Katale, Wakiso District, Kampala:
Nikos Kazantzakis once said: “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
St. James Primary, nestled in the hills of Busawula-Katale, an outer suburb of Kampala, would come across as just an ordinary school in the community. But what defines St. James is not its cracked plaster walls, nor its rusty play structures, but the risk that the school takes in order to serve its community.
St. James operates on a pay-what-you-can model, inviting families to send their children to school who might not otherwise have an opportunity for an education. The school works individually with each family to determine an appropriate amount for school fees, making education a reality for those less fortunate. Schools like St. James are a necessary component in order to improve literacy in lower-class communities; but financial models, like St. James’, poses risks for the school and its faculty.
Working at a school like St. James, teachers face inconsistent pay, occasionally receiving lower pay and sometimes having to wait weeks for their wages. But it’s a risk-reward that the teachers are willing to manage for the betterment of their community. “We believe there are great leaders in these children,” says Musisi Annet, school director for St. James. “We are here to raise the thinkers of tomorrow.” There is a definite perseverance that radiates from St. James and its leaders, a perseverance that guarantees confidence, passion, and success. From St. James, we are reminded that our potential isn’t determined by our origins - our past is our prologue.
St. James Primary is willing to persevere for education; are you willing?