DONNING blue dresses and shorts with white socks and black shoes, they made a beeline, struggling to walk on dry grass laid after a downpour. With resilience and for a cause, they got there. Every one was quiet â€” only birds made noise. â€œWe are on serious business here, who brought these children?â€ some one asked.
Not bothered, they stopped at once and pulled small yellow Bibles from their pockets. A female teacher slowly followed them.
â€œLove one another as youâ€¦â€ they read a verse and sang. Out of excitement, the formerly silent audience joined the fray, clapping their hands in frenzy.
These were eight nursery school pupils of Wakiso Satellite Village, an orphanage centre. We are residents of Canaan House,â€ they said.
Rafiki Foundation, an American non-governmental organisation, built the five-year-old school. Rosemary Jensen, the general director, says the organisation operates in 10 African countries.
â€œSince my childhood, I have always dreamt of helping orphans. I am happy that I am fulfilling my childhood dream in my old age,â€ she said.
Jensen says the First Lady, Mrs Janet Museveni, approached her, persuading her to build an orphanage centre in Uganda and she started with Wakiso Satellite Village.
â€œItâ€™s not easy raising funds, but sometimes I just find it happening by Godâ€™s mercy,â€ she adds. A second orphanage will be built in Mukono.
Job Mbukure, the project director, says the project will cost $1m (about sh1.8b).
The project, dubbed Mukono Satellite Village, is located in Kisowera about seven kilometres off the Mukono-Kayunga highway.
Mbukure says the first phase, which entails the construction a borehole that will supply 4,000 litres of water per hour, a water storage system and raising of a security fence, will cost sh1b. Between 600 and 800 children will be enrolled upon completion in February 2007.
The complex will comprise a nursery and primary school and there will be free vocational studies.
Mbukure hailed the initiative, but appealed for more. He says pupilsâ€™ art and crafts would be collected and sold in the US to increase the funds to run the centre.
Launching the project recently, the Bishop of Mukono Diocese, Paul Luzinda, hailed Rafiki Foundation and pledged total support to the project.
â€œThere are very many orphans in Mukono. If it means a personal contribution, I will make it so that our orphans get hope in life,â€ he said.
He said the diocese had offered the 35-acre piece of land on which the orphanage would stand.
Mukono gets sh1.8b for orphans project