This summer I am working as a Peace Fellow for the Advocacy Project. Together with the Gulu Disabled Persons Union(GDPU), we will construct latrines that are handicap accessible, private, and sanitary for Awach Central Primary School.
For decades, the Lord's Resistance Army ravaged northern Uganda. Under the command of Joseph Kony, over 30,000 children
were ripped from their parents’ arms and forced to fight. Some of the children abducted were as young as six years old. For ten years, schools in the region were closed. For ten years, these derelict schools were left to decay as children grew-up without any formal education. Today, peace has returned to Uganda, but the drop-out rate is alarming high, especially among disabled children and girls. According to the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey, nearly 12 percent of all students under the age of 19 have some form of disability.
A major obstacle to obtaining an education in Uganda is the lack of accessible latrines. Many schools simply do not have bathrooms. Students are forced to wander outside to find a place to relieve themselves. For those students lucky enough to have toilets, they are often overcrowded and unsanitary. Squat latrines are particularly difficult for disabled students to use. These children suffer from bullying and discrimination which is magnified by the daily the fear injuring themselves while using the bathroom. Girls in Uganda are reported to miss up to 24 days of the school year due to menstruation because of inadequate toilet facilities. Faced with stigmatization and health issues, many students simply decide education is outside their reach and drop-out. This crisis poses a serious threat to the education of an entire generation, but there is hope.
Over the summer, GDPU and I will construct accessible toilets for the roughly 1,000 students at Awach Central Primary School. This project was made possible by the 2017 Peace Fellow, Lauren Halloran, who was able to raise $2,500. The funds raised this summer will ensure the project continues and thrive and support additional schools with accessible toilets next year. not only continue but thrive in the future, I have set an ambitious fundraising goal of $5,000 so that together we can bring twice as many children back to school. Your donation will help create an immediate impact in the lives of students like Nancy Okot who was born with cerebral palsy. Often bullied and without access to a private stall, Nancy was on the verge of dropping out entirely before GDPU constructed modern latrines at her school in 2014. On top of the construction GDPU partners with communities to address the underlying problems of bullying and harassment. Every penny will go towards the project and I invite everyone to follow my blog this summer to monitor our progress here !
Optimism without action is just a dream. Help transform the dreams of Awach's students into reality with a donation today!
Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda Demographic and Health Survey. 2011. https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR264/FR264.pdf
 Jordyn Horowitz, Education and Menstruation in Uganda. 2014. https://borgenproject.org/education-menstruation-uganda/
 Students with Disability Face Bullies and Inaccessible Toilets in Uganda. 2014. http://www.advocacynet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/PR-262-Toilets-in-Uganda.pdf