Henleaze Junior School is proud to be linked with Kasongoire Primary School in Uganda.
Our connection began in 2013, when we first sent letters and playground games out to the children and received letters in return. in February 2015, Mr Barber and Mrs Tabley spent a week at the school, watching and teaching lessons and getting to know the children and staff. We were delighted to welcome the headteacher, Jackson Mburumanya, and one of the teachers, Richard Friday, to Bristol in June. In April 2016, Mr Heath and Miss Sharland made our second visit to Uganda, and in February 2017, Miss Cutler and Miss Jones went to find out more about the impact of our partnership.
We hope to continue the link for many years to come. The children are excited by the prospect of making friends in another country and learning about a very different way of life. Teachers have a lot to learn from each other too, and we have also connected our parents and governors.
Gallery - Uganda 2018
Mr and Mrs Barber travelled out to Masindi during the February half term with a group of staff and children from St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School and Henbury School. Unfortunately, since the British Council Connecting Classrooms grant has become almost impossible to secure, many Bristol schools have had to pull out of the Bristol Masindi Partnership. However, seeing first hand the positive impact that our friendship has on the teachers, pupils and community, we would hate to now abandon the connection.
The new school year started just one week before we arrived, after the long 8 week Christmas holiday. This is one of the two dry seasons in Uganda, and it had not rained since the start of November. Temperatures were in the high thirties during our stay. Children stay in the relative cool of the classrooms, or gather in the shade of the large mango trees. The numbers are still on the increase as each day a few more children enrol or return to the school. 326 turned up on the first day of term. By the time we left, there were 400. Class sizes currently range from 24 to 100, and the age range is from 6 to 19. (Children repeat the year if they do not pass the exams, and some children take years off to help their families with work and then return later to finish their primary education)
The new headteacher, Kikabi David, started only one day before our visit. Mr Barber and he made plans for the completion of the library building, which still requires bookshelves, a storage cupboard, ceilings and a solar panel. It was reassuring, though, to see that the bulding is now well used, with an office for the Head, a room for teachers and parents to meet in, and a store room for their limited teaching resources.
The Friendship Project
To cement a longlasting friendship between our two schools, we set out to give every child and teacher at Kasongoire a personal link to a child or teacher at Henleaze Junior School. Mr Barber gave each child a laminated photo of one of our children, with a message on the back introducing themselves. In each of the seven classes, when the letters were given out, the Ugandan children wrote their own name on the front and were then photographed holding up their British friend. This gave Mr Barber the opportunity to meet all 400 children individually. The older ones were able to read their letters and write a response. The younger ones learnt to say the name of their friend. At the end of the day, they proudly took their friend home to show to their families.
The other activity we conducted on this trip was to teach all of the children a song, called Love Is All You Need. Inspired by a video from Playing For Change Foundation, we have taught the song and filmed the children at Kasongoire and Henleaze, and will be editing it into our own new film, bringing together children who live thousands of miles apart.