All Our Children is a small charity run by teachers and retired teachers from London, most of them from William Morris Sixth Form in Hammersmith (WMSF).
It all began in 2001 when a teacher joined WMSF after spending two years in Kigezi High School (KHS), a secondary school in Kabale, South West Uganda (near the border with Rwanda). He encouraged WMSF to set up a partnership with KHS to share ideas for teaching in certain subjects, notably science and art. Later, students at WMSF began to sponsor a very bright KHS student whose father had died, leaving the family unable to pay his school fees.
In 2007 a group of 15 teachers and 12 students from WMSF spent the Easter holidays in Kabale, working with teachers in KHS and participating in sporting and cultural events. We learnt how devoted Ugandans are to gaining a good education, and about the constant struggle families have to find the money for school fees. Education in Uganda is not free, even in the overcrowded government primary and secondary schools. In 2010, we registered the partnership as the charity All Our Children because we had realised the value and, sadly, the necessity of sponsorship in enabling children from poor families or who are orphans to attend school. As a registered charity, we have a greater capacity to raise funds for sponsorships and we benefit from the gift aid the UK government gives on donations from UK taxpayers.
Since 2007, we have organised a visit every year in the Easter holidays. This has always included a group of teachers and often students. All the participants from the UK are volunteers and self-funded. The visit in 2019 was the thirteenth! Over the years, the partnership has developed to include nursery, primary and secondary schools. Whilst in Kabale, the UK teachers help their Ugandan counterparts in the classroom, including use of the Internet to access teaching materials. In recent years, teachers have worked on a training initiative in support of curriculum change in Uganda and in the development of active teaching and learning methodology. Those teachers who are trustees of the charity also spend time meeting all the sponsored children and visiting their schools to monitor their progress. The UK students help in the classrooms but also organise activities for local children. It can be a life-changing experience for them! Nobody goes home untouched after their insight into life for Ugandan children and experiencing their passion for education.
The money we raise goes primarily to pay school fees for very poor children, most from families with barely enough money to feed themselves and very little chance of ever finding the money to send their children to school. We also provide food in school holidays for some of the children and their families and cover any emergency situations that arise, like medical costs. We sponsor 45 children in Kabale and 13 in the Kampala area.
Before the start of every term, we send the money for fees and the children’s essential requirements to a bank account in Uganda set up for this purpose. We have a trusted volunteer in Kampala, Gertrude Atukunda, who receives the money and forwards it to Kabale for our partners there to pay the school fees. On our annual visits we conduct an audit. School fees have to be paid into the schools’ bank accounts in Uganda, and we require receipts for other expenditure (e.g. scholastic materials, clothes and food) so there is a complete record of expenditure for our sponsored children.
Some of our sponsored children have gone on to university and become very successful. One is a doctor, one a lawyer, another a senior nurse, several are teachers, one manages a local tourist hostel and restaurant, and the very first boy we sponsored attained a doctorate in plant technology in 2019 and now lectures at a university. Their dedication and determination is truly inspirational, as is their loyalty to their younger siblings whose school fees they are now able to pay.
You can support All Our Children either by sponsoring an individual in part or in full, or by making donations to help us to fully support all the children we sponsor. There are more details on the page How to Support All Our Children.
Liz Walton OBE (Chair of Trustees of All Our Children)