Pupils in danger due to lack of funds to fuel canoes to cross Lake Bunyonyi

Pupils in danger due to lack of funds to fuel canoes to cross Lake Bunyonyi
Some pupils of Bwama primary school. Courtesy Photo/Samuel Amanya

Kabale, Uganda | URN | Bwama primary school administration in Kitumba sub-county, Ndorwa west county of Kabale district is struggling to raise funds to fuel engine canoes for transporting Primary Seven and Six pupils crossing Lake Bunyonyi.

Located at Bwama Island, the Church of Uganda government-aided primary school has no provision for boarding section for pupils. Two years ago, Executive Directors of Entutsi Resort and Retreat Center and Nickys Care Foundation, both Community-based organizations operating in Kabale district donated two-engine canoes after getting concerned over how pupils struggle to cross to and from school using local canoes.

After receiving the engine canoes, each parent from primary one to primary seven classes started contributing shillings 3,000 per academic term towards the purchase of diesel to fuel engines transporting pupils.

Now staff at the school have told our reporter that ever since only primary seven and six class pupils were cleared to resume studies, it has been a struggle for the administration to raise funds to buy fuel.

He says that since the time schools were closed early last year as a COVID-19 preventive measure, many parents have not yet paid any money towards the cause.

He says that as a result, pupils are now at times advised to resort to the old means of using manual canoes while crossing the lake recognized as the second deepest lake on the African continent.

Robert Kanyooma, the school headteacher admits that they are stuck with how to raise funds to fuel the two engine canoes. Kanyooma says that the two engine canoes need at least 3.6 million shillings for fueling per academic term.

He says that each engine canoe consumes1.8 million shillings per academic term. He explains that before schools were closed, it was easy to raise the money because each parent for the 350 pupils would raise 3,000 shillings per term.

But now it is a different case where parents of only 77 pupils, 19 in primary seven and 58 in primary six are paying as  there are the two classes operating.

Read Also: Lions Club donates Shs 30m life jackets to Lake Bunyonyi Island schools

He calls upon district education officials and other good Samaritans to consider helping the school so that the system of helping pupils to cross the lake using engine canoes is sustained.

Moses Bwengye Tumwijukye, Kabale District Education Officer says that much as his office is aware of the challenge, there is no means of helping due to budget constraints.

Bwengye advises the school administration to convince parents to see if the contribution can be raised up to at least 5,000 shillings each. He adds that district education officials are trying to engage the Education Ministry and the Ministry of Finance to consider Bwama Primary School as a hard to reach area so that its budget is increased.