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Kyabirwa Primary School Volunteer Project -

a grass roots Govt. Registered Community Based Organisation


      A day in the life of a Ugandan Child         


Some of the youngest children at Kyabirwa Primary School, Uganda.    

This description of a Ugandan child's day is typical of the lives of the children of Kyabirwa Primary School. The Volunteer Uganda School Project's aim is to change these lives for the better both now and in the future. Volunteers help us to do this by assisting in a variety of ways to raise educational standards and improve the lives of the community as a whole.

The lives of Ugandan children aren't like those of children in developed countries. There's little in their lives but work. Every day is much the same - please see the timetable below!

A typical day for arural primary school child in Uganda

  • 05:00 am Wake Up, wash
  • 05:15am Go to collect water from the well or bore hole – may be half a mile or more away
  • 06:00 am Clean the compound at home, take the animals to graze
  • 06:15 am Most children don’t have breakfast. If they do, it’s bread and Blue Band margarine.
  • 06:30 am Start walking to school (some set off before this as some Water collection - a daily fact of life for children however small. Those containers weigh between 5 and 20 kgs when full. children have a 6 mile walk)
  • 07:00 am Arrive at school
  • 07:15 am Clean school compound and class rooms
  • 07:40 am School assembly and prayers
  • 08:00 am Go to class for lessons
  • 10:00 am Break Time
  • 10:30 am Lessons
  • 01:00 pm Lunch break – most children don’t have lunch
  • 02:00 pm Back to class for lessons
  • 03:00 pm Classes end, start work in school garden, clean classrooms, compound and latrines
  • 04:00 pm School ends, start walking back home
  • 05:30 pm Take off uniform & change into work clothes
  • 06:00 pm Collect water, animals & firewood, dig fields
  • 08:00 pm Back home. Clean up and start home work
  • 09:30 pm Have supper
  • 10:00 pm Help to wash dishes, do the washing etc
  • 10:15 pm Finish home work by candle light
  • 11:00 pm Go to bed

So you can see that our children's lives are not what your children are used to.         

  Child care at Kyabirwa is a reflection found all over Africa                Even after school children's work doesn't end

Responsibility for child care can start even earlier than this. Children care for their younger siblings while their parents work in the fields. Even after school, children have to maintain the school grounds.

These kids should be in Kyabirwa Primary School but their parents need them to grow food for the family first                          Some of Kyabirwa Primary School's children collecting water late at night
After school, at weekends and in the                            How do you smile at 10pm when you're
'holidays', or when you can't afford uniform,                   carrying 20kgs of water, 10 of which is on
pens or paper for school.                                            your head? It's an airline luggage allowance!

Despite all this, our children are cheerful. On Monday mornings, if you ask them how their weekend was, they'll say it was good because they had had more sleep, or meat to eat or that ‘nothing bad happened’.

They do have fun sometimes....           

Thank goodness it's not all hard. There are times when they can play.         

One of the children of a teacher at Kyabirwa Primary School

Ugandans are avid supporters of British football. Where someone in the village has a hand cranked radio, they gather round to listen to commentaries on British soccer matches. Most boys have a favourite team and possibly even a poster for Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea! They also pay a few shillings to watch it on TVs at Trading Posts.

Even though they don't have televisions or papers they have seen pictures and adverts, film posters, perhaps even a health DVD on the new school TV. They do know there's a wealthy world out there where people have undreamt of money and where of course, the perception is that there aren't any problems.

Kyabirwa children relaxing before going home after school          Kyabirwa Primary School boys (young men really) celebrating moving a heavy cupboard