Entebbe. When Daily Monitor highlighted the plight of Ms Florence Nankya’s twins after being evicted from Makusa and Lwamunyu islands in Lake Victoria on May 4, 2018, their future looked bleak.
Ms Nankya could hardly fend for her twins neither could she pay their school fees.
They are among the more than 1,000 families that were left landless after the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) chased them away from the islands for allegedly tampering with fish breeding spaces.
Ms Nankya and her twins now stay at Mayanzi Village where they were together with other families settled by the Entebbe Municipal Council authorities.
The twins, according to their mother, remained with nothing after the family lost almost everything during the eviction.
“I had completely lost hope and also told my children to forget about studying because I could not afford fees in a new school on the main land,” she says, adding: “Their father abandoned us and I became the bread winner. But thank God, he has brought good people to cater for my children’s education.”
Her twins, Wasswa Mawanda and Kato Kasagga, are among the 30 children of displaced islanders whose school fees at Kigungu Primary School will be paid by Mr Måns Linge, a Swede well-wisher.
“I felt touched by the deplorable conditions the children were going through after reading the story in the Daily Monitor of May 4, 2017 about helpless islanders who were evicted by the Army together with their children,” Mr Linge says.
Mr Linge was in Uganda when this newspaper published a story about the plight of the children whose families were driven away from the island by the army.
He was attending a conference at Speke Resort Hotel, Munyonyo.
Some officials from Entebbe Municipal Council led by the Deputy mayor, Mr Richard Ssekyondo, were in attendance.
They confirmed the situation of those children to him when inquired after reading the story.
“When I went back to Sweden, I sat down and asked myself, ‘what contribution can I make to change lives of those children? I later resolved to help at least 30 of them with education until they finish school,” Mr Linge says.
Mr Ssekyondo applauds Daily Monitor for doing stories that impact on people’s lives.
“No one could have known these children’s plight if it was not for Daily Monitor. This impact journalism is commendable and we pray that more of such stories that change communities are given priority,” he adds.
He appeals to parents of the beneficiaries to ensure that they send those children to school since all their basic requirements are catered for by Mr Linge.
“Mr Linge has already paid Shs3.5m for their fees this term and will continue to do the same until they complete their studies,” he adds.
Mr Mustapha Ssentongo, the head teacher at Kigungu Primary School, says though his school is government aided, it is poorly funded, which forces them to ask parents to contribute some money.
“We would not like to charge money but we are forced to do it so that it caters for other things that are not covered under government funding,” he says.
At the school, each pupil in Primary One to Primary Four pays Shs31,500 per term, while those in Primary Five to Primary Seven pay Shs61,500.
Although government sends Shs8,000 as Capitation Grant per child under Universal Primary School Education (UPE) scheme annually, schools have severally complained that they receive little money because of the bank charges involved.
UPE was introduced in 1997 to enable pupils from poor background acquire free basic education.
But the scheme is still hampered by delayed releases of funds, congestion and high pupil-to-teacher ratio.
According to the Capitation Grants expenditure guidelines, 50 per cent of the grant is supposed to be used on instructional materials, 30 per cent on co-curricular activities (sports and clubs, among others) and 15 per cent is allocated for school management which includes; school maintenance, payment for utilities such as water and electricity and the remaining 5 per cent retained at for school administration.