Elspeth Dugdale | October 5, 2015
What makes WTA different? Why would a parent choose WTA over other secondary schools seemingly cheaper or closer to home? Questions we are often asked. Individuals' stories often explain the situation much more clearly than a list of facts! Thanks to Stan and Sue for the following two examples:
"A young 14 year old girl joined us this term in Senior 1. Her father died whilst in the army and her mother had little income, other than the growing and selling of tomatoes. As there are many siblings her mother allowed an 'Uncle' to take the young girl as he promised in return for a little help in the house he would support her through school.
The schooling didn't happen and he forced the girl to work, without payment but with many beatings, as his house-girl, which included other 'duties'. Fortunately her mother found out, rescued her and brought her to Charles, begging him to let the girl remain at the school where she would be safe. SD is using a 'safety net fund' for such emergencies to pay her fees, and her mother can just manage her payment for requirements, which include a mattress, brooms and so on.
Even though she is new, she has embraced school life, has been active in Activate and our library lessons and is clearly a very bright girl. We thank God for protecting her and bringing her here to WTA"
The second story is from a boy who was at this school last year, but was moved by his parents to another school about 30 minutes from here to join the 6th form. The school in question is very attractive from the outside, if looks were anything to go by it is a very good school (we pass it every time we go to Kampala). Unfortunately the saying 'all that glisters is not gold' proved to be true for him. He has come back to us this term in tears, begging to come back, with stories of not being fed for days, students being locked in dormitories and regular harsh beatings. He is now telling everyone who will listen, and often those who won't, how fortunate they are to be here. Sadly his story is not an unusual one. We are reminded yet again how very special this school is.
We often sum up WTA as offering 'low cost, good quality education', but in truth it offers far more than that. Perhaps not so extraordinary from a UK/US/ 'this side' point of view, but what makes WTA stand out is that the school has facilities that some other Ugandan schools can only dream of: laboratories, libraries, power, internet, three meals a day, sports facilities, clean accommodation, regular teachers, full-time teachers and a full range of subjects. Not to mention enough beds and desks! And that's the abbreviated list. Of course, other school may advertise cheap fees, but there is often a catch - teachers don't attend regularly as they are not paid, lack of regular food, abusive, harsh treatment and a lack of basic resources and access to exams.
Moreover, Charles and Patrick lead the way in caring about the students, caring about the individual's potential and caring about the whole education of the whole person. Different.