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Wednesday,July 17,2019 17:03 PM

A brighter future for 1000 orphaned children

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th September 2012 12:31 PM

Bank accounts have been opened for over 1000 orphaned children from 48 primary schools in Masaka and Rakai districts in a project aimed at helping them further their education.

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Bank accounts have been opened for over 1000 orphaned children from 48 primary schools in Masaka and Rakai districts in a project aimed at helping them further their education.

By Eddie Ssejjoba            

Bank accounts have been opened for over 1000 orphaned children from 48 primary schools in Masaka and Rakai districts in a project aimed at helping them further their education.

The scheme, dubbed Bridges to the Future is the brainchild of Dr. Fred Ssewamala, a professor at Columbia University School of Social Work, USA.

He initiated it as a research study.

Under the scheme, poor and orphaned children in primary schools can later afford further education after primary school by using their savings in the new bank accounts.

Dr. Ssewamala explains how it will work.

Through the help of their guardians or caretakers, the children can each start with any amount between sh25, 000 and sh50, 000 as initial deposit.

The project would then match their efforts by offering twice the amount saved a month.

For participating students who cannot complete formal education, he says, the savings can help them sponsor their vocational training or serve as startup capital for any income-generating project of their choice.

Jeanette Takamura, dean at Columbia University School of Social Work is scheduled for a four-day visit to the beneficiaries.

She will meet the Masaka diocesan bishop, John Baptist Kaggwa and other senior clergy on the progress so far registered in making an impact in the lives of many poor children in the region.

The children Saturday meet at Kimaanya Parish in Masaka town to formalize their savings.

Leaders target using the model to mobilize more youth joint savings and finance credit organizations that can enable them sustain themselves economically.

The diocese has partnered with Dr. Ssewamala since 2003 in helping poor children make small savings that have enabled many attain education up to university level.

Several pioneer students are now studying in universities.

Three banks – Dfcu, Kakuuto Microfinance and Centenary Rural Development Bank – that have been in partnership with Dr. Ssewamala in the program have been lined up to host the 1,000 accounts.

The project is sponsored under a grant from the National Institutes of Health, a US government agency and has already set a precedent of inculcating the spirit of saving among young people.

“Bridges to the Future is the culmination of our work in this region for the past nine years. It is the most exciting time in our study, it is when the real intervention begins, and the children can start saving in earnest,” said the professor, adding that it would hardly have been a success without their long-time financial partners.

Three previous studies in the area, SEED, Suubi-Uganda, and Suubi-Maka, he says, showed successful results among the then primary school orphans.

“The lessons they learned and the money they and their care-giving families saved throughout the studies have enabled many of them advance their education and even go to university, when they otherwise may have dropped out of primary school at an early age, exposing many of them to high-risk activities.”

A brighter future for 1000 orphaned children

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