Supporting Education in Uganda – Letter from CanHave

Isaac Jjingo, a CANHAVE-supported student, with Joseph Kabali, CANHAVE’s Ugandan coordinator. Isaac hopes to take science at university.

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:5)

What began as a small registered charity—initiated by Caroline Nakayenga at Parkwood, Ottawa—to help a few AIDS orphans in Uganda is now sponsoring 60 school-aged children.

Canadians Helping AIDS Victims with Education has built a vocational school, offers scholarship support to promising graduates and has become a beacon of hope for children who have lost parents to this devastating disease.

The charity is expanding thanks solely to dedicated volunteers: both the fundraising group in Canada and an increasingly involved group of volunteers in Uganda.

They work together to select and support children who have either been left to fend for themselves in child-headed households or share homes with relatives or friends.

In response to a heartfelt plea from Peter Kafeero, one of our first graduates who desperately wanted to learn a skill so he could become self-supporting, CANHAVE raised funds to build a vocational training school on land donated by Ugandans. The seven-acre property in Kisubi, a community about 30 km south of Kampala, was officially opened in February 2008.

Since then, with the assistance of the Brothers of Christian Instruction (a nearby Catholic group started by a Canadian), the vocational school has developed courses in catering, sewing and tailoring, carpentry and joinery, computer skills and hairstyling. Soon courses in agricultural and fish farming will be offered. Thanks to generous donors, a well has been built to serve the village and school, and a dormitory for girls is under construction. Once more tuition-paying students can be accommodated the school will be able to support itself.

After 18 years, CANHAVE has many graduates, providing wonderful role models for the younger children. The “pioneers” (or first graduates) are all using their special talents to give back to the CANHAVE community.
Catherine Namazzi, who became head of her family while she was still in primary school, assisted in the school’s office and now teaches computer basics, while taking business administration courses at university.

Joseph Mawanda, who discovered artistic talents after CANHAVE gave him coloured pencils one Christmas, provides increasingly sophisticated drawings that are reproduced and sold to raise money. He now has a government scholarship for a three-year course in arts and industrial design.

Robert Kiyaga, who signed his many letters of thanks as “future doctor,” unfortunately contracted malaria during his final year of school and was unable to gain an entrance scholarship to study medicine at Makarera University. He has enrolled in a medical technician’s course instead. He is already using his newly acquired knowledge to serve the community during the summer months.

And Peter Kafeero has taught carpentry and joinery classes at the vocational school and is now working toward a civil engineering diploma at St. Joseph’s Technical Institute.

All their letters are overflowing with gratitude and praise to the Lord.


About Jan Sheridan

Jan Sheridan is a CANHAVE volunteer and an elder at Parkwood, Ottawa.