Uganda Essomero Chicago is a 501(c)3 organization that was created to oversee fundraising efforts for a new primary grade school in the village of Myanzi, Uganda located in East Africa. This is a small town of about 10,000 people located near Mityana, Uganda.
Our mission is to create opportunities for prosperity and self-sufficiency in Myanzi, Uganda by building a school, supporting it's opening then growing its educational and extra curricular offerings.
The village of Myanzi has very limited primary school options. Those that do exist have dirt floors, no running water and provide limited opportunity even for the most promising students. We want to create a school enviroment that promotes education, not stifles it. We want children to learn in a space that is safe, clean and caring. We want all of our primary school graduates to continue onto secondary school.
Education in Uganda
Only some primary school graduates go on to take any form of secondary education. This is contingent upon them passing their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).
The public primary education system is Uganda is grossly overcrowded.
The student to teacher ratio in Uganda is extremely high (40:1) which makes most learning environment difficult; it is hard for students to hear and teachers to teach in crowded classrooms.
Poor quality primary education means less students complete the primary grades. Completion rates to grade 5 are at less than 25%
The number of students reaching secondary school is about 17%.
In 2001, Fr. Matthias Kakooza's relationship with the parishioners of St. Andrew Parish in Chicago, Illinois began. It started as an annual trip to raise funds for his parish in Uganda by saying mass while the resident priests were on vacation. His efforts provided bicycles for the parish catechists to expand their ministry to to remote "outstation" communities and funded the repair for broken water wells to ensure a clean and safe water supply.
In 2005, St. Andrew parishioners started making sustained investments in his work by sponsoring his yearly trip. This allowed Fr. Matthias create lasting friendships and expand his ministries to include rehabilitating schools and providing academic scholarships for students and families in need. Under the direction of Fr. Matthias, two schools we successfully built: Saint Andrew Lawamata and Saint Andrew Lwanga.
In 2011, a group of St. Andrew parishioners went on a mission trip to visit Fr. Matthias and saw the need for safe, clean and academially challenging schools. They also witnessed the important role that pastors play in the life of their parish community and how Fr. Matthias has a unique gift to bring people together, allocate resources wisely and get things done.
In 2015, a 501(c)3 named Uganda Essomero Chicago was created to oversee fundraising efforts for Fr. Matthias' educational ministry which includes building a new, primary school from the ground up on a parcel of land purchased from an anonymous donor in 2015.