New Wiring Sheds Light on Children’s Studies in Uganda

04/28/11

It’s almost 7:30pm on a school night in Lira, Uganda, and the sun is setting. Second-grader Joseph Aweri and several other children at Children of the Nations' (COTN) Uganda Children’s Village have finished their dinner and chores, but they need a little more time to complete their homework. As the room where the children study grows dark, one of the older boys lights a kerosene lamp. But Joseph still has to bend close to the paper to see what he’s writing.

Until recently, this was the scene at the center house in our Children’s Village. Studying after dark was a challenge. But with the completion of an electrical wiring project last month, it’s much easier now. The center house can now be lit throughout when connected to a generator, allowing children to study even after the sun goes down. “School doesn't get out until 4:30pm for the children and then they have chores and dinner,” says COTN–International Uganda Liaison Sylvia Taussig. “Homework has been difficult to do by kerosene lamp, so I think working on homework and getting extra help with tutoring will be the biggest benefit [of the new wiring].”

The wiring will produce other benefits for our children as well. The center house is a multi-purpose building in the Children’s Village, and having better electricity will be helpful in several ways. In addition to being a study hall in the evenings, the center house is a classroom during the daytime and a weekend gathering place for worship, games, and other events. “The children gather there when the staff wants to talk to all of them,” Sylvia says. “It is also a great place to get out of the rain, play games with friends, practice their songs and dances, etc.”

Even with the new wiring, the center house will not have round-the-clock electricity. The Children’s Village lies outside of Lira’s current electrical grid, so the staff must use a gas-powered generator to turn on the lights. “Like most towns, Lira adds infrastructure as the town expands, but it will be awhile before they have electricity or city water,” Sylvia says. The Children’s Village has plenty of generators for the meantime. Real Life Church in Valencia, CA donated several generators to COTN last year, which will help light the center house and, soon, the rest of the Children’s Village. “From what I understand, they … are now working on wiring the homes surrounding the center house,” Sylvia says.

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