Located in the rural upland village of Busesa, Uganda is a wonderful success story. The Sisters of Notre Dame Immaculate Heart of Mary Province, missioned to proclaim God's Goodness and Provident Care, started a school in 1995 becoming a region of education and hope in the wilds of East Africa. The school campus, located in the “bush” or rural portion of Uganda has 500 students and teachers living together an hour from the nearest paved road. Many things that are taken for granted in developed countries are considered a rare treat or luxury here including clean accessible drinking water, reliable electric source, nourishing food, a fair wage, paved roads or justice for all not just the highest bidder. The Sisters of Notre Dame have created an environment of joyful simplicity, ripe for learning and development.
These religious women are extremely self reliant and independent, living off the resources and opportunities around them. The site is located 4 degrees north of the equator in an elevated region of the country having good soils for farming. The Sisters manage the gardens and live stock as the primary source of food for the 500 faithful they care for daily. Solar power is harnessed for electricity, making evenings and overcast days an even greater challenge. One hundred and eighty rain barrels collect water on the campus for washing clothes, bathing and for purification for drinking.
The Sisters are educators with a long term goal of raising the standard of life for the region. The education program consists of a nursery school, primary school and secondary school for the children of the Kibaale District of East Africa. The St. Julie Nursery School has a current enrollment of 75 students ages 3 to 6. Based on their young age, these students are brought to the school each day. The St Julie Primary Boarding School provides for children in grades P1 to P7 with approximately 40 students per grade. The third level of education is the Notre Dame Academy Senior Secondary School, a high school level with 180 female students currently enrolled. Because of the great distance that these children must travel to attend the school, the primary and secondary level students reside at the school for three months at a time. The tuition is largely subsidized through donations with the student portion often being paid in beans, firewood, bananas, ground corn or labor.
Leading by example, the Sisters instill a work ethic and self respect with the goal of developing responsible generous leaders. The Ugandans’ take great pride in their rich heritage of music and dance which is encouraged and displayed wonderfully at school functions. The Sisters of Notre should be extremely proud of all they are doing to develop the mind, body and soul of the future of Uganda. Women making a difference. Touching hearts and changing lives.
Bayer Becker was humbled to be a part of their site planning and land surveying endeavors.