Through the Worldwise Development Organisation, Douglas Community School is twinned with Cardinal Nsubuga Secondary School in Jinja, Uganda. The project began last year with teachers from both schools visiting each other in an exploratory visit. This process was continued this year when Mr Ger McNamara and Mr Allan O’Loughlin visited Cardinal Nsubuga Secondary school for six days during the Feburary Mid-Term Break.
The visit itself was a great success and was a very educational and enlightening experience for all involved. The staff and pupils of Cardinal Nsubuga were very excited about our visit and the work and preperation that they had put in to developing our itinerary for our week there was a perfect illustration of this.
The week began with a meeting with the Principal, Rita, and an indepth discussion on our itinerary for the week and how we saw the week helping our individual schools to achieve the goals that had been set out last year. This was followed by an official school welcome by the staff and students which was a very touching and humbling experience with a number of students speaking of the importance of the twinning of their school with Douglas Community School and the benefits that they are deriving from it. Rita then took us on a tour of the school where we saw the clasrooms, dorms, showers, toilets, etc., which was a real eye-opener for us both.
The week progressed very quickly with debates being organised for the following day which illustrated the high quality of education in the school; the fluency of the students’ English was a big surprise. We also observed some classes in English and Geography later in the day where we were again surprised with the standards reached by the students despite their obvious lack of resources.
During the rest of the week we met with the local bishop to discuss education in the area and his opinions on how Douglas Community school could best aid Cardinal Nsubuga Secondary school. We also met with other important people in the area including the founder of the school Fr Charles and Dr Margo O’Sullivan who is working for UNICEF in Uganda.
On our final day Mr Macnamara treated the 5th year students to a lesson on Technical Graphics which is a subject that is not currently taught in the school. Once again the students surprised us showing an amazing aptitude for the subject with a great desire to learn and understand the concepts involved. Mr Macnamara got so carried away that his class ran 25 minutes over his allotted time and he pretty much had to be physically removed from the classroom in the end.
Our trip concluded with a whole school assembly and the traditional Ugandan gift giving cermony where we presented the school with a selection of presents ranging from footballs and sweets to mechanical drawing sets, as well as making a large monetary donation to the school from the fundraising carried out by the staff and students of Douglas Community School over the past two years.
Having said our farewells we began our 20 hour journey home to Cork where we are now continuing to work at strengthening our links with Cardinal Nsubuga Secondary School while anxiously awaiting the return visit of our Ugandan Counterparts early next year.