Two years of Corona challenges

By Ben Parkinson, Director Chrysalis Uganda
We’ve all lived through perhaps the toughest two years of our lives and it has left its mark, as we’ve changed our life patterns to accommodate whatever lockdown implementation has been decided for us.In Uganda, while the risk of catching COVID-19 was less, the lockdowns were more severe. In March 2020 everything stopped. Almost every vehicle usage was banned, most businesses were stopped and Ugandans have yet to recover from the effect of this. Thankfully the rules have relaxed quite a lot now, but the impact of the various lockdown measures has led to:Large numbers of businesses closing for goodChurches struggling to make ends meetA massive increase in the numbers of teenage pregnanciesChildren going backwards in their learningSchool teachers abandoning the professionIncreases in children scrap-collecting for foodReduction in quality of life, as social media was banned and curfews implementedIn 2020, when starvation was so prevalent, we offered food and living supplies to local children and we continued to provide lunch to children living in the slum areas throughout most of 2021. We gave children purpose through our athletics training, as each were able to focus on improving their times and distances, during the periods when schools were closed. We provided mental stimulation through our boardgames programme, which brought so many new children into this hobby. We also offered other activities such as cooking, listening to music, painting and drawing, goal-setting and activities such as drama and debating.We maintained contact with our Butterfly Project trainees – those who are learning to be social entrepreneurs – and supported them with their local projects – biogas, girls empowerment training, new seeds for farming and many other ways, Where our young changemakers seemed isolated, we supported them with mobile phones and data, to ensure they were able to lift their spirits through contact with others.
Chrysalis Secondary School Built
For many years, we have needed a secondary school for educating and training young changemakers from our Butterfly Project. Teachers were not used to empowered youth and in many cases felt insecure teaching them. Caning, though outlawed in Uganda, was still very prevalent and most school seemed not to prioritise extra-curricular activites, instead focusing just on the curriculum and revision. In the new school, all teachers will receive specialist training in how to encourage and empower girls and boys.Subjects such as music and ICT were very rare and sciences lacked equipment and resources, so were reserved for just the most academically gifted. Science is a key area for protecting children against lies and fake news and we believe that this is a key global issue right now. We have great experience in the Arts and will be developing a range of musical projects in 2022, including a brass band, music listening and theory and, of course talent identification and development.The school has six classrooms, a well-equipped house running on solar power, teachers’ quarters, girls’ and boys’ dormitories, a bore hole and good lighting throughout the campus. There is a 400m athletics track, soon to be basketball and netball courts, a hall and refectory (almost complete) and an excellent teaching staff.We have a library of books by African and international authors and also Uganda’s largest library of board games. Our teachers are fully conversant with the boardgames and are able to teach boardgames as well as their subject!
In this part of Omoro district children have had no plans to go to a secondary school but since we built the school, we have been helping them work out ways to raise money for our fees, by planting vegetables and giving them a plot on our own land. They have been very enthusiastic!
Omoro has a poor record in retaining girls at school and we are implementing strategies to:Encouraging girls to push on through Primary School by building their confidence and identifying their talentsRetaining girls in our own school by showing them ways to generate income as an entrepreneur, such as by teaching how to make liquid soapTraining teachers not to stereotype or demean girlsGiving our Butterfly girls a role to peer-mentor other girls at the school, to ensure that they can speak up about any issues they face
We are very excited by the future potential of the school and the opportunity to change the aspirations of local girls and boys in Omoro district and even further afield. We have so many new ideas lined up, which we are looking forward to implement in the forthcoming year.
Girls’ dormitory
400m trackSchools have been off and on during 2021, but in January 2022, it seems very likely that school will restart fully, so the school will launch on January 10th, for Year 8 to Year 12.How to sponsor children at the schoolWe have 40 children waiting to start at the school for whom we are seeking sponsors. If you would like to sponsor one of these and help support the Chrysalis School as we make our first steps as a school, then you can donate at our Justgiving page. Sponsoring a pupil costs £45 per month, plus a uniform cost of £35 in Month 1 only. You can sponsor for one year or up to six years. Also, if you would like to share sponsorship with someone, please email
Some of the kids already at the school talking about their boardgame favourites and how to become a sponsor.

You May Also Like