Mercy Seat Nursery and Primary School
Thrive Global is comprised of six main sectors (read more here); however, our main area of influence is EDUCATION. Education is a major key to breaking the cycle of poverty and bringing hope to impoverished communities.
OUR PROCESS IN CREATING MERCY SEAT SCHOOL
STEP 1: We built strong relationships with both Robert & Janepher Okwakol over the course of many years. We went from acquaintances to friends to family.
STEP 2: As we worked alongside Robert & Janepher, we recognized that they had a powerful vision for community transformation. Robert expressed his heart for children, and Janepher displayed expertise in the education sector.
STEP 3: We met with other leaders in Robert & Janepher's village and asked them their hopes for Amoroto Village. We learned that one of their biggest dreams was to have a school in Amoroto Village one day.
STEP 4: We partnered with the Okwakols, as well as others; and together we began to take the steps to make their dream for a school come alive. In 2016, we proudly opened the doors to Mercy Seat Nursery and Primary School.
WHAT MAKES OUR SCHOOL DIFFERENT?
Small class sizes to provide quality education
In government schools in Uganda, you can find up to one hundred students in one classroom, and the students have a very difficult time learning in such a crowded environment. We value quality over quantity and are dedicated to providing quality education and better opportunities for individual attention.
Foundations of dignity and local involvement
We started our school with only six classrooms and have slowly added classrooms throughout the years. LOCALS have been the ones to build the new classrooms as we've expanded the school. During our first year, we had a "Foundational Class" where older students could learn the basics of education without being humiliated in a class of young students or overwhelmed in a class too difficult for them. We want to communicate that it's never too late to learn.
A unique and empowering funding model
African schools are often funded through student sponsorships, which sounds good in theory; however, this can actually be quite damaging. When Ugandan children are taught to depend on foreigners to send them money for school fees, a mindset of unhealthy dependency and cultural disempowerment is created. We fund our school through a unique teacher sponsor program that keeps tuition costs low but still allows local families to be a part of their children's education.
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A Unique & Empowering Model for School Funding
Unfortunately, there is a prevalent mindset in Uganda that Westerners are the givers and Africans are the receivers. This is disempowering and harmful. Child sponsorships that keep schools afloat can unknowingly feed into this poverty mindset. However, it's very difficult to fund a remote village school without outside support.
Therefore, we fund our school through the unique idea of teacher sponsorships. We have several friends of the ministry who donate monthly to help pay the staff at our school. All teacher sponsor donations go into one large pool that goes towards paying the school staff. That means sponsors are free to pay any amount of their choosing, and it still goes into one big "pot." We currently use the combined funds to pay 14 teachers, 3 cooks, and 1 school matron for boarders.
Teacher sponsors help take a huge financial burden off of the local community. With these donations, we are able to drastically lower tuition costs for our students. However, they still have to pay a subsidized tuition so that the parents experience the dignity of contributing toward their children's education. This way, our community members are a part of the transformation in Amoroto.