Crater High School is located in a very rural community in western Uganda about 25 miles from a paved road. This community, called Rwanyabihuka, is surrounded by a big hill to the east and a river/papyrus swamp separates it from the other communities to the west. Because of this landscape, the community is secluded and not easily accessible. The community is served by two primary schools with about a population of 700 pupils.
The desire to have a secondary school in this community arose because of the high dropout rates after primary seven. Almost 50% of the students able to complete P7 were not continuing to senior one mainly because of two reasons: firstly, parents could not afford the tuition and school supplies for secondary education and secondly, the distance to the nearest secondary schools was prohibitive. As one who grew up in this community, this pained me. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to help start a secondary school that would be accessible and affordable and that would provide quality secondary education to the kids in the community. The school would be owned by the community, run by the local management committee, and operated as not for profit.
The first step towards this goal was to consult with community elders and opinion leaders. They did not need any convincing; this was a long needed project in the community. They highly welcomed the idea and encouraged me to go ahead. With some personal funds, we started with acquiring land near the community-trading center. I then shared with a few friends in the United States namely Jody and her family and Mathew Ache and his family. These families were very supportive and we raised initial funds to construct two classrooms. The 2017 academic year saw Crater High School open its doors to enroll 31 students in senior 1 and 2. The name of the school comes from two volcanic depressions (“Ebijongo” as they are called in the local language) in the hill that characterizes the community.
Then in January of 2017, a group of students from Dakota Wesleyan University led by Dr. Alisha Vincent visited the community and saw firsthand the efforts in starting the secondary school and this group was very supportive. Dr. Vincent would eventually introduce Crater High school to AsOne Ministries who supports education and community development projects in Africa.
With the support of AsOne Ministries, a block of three classrooms and an office is almost complete! For the 2018 academic year, the student enrollment has grown to 78 students, with 43 students in S1, a phenomenon growth. The community has embraced the school and both the parents and the students are so appreciative of this community project. You just have to see the smile on the chicks of students who most likely would not have had a chance of secondary education. The parents too are extremely appreciative that a there is a secondary school in the community very close to families and is affordable.
The value of education cannot be emphasized enough, especially for the girl child (2/3 of the students are girls). These children will acquire a secondary education to enable them have better shot at life. I am so thankful to everyone that has contributed towards the building of this community school. Thank you all supporters of AsOne Ministries who give to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. The coordination of the director Major Edson Akanihayo and the chairman of the management committee Mr. Bazil Besigye has been phenomenal. The headmaster Mr. Naras Twizere and all our teachers are doing an incredible job with limited resources to provide quality education to the students.
I have no doubt that Crater High school is going to be a model school in the entire constituency for affordable quality secondary education. We continue to pray for God’s provision so Crater High school would have all the facilities for all-around secondary education that will bring about spiritual, intellectual, and vocational transformation in the lives of students in Rwanyabihuka.