HEAL Africa supports the operations of a primary school, where over 250 vulnerable children attend. Located in a rural village known as Mugunga, the school serves as the closest opportunity for any amount of education. Many of the children in attendance come from refugee families who have settled into their temporary housing as a result of continued conflict.
In operation since the 2005-2006 school year, the school has implemented a practical component to their education by learning about agriculture and the benefits of breeding livestock. The project, although small, has produced several benefits. It has not only provided school children with skills for their future, but it acts as a tool to engage parents, while generating some level of income to assist in the school’s limited financial capacity.
Children wandering without parental supervision within the walls of HEAL Africa is not an unusual sight. Many come for chapel services early in the mornings and remain throughout the day. Some children must remain at the hospital, as they or their caregivers receive treatment. Because treatments can vary in length, children are often left with limited supervision.
In their new environment, many will develop friendships with other children and explore the hospital grounds, often disturbing the hospital’s operations. More critical however, is the interruption in their education.
Started by a group of women volunteers under the leadership of the late Lyn Lusi, a mentoring center for children at all levels began in 2006. Each year over 200 children attend the school. They are provided with school kits that include basic hygiene materials, to allow them to participate in their education with dignity.
Because of their shared experience at HEAL Africa and Tuungane School, friendships often develop. These relationships can provide an emotional cushion among children.
On Sundays, HEAL Africa holds a chapel service with an open invitation to all patients, staff and residents outside of the HEAL Africa hospital grounds, regardless of religious affiliation. Between children outside HEAL Africa’s gates and children of hospital patients, the Sunday School program attracts approximately 300 children. HEAL Africa uses this opportunity to address the spiritual needs of children, by providing lessons with sound values so that today’s children will contribute to a safer future for their community.