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On Friday 13th May, six pupils from Upper Elements (year 6) – Daniel, Jemimah, Hiba, Lucy, Josh and Hanaan – made contact with pupils from St Peter’s Nsambya in Kampala, Uganda. These pupils are supported by the Xavier Project which aims to improve opportunities for children in Uganda and Kenya (often refugees), through education.
We had arranged to contact them via skype at 1.15pm GMT and, gathered in the Emmaus Centre, we started with video and audio for the first 5 minutes. Despite a poor internet connection, the pupils were able to introduce themselves and see each other. As the sound quality deteriorated we reverted to typed skype chat.
The four boys were, Reiben, Pacific, Mwisha and Armand. The subjects that the boys enjoy are maths, science and English and the football teams mentioned were Chelsea and Real Madrid. One of the boys hopes to become a doctor. Other pupils had been expected to join in the contact session but on-going violence in the area meant that their parents preferred to keep them home from school that day.
We hope to keep in touch on a weekly basis during term time and gain an understanding of their hopes and their lives in Uganda. Our pupils already recognise that they do not face the same challenge just getting into school!
Mrs C. McCullough (Lay Chaplain, Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall)
About the Xavier Project
Xavier Project is an education charity, founded and run by Edmund Page, O.S. It aims to guide refugees to make the most of the educational opportunities available to them. Xavier Project has been praised for providing educational opportunities in very efficient ways, and for ensuring that education later translates into secure livelihoods. Last year, Edmund was awarded a Queen’s Young Leader Award by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. (He was one of only three people in the UK to receive this award.)
Edmund writes: We believe that everyone has the right to equal opportunities and protection wherever they live and whatever their background. Globally this right is denied to refugees and we use education to change this.
In Eastern Africa there is an increasing number of urban refugees who predominantly originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia. The cities where they arrive are not adequately equipped to provide a respectable standard of living to their expanding populations. Refugees face unique challenges in this already difficult environment.
Xavier Project has two centres: one in Kampala and one in Nairobi, with a total of 28 staff.
Further details can be found at www.xavierproject.org