The Guildford Mukono Link was established in 2003 to foster an understanding between our two communities. It is through friendship that we have found many ways of working together. Originally Links were formed with schools but over time this has extended to institutions and individuals in both communities. Many of the initiatives have been spontaneous from chance meetings, others have arisen because a need has been identified but all are based on respect for each other’s culture and institutions.
There are now ten Linked schools and with support from the British Council many teachers from Mukono and Guildford have visited their Linked schools. They have been able to experience the different teaching methods and understand the challenges that face their Linked schools. Mukono schools lack resources, have up to 140 in a class and follow a curriculum that requires much learning of facts but with less attention to understanding; while Guildford schools face the challenge of keeping children focused and motivated. The sharing of projects and letters has helped bring an understanding and respect of each other as people. Guildford children are impressed that although some children in Mukono may walk long distances to school and have no lunch, at a shared sports day the best results were from a school in Mukono. Perhaps the greatest moment was when the formality of a video conference between two Linked schools was broken when someone made a joke and everyone laughed.
Every year a group from Guildford visits Mukono to renew friendships and visitors have the opportunity to spend time in classrooms, visit farms, see the facilities in hospitals and meet the people of Mukono in many situations. Through these informal meetings many project ideas have been conceived.
- 4 teachers houses have been built; 3 school rain water harvesting schemes; 3 bore holes; 4 school dormitories; 10 classrooms and 2 wood lots. Four tons of books for the library, including hundreds of text books; 6 computers for the library and dozens of footballs for schools have been sent out.
- 40 instruments for the music school and band have been taken out.
- There is a student sponsorship scheme to send orphans through university, 4 have gained degrees and 3 are still studying,
- In conjunction with The Kampala Kids League 500 disadvantaged children of all abilities are now learning football skills and will take part in league matches. The Casey Trust has helped to finance this project.
- A workshop for 40 teachers was organised for teaching reading; An economics workshop for 100 sixth formers has been held; Three science workshops for primary school teachers were delivered by a retired Guildford teacher.
Many initiatives have started because visitors from Guildford have realised they can see a way of contributing to the benefit of Mukono and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of the Links between the two communities.
The Kids League
Mukono Brass Band
These instruments were donated by Surrey Arts – as ‘retired instruments’. They are being well used for educational purposes in Mukono…
Bridget, Harriet & Kalule were sponsored by Guildford to university in Uganda in 2008…
Eight local Guildford Schools are proud to have active links with Schools in Mukono. Through these links children from both Schools have learnt about different cultures and challenges. Teachers have visited each other and shared best teaching practice. Here in Guildford we are humbled by the passion and determination of the Mukono teachers and the thirst for learning that their students demonstrate.