Richard Vita, 55, grew up in Kenyibuli, a small rural village in Northern Uganda. The village is plagued with all the symptoms of extreme poverty, child mortality is high, education levels low and there are very few opportunities for young men and women to find employment.
As a child, Richard’s parents never prioritised his education, there were not many options for him even if they did. The nearest community school was 5km and had no funding, no trained teachers or permanent structures. Sitting outside his house in Kenyibuli, Richard reflects on the area’s lack of schools, ‘We are a tiny remote village, not even on the map. It is hard to attract a school or the investment needed to start one’.
Now, 30 years later, Richard still lives in the village, working as a subsistence farmer, he has five children but things have changed in Kenyibuli. A new school has brought hope to the community and a generation of children are presented with an exit from the cycle of poverty that gripped the generations before them.
‘When the school construction was announced, the whole village celebrated!’ Richard smiles as he looks over the new structures, ‘African Revival and HYT has given our children a brighter future and we look forward to supporting the school as a community.’
‘When I grow up, I want to work as an accountant in town!’ explains 10 year old Annette, Richard’s oldest daughter, ‘my friends all like sports or science but my favourite subject is mathematics.’ Before the school was constructed, Annette would walk over an hour each way to get to school. When rain delayed her walk home in the evening she would walk in the dark, a terribly risky journey for a young girl.
‘We are very happy now that our kids only walk a few hundred metres to school each day’ Richard tells HYT, ‘the classrooms are beautiful and our children look forward to school each morning’.
The main water source for the community is two nearby rivers. Although there is never a shortage of water, the community is often stricken with water borne diseases. The school’s new rainwater harvesting tank will supply the school with safe, clean water for 10 months of the year. It is not the perfect solution, but it will drastically reduce water borne disease among the school children.
The three sets of latrines constructed in the school are the first pit latrines in the area. Previously, people used the bushes which further contributed to contamination of the river. ‘Our village finally has toilets, this project has brought much more than just a school to our community. Dignity, pride and most importantly – hope for our children’s future.’
This project was a partnership between African Revival and HYT. A three classroom block, 20,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank and three sets of ventilation improved pit latrines were constructed in the school. The building, carried out by HYT, is constructed using climate-friendly Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks (ISSB), a sustainable alternative to fired clay bricks. Furthermore, HYT trained 12 young men and women in construction with a special focus on ISSB technology and planted 320 trees in the school compound.
Winners of the Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings 2017.
Watch our exciting video, or check out our work at hytuganda.com