St. John Bosco School

Katosi, Uganda
Project start: 2015


Target achieved:
79.670 €

The history of the East African state of Uganda is characterized by many years of military dictatorship and a devastating HIV epidemic. The AIDS epidemic did not stop at the fishing village of Katosi either. The village community built the “St. John Bosco School” to offer the local orphans a perspective. It offers free lessons for the poorest children in the village. However, the school was threatened with closure due to significant structural defects. This is where our support came in: seven new classrooms, sanitary facilities, a new water tank and the construction of a library are the result of the joint project work with our local partner K.I.D.A.


Uganda is a landlocked East African country bordering the crisis regions of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the north, Uganda borders Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. The population of Uganda is just under 35 million. The official languages are English and Swahili, but a total of over 40 different languages and dialects are spoken. Uganda’s history is marked by years of violent military dictatorship, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives after the country’s decolonization and independence in the 1970s. The armed conflicts continued until 2006. In addition to the unrest, an HIV epidemic swept through the country in the 1980s, which continues to claim many lives to this day. The number of orphans in Uganda has risen dramatically since then. Almost a third of all orphans in Uganda are orphaned as a result of this epidemic. As a rule, orphans are taken in and cared for by the clan-like village community. In some places, however, the high number of orphans is now overburdening the village community. The project school “St. John Bosco School” is located in the fishing village of Katosi, in the district of Mukono near the capital Kampala. The main sources of income for the inhabitants are fishing and agriculture.

Katosi was also hit hard by the AIDS epidemic, which is why it is estimated that around 70% of the village population is now infected. The “St. John Bosco School” was founded by the “Katosi Intercommunity Development Alliance” (KIDA), a small local aid organization, which erected a temporary wooden building together with the village community in 2010. Teaching staff were also recruited. The project has so far been financed by the village community. The school offers free education to orphans and the poorest children in the village. As school fees are generally charged for school attendance in Uganda, it would otherwise not be affordable for these children. Around 165 children between the ages of 5 and 13 are currently being taught from first to seventh grade. A friend of the association first became aware of the school during a round trip. In 2015, then board member Marilena Frank traveled to Katosi to get to know KIDA and the school. It carried out an inventory and basic investigation.


The inventory quickly revealed the problems. Due to a termite infestation, the school was dilapidated and in serious danger of collapse. This danger of collapse means a greater safety risk for the pupils with each passing day, so much so that the government has already threatened to close the school several times without replacement. However, the school’s structural deficiencies go even further: as the school was built as a mere provisional solution and with minimal financial resources, a concrete floor was not poured at all. Due to unevenness in the ground, puddles form in the muddy ground during the rainy season, in which insects such as sand fleas breed and infest the pupils’ feet. Due to improper treatment and permanent re-infestation, infections of the affected areas occur again and again.

Back in Germany, we decided as a team to support the school with a permanent new brick building to ensure the school’s learning success and continued existence. Together with our local partner K.I.D.A., the first step was to build seven new classrooms at a cost of around €40,000. The building was officially opened at the end of October 2017.

The sanitary facilities and a new water tank for collecting and processing rainwater were built and opened at the beginning of 2018. This measure was accompanied by hygiene workshops in which the children were taught how to handle water and the importance of hygiene. The costs amounted to a total of around €7,300. In summer 2018, we started our last construction project at St. John Bosco School for the time being: a library with adjoining administration rooms to relieve the daily school routine. Teachers and pupils also received training on how to use a library at the opening.

Further educational projects


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Visions for Children e.V.
Feldstraße 36
20357 Hamburg


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