). 

Foundation UP4S has a Christian base. The foundation was founded in the belief that as a Christian you have a responsibility to your poor neighbor. On the project in Uganda, however, all children, regardless of race or creed, are welcome. 

 About the school

 The KidsGear primary school is built on a hill in the area of Bukomansimbi. Last year the school won a prize for having the best results in the area. Education is provided in terms. Each year consists of three terms, in which the children stay at the school for approximately 12 weeks. As a boarding school, the school provides a place to sleep and food for the children. 

About teaching at KidsGear

 The chilldren at KidsGear speak English. If your English is good and you can manage communicating in the African-English style, then you'll be fine. Use simple words and small sentences so the children understand. Only the youngest children sometimes do not yet speak English. The first language in Bukomansimbi is Luganda. 

The classes are divided in 7 primary classes and 2 baby classes. Every class has a different lesson from a different teacher at different hours. So the school has several teachers who are specialized in for example English and math. Those teachers teach English or math in all of the classes.

About the accomodation

The school has an accomodation further up the hill in which guest-teachers, volunteers and students can stay for €300 a month. That €300 provides you with a place to sleep, wash, eat and a housekeeper who will do the laundry and make breakfast (hot water and an egg) and dinner (mostly rice and/or bananas). There is no hot water for a shower, only cold. Also electricity will fail lots of times, so be prepared for that. Lots of times you won't be able to have internet or electricity. 

Life in Bukomansibi

People in Uganda are very friendly. If you need help or have a question, most of the people will be happy to help with a smile. Don't be mad if people keep calling you 'Muzungu', which means 'White-one'. It is normal for Ugandans to call eachother by the way you look. It is even common for Ugandans to call or describe eachother as 'the-fat-one' or 'the-little-one'. They don't mean anything bad by it. Especially the smaller children will keep shouting 'Muzungu'. It's just a way to greet you. 

Show initiative when you want to get something done in your time in Uganda. No one is going to do it for you or show you how to do something. In Uganda it is difficult to make an appointment with someone, as it is normal for people to be late, do their job only halfdone or never even show up at all after making an appointment. It is important to be patient and be assertive. If you want to have something done in Uganda, you best do it yourself. It's no use to get mad or frustrated at the mentality of the people in Uganda, as they will not understand why you are making such a fuss. "Why worry? Tomorrow is another day." 

About transport in Uganda

Traffic is crazy in Uganda. If you are brave enough you can drive a bike or car yourself, but it is advisable to take taxi's or public traffic to get to your destination. The main roads are pretty good for African standards, but if you go off the main roads, it's all puddles and holes in the road, with a lot of roads that are completely dirt. People drive on the left side of the road in Uganda. 95% of the cars are Toyota's, cheap imports from Japan. There are traffic rules, but nobody pays attention to them. The biggest car is the one who goes first. Traffic is not expensive, especially if you take public transport. Be ready to sit with 10+ people in a car that would normally fit only 5. In Uganda, there is always room for one more.


Last, but certainly not least, Uganda is a beautiful country and absolutely an amazing experience to see. Make sure you visit some national parks when in Uganda. Uganda is one of few countries that has the ability to have you see all of the big 5. 

Kind regards,

Remco Schakelaar

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