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“Grace Villa” ~ A New Home for Girls in Uganda, by Ruth Bahika

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Posted July 15, 2012 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Charity ~ 20,855 views

     

Grace Villa is about that choice we have. We can either accept conditions as they are, or take responsibility for making a difference.

I believe that while reading and math are important, what matters even more is what kind of human being is reading the books and doing the math. That is who and what we have been entrusted with: the delicate task of moulding the future generation of Uganda. After all, the character of a nation is determined by the character of its people.

Our efforts at Grace Villa, together with your support, will provide our young women with the chance to rise above their pasts and their environments, to reach their full potential and become future leaders of enduring change.

What an honor.

Ruth K. Ndyabahika
Founder and Director

The Ripple Effect

Uganda’s literacy rate for youth 15 to 24 is officially recorded as between 83% to 89%. Splendid news! At first glance. That is, until you take a moment to really think about it. What is literacy. My laptop dictionary defines literacy as the ability to read and write at a competent level. That’s basically Primary 2 level, isn’t it? Further statistics show that since 1986, there has been a boom of more than 4 million students attending primary school. And yet public spending on education was only 5.2% of Uganda’s GDP between 2002 and 2005.

As you can imagine, this boom with no balancing increase in funding this sector has put a strain on the education system and the quality of learning that our children receive. The current system focuses a lot of attention on repetition and memorization of information needed to pass the set exams. Thinking outside the box is not encouraged, hence the phrase we often hear in context of Uganda: “We are churning out job seekers instead of job creators”. A direct result: High School enrollment rates are below 30%. And according to a 2011 survey, 30% of our youth between ages 5 and 15 are forced to look for work mainly because they either failed to qualify for a higher education, or just could not afford to pay for it.

This bursts the bubble of false sense of pride and complacency that the glossy statistic creates, and forces us to focus on reality and on what we can do to fix this.

Educating the future generations in the right way is one key to the betterment of Uganda’s economy, moral standard and harmony. At a little home for girls in Western Uganda called Grace Villa – Kabale, the mission is to create an environment in which to make this happen for our girls. The concept is based on the principle that when you improve a girl’s life through meeting their health, social, academic, psychological and safety needs, these changes create a positive ripple effect.

Better lives for girls means better lives for everyone in their community including brothers, mothers, fathers and their future husbands and children. As an educated mother, a productive citizen and a well-prepared employee, she is the most influential force in her community to break the cycle of poverty. Grace Villa (GV) provides vulnerable girls with a loving, nurturing home.

The girls are enrolled in local schools, and their education supplemented with systematic at home tutoring and a heavy involvement by the GV staff in the Parents Teachers Associations (PTA) at the respective schools. We seek to educate the whole individual: a holistic approach to education.

Besides conventional schooling, each girl will be prepped for autonomy by tapping into their unique strengths and teaching a range of skills such as debate, public speaking, carpentry, IT, jam making (yes, jam!), bee keeping, horticulture, sports and music. The girls learn about themselves, about self-respect and self esteem, about resilience, which entails overcoming difficulties and facing challenges, (as many of our girls will have been through varying degrees of trauma). Children learn better when what is being taught is important to them. So we start from their personal worldview; what has meaning to them. And they are taught about relationships and community.

Forbes (1996) states, “In holistic education, the classroom is often seen as a community, which is within the larger community of the school, which is within the larger community of the village, town or city, and which is, by extension, within the larger community of humanity.”

To see how you can be part of this loving effort, please visit Grace Villa’s website: http://www.anewhomeforgirls.org

Ruth Ndyabahika
GRACE VILLA®
Founder & Exec Director


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

20 Comments


  1.  
    Tina Mugisha

    A great introspective piece! I especially like her philosophy: “I believe that while reading and math are important, what matters even more is what kind of human being is reading the books and doing the math”. Wonderful work this young lady is doing through Grace Villa.




  2.  
    Blick

    Fabulous article! Very informative and well written look into 2 ripple effects. Thank you Ruth for shedding some light upon this issue that i have always been unhappy about: The generations of job seekers as opposed to job creators in Uganda. We are glad to put the future of our children into your capable hands.
    Thank you for this great heroic work you are doing.




  3.  
    Rev. Joseph Kamugisha

    Congratulations, Ruth! May the good Lord bless you for giving back to our destitute children. Education, gives hope for a bright future.

    Rev. Joseph W. Kamugisha
    Bedford, Texas




    •  

      Thank you so much Rev Kamugisha for the blessings & kind words. Please continue to support & uphold the Grace Villa family in prayer!




  4.  
    Tyson

    Fantastic article! Beautiful woman, beautiful soul, brilliant mind! Proud of this lady right here




  5.  
    Reen

    Well done Ruth!!. The nation will go along way with citizens with strong character. I trust you to get the job done.




  6.  

    Wonderful vision Ruthy. I will pray and work hard to make it a success because it is a national cause and we all have the responsibility of seing it through upon our shoulders.

    Abdul




  7.  
    Gabe Mondon

    I I am proud of you Ruth. This is Gabriel, the brother of Dez, Analisa’s husband. I hope to visit that villa one day. Cheers! Gabe




  8.  
    Fred Opolot

    Excellent stuff Ruth! Your selfless contribution to society will certainly have a huge and positive impact to the girls that benefit, and their communities. Keep it up as you deserve all the support.




  9.  
    jenny

    Good job Ruth, am proud of you, lets make this happen.




  10.  

    Very inspiring and encouraging: Many of us could actually make a similar impact but it takes guts, empathy and a seriously altruistic soul to sacrifice at this level. I would do my very best to support and be like you Ruth when I grow up…lol ..keep up the good work

    Andrew




  11.  
    Patrick Mutuuzo

    ‘He/she who waters others will themselves be watered’.
    I just discovered Ruth & i wish i’d met her sooner! After living, schooling & practising in the US in Early Childhood Dev’t & Psych for many years, she decided that the children in her village needed her more. Lets rally around her…give her all the support she & the kids deserve esp during this inception period which is always the toughest.




  12.  
    Esther

    Blessings Ruth,
    Nick and I are so happy and proud of you. Keep the good job. Will do our best to support the Girl.. Esther




  13.  
    Michael Kyompi Sebalu

    Ruth, I admire you and your works, may the good Lord bless your work and reward you abundantly. Will always support you.
    Michael Kyompi Sebalu




  14.  
    peterson tweyongyere

    if we were to have just 20 bakigas of your heart from our sub-region kigezi could be better than other regions.thank you very much and may God bless the work of your hands




  15.  

    Great appreciation to have connection from this determined organization which is trying to chase illiterate from people.we gather to make a change and successful future.Thank you Miss Ruth Ndyabahika. God bless you




  16.  
    jose

    thanks so muc




  17.  

    Excellent work done by Ruth, i asked on the Women for Uganda. Looking for Child support and i was referred to Grace Villa. i will soon call you. This is an emergency for a young girl….





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