New School A Bridge To Future
|Volume 15, No. 4
For Uganda War Orphans
Decades of civil war and destruction by the rebel group "Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA) devastated northern Uganda's infrastructure, rendered millions of people homeless, and left an entire generation of children orphaned and uneducated. Okijob, 19, lost his father to the war and then fled from his home in the north to avoid being abducted into the LRA child army. Once his father was killed, Okijob, along with his mother and four younger siblings were left with no family provider.
Okijob found his fresh start at Archangel Michael Orthodox School just outside the northern Ugandan town of Gulu. With the cooperation of the Orthodox Church in Uganda and a generous grant from the St. Nektarios Fund, IOCC constructed a new secondary school to accommodate 450 students from the area including those living in an adjacent camp for families who were displaced by the violence. The school site was chosen because of a great need in an area where existing secondary schools are overcrowded. Along with classrooms and a science lab, the school also includes a free-standing kitchen and dormitories for boys and girls that can house up to 140 orphans and boarding students.
Okijob pays his tuition by working but doesn't mind if it means earning a diploma. Named head boy of the secondary school because of his caring demeanor, Okijob is grateful for the opportunity to go from a life of hardship to student life and the prospects it can create in helping to provide for his family. "Archangel Michael brought happiness to my life again," he says. The soccer fan now gets excited about sports just like every other teenage boy.