Musana Newsletter February 2017

“Education is the most powerful tool which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

As the 2017 school year has kicked off this February, we have officially opened Musana Vocational High School! Over 230 students have reported for classes, an AMAZING turnout! High school in Uganda consists of two levels, O-level (4 years) and A-level (2 years), making 6 years of school. Our school has started with the first two classes (S.1 and S.2) and each year a class will be added until all 6 years are offered on our campus. By 2021, we expect to have a population of 900 students. We could not be more excited for the opportunity to mold the youth in Iganga into leaders that will create change in their communities and in the world!

Uganda faces an overwhelming challenge in that over 60% of university graduates sit unemployed. Because of this, we have decided to take a unique approach to traditional education and offer a component of compulsory trainings in vocational skills. These skills include tailoring, knitting, baking, electrical, mechanics, carpentry, welding, and brick laying. Each student will take classes in one of these skills for two years and then will sit for the Ugandan industrial training exam to receive a government certificate! This means that each student that graduates from O-level at Musana will have a certificate in two vocational skills. Additionally, we put an extra emphasis on business training, leadership and ethics, and innovative and creative thinking, encouraging them to become job creators instead of job searchers. 

Musana Nursery and Primary School is also back in action as campus has flooded with old and new students! Due to increased need, we have expanded our student population to 960 this year! Because of our successful 2016 Primary Leaving Exam results, Musana has become a “go to” education facility in the eastern region. We were also able to admit an additional 10 vulnerable children into our scholarship program who are now in our boarding section. We want to introduce you to one of them who has especially captured the hearts of everyone on campus:
Meet the Amazing Ralia! 
Ralia is eight years old and was born with a physical disability that has stunted her growth and disrupted her ability to walk. Her father abandoned her at birth denying the child because of her physical disability. Her mother brought her to live with her grandmother who for years has struggled to provide for her. We are thrilled to partner with her family in supporting her education at Musana. Despite her small stature and disability, she has a personality that lights up every room she is in. Everyone loves her for her amazing optimism and her contagious joy. We are blessed to have her and look forward to the many years of Ralia to come! 

If you are interested in becoming a SHINE partner, an opportunity to support Musana monthly and in honor of a children like  Ralia, please contact Ashley!
A new graduating class...  
On February 4th, Musana’s Skills and Development Training Program held a graduation for the third intake of students. Since February of 2016, 117 women have graduated from the program with certificates in tailoring, knitting, and baking! We can’t wait to see these new graduates start their businesses and join the rest of the women in being successful entrepreneurs!