US Don Tips Orphans on Fees

October 1, 2004 @ 4:00 am

A September 2004 article in the Uganda Monitor by Michael J. Ssali describes a project created by Assistant Professor Fred Ssewamala.
Dr. Fred Ssewamala, an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Columbia University has mooted an idea to help orphaned children in Uganda to easily acquire fees for secondary school education through their own savings.

Ssewamala who lost both parents at the age of 12 years, says he is eager to see orphans go through school because he was also helped by kind relatives.

With an initial grant of 20,000 US dollars from Columbia and Washington Universities, Ssewamala has started what he calls SEED Uganda (Save for Education, Entrepreneurship and Down payment). He visited Matale Catholic Parish in Masaka Diocese recently and talked to 97 orphans and their guardians in six primary schools about the culture of saving.

He told guardians to create hope among orphans by making them more focused on their future. Some orphans enlisted with SEED Uganda have been enabled to open up savings accounts with the Centenary Bank, on which they or their guardians will be depositing savings intended to be their secondary school fees.

“We expect them to have saved up to about Shs 120,000 each when I return in about six months time, and SEED Uganda will deposit twice the amount that each child will have saved on their accounts. We shall be matching their savings by twice as much,” Ssewamala said.He said he wants the process to continue for many years and to spread through out Masaka and Namirembe Dioceses.

“I wish all orphans in Uganda could benefit in this way,” he said.He added that the orphaned children donít have to be tied down to opting for secondary school education alone.

He said they could use the savings to pay for apprenticeship training as artisans or to start their own small businesses.

October 1, 2004