Sponsor a Child
It's easy to take education for granted - for so many of us, the right to go to school seems like a basic need. But for many children in Uganda, making it to secondary school is a privilege. Through KAASO's Kiwi Sponsorships programme, you can sponsor a child through their secondary education, enabling them to continue their studies beyond primary school. We welcome sponsors from around the world to get behind KAASO's students finishing their final year of primary school, giving them the chance to further their studies and graduate as independent, self-reliant professionals.
History of the Kiwi Sponsorships
It started with a letter
It was July 2009 and Emma Outteridge had been volunteering at KAASO for two months when one of the top pupils from the Primary Seven class came to her with a letter explaining that his father had died and his mother would be unable to afford to send him to secondary school the following year. Without help, his education would soon be ending. With a hopeful smile and a shaking hand, he delivered a letter asking Emma to sponsor him. His name was Henry.
Education in Uganda
In Uganda there is 'Universal Primary & Secondary Education' which means that, in theory, education is free for all children. In reality however, the level of education in most government schools is so low that you'd be lucky to find a teacher, let alone a desk or a book. KAASO is a primary school that runs an incredible system whereby children who cannot afford to pay are covered by the school and still given the right to an education. However, there are no secondary schools that operate in this way, so children finishing KAASO who have no parents to pay school fees either attend the very basic government secondary schools or drop out. Dreams of future careers and the financial stability they represent quickly dissolve.
HENRY WASN'T THE ONLY ONE NEEDING HELP
As the 2009 school year came to a close in November, Emma looked around the classroom of 49 students finishing their last year of primary school, and her heart broke at the realisation that many of them would be ending their education here as their parents or guardians could not afford secondary school fees. She agreed to sponsor Henry and spoke to Rose to see if there were more students like Henry needing assistance. Rose came back with a list of 18 names.
THE KIWI SPONSORSHIPS WAS BORN
With Rose's list in hand, Emma contacted everyone she knew and by the beginning of 2010, there were seven sponsored students attending secondary school. Leaving Uganda, Emma continued to talk about the children of KAASO to friends around the world and support grew. Each year she would return to visit the current sponsor students and match new sponsors with children finishing primary school.
THE KIWI SPONSORSHIPS TODAY
Today, the Kiwi Sponsorships sees over 50 students through secondary and vocational schools each year. In 2015 came the first wave of graduates, and so far we have nine students who have completed their six years of education and gained qualifications enabling them to join the workforce and start earning money to support themselves - and their families.
WHY IS IT CALLED THE KIWI SPONSORSHIPS?
Emma originally volunteered at KAASO with two fellow New Zealanders, Cherie Broome and Kirsty Pelenur, and the girls were known throughout the school and community as the 'Kiwi Girls'. The new dormitory they fundraised for was named Kiwi House, so it was only a matter of time before this new sponsorship programme was named the 'Kiwi Sponsorships'. While most of the sponsors were from New Zealand in the early days, today we have sponsors from all over the world, from Bermuda to Australia, from Canada to Greece.