They Are Welcome Here

Ten years ago, long-time Holt partner Jolly Nyeko donated her land to build a school for the children of Masulita, Uganda. Most of the children had never before seen the inside of a classroom. Today, nearly 300 children attend Jolly Children’s Academy with the support of Holt sponsors.

Children mug for the camera at Jolly Children’s Academy, a primary school for children ages 3 and older in Masulita, Uganda where Holt child sponsors provide school fees, supplies and uniforms for 150 of the 295 children in attendance. They also help to pay teachers’ salaries at the school.

Jolly Nyeko has started many things in her life. The first helpline to report child abuse in Uganda. One of the first organizations to help children and families recover from brutal conflict in northern Uganda. A PhD in early childhood development, which she also later finished.

But one thing Jolly Nyeko never meant to start was a school.

“Starting a school was not my idea,” says the founder and director of Holt’s long-time partner in Uganda, Action for Children (AFC), as she stands on the grounds of Jolly Children’s Academy — a primary school at the center of a village called Masulita, located about 20 miles outside of Kampala.

Today is an exciting day at Jolly Children’s Academy, where Holt sponsors have teamed up with local staff to throw a party in celebration of International Children’s Day. Earlier, the 150 children in sponsorship at Jolly Academy gathered in the grassy field between their classrooms to perform songs and dances, open gifts from their sponsors and eat a three-tiered cake with white and purple frosting. They now sit and giggle in groups, drinking soda pop and relaxing on the grounds of the school — a school that was once, but is no longer, Jolly’s farm. Continue reading “They Are Welcome Here”