Our Past and Our Future
Looking back .......
Our Australian founding director, Marita Simpson first started working in Buliisa in 1999. She began teaching expatriate children whose parents were involved recording the Lugungu language, and Bible translation. She did this for 18 months.
In early 2009, after working for other projects across Uganda, and teaching in Australia, she returned to Buliisa to start a nursery school (kindergarten) for local children. With the backing of an Australian and a Ugandan board, Amari Community Development was registered as an NGO (non-government organisation) in both Australia and Uganda. In 2010 Amari purchased ten acres of land in Kisiabi, Buliisa, and in 2013 the community allowed the purchase of a further adjacent 30 acres.
Our first class (Lower Nursery) began in May, 2011, and those students are now in S1 (Senior 1, or first year of High School). (See right for a visual history)
The Amari-Gardiner Nursery and Primary School is named after Ken and Dorothy Gardiner (Life 4 Kids), who donated the funding for the first classroom. They chose to donate when Amari was basically still a dream. It was not yet registered in Uganda, had no land, and no children. It was this donation that helped keep the vision, and Marita's faith in God's calling, alive during the very frustrating first few months of trying to get Amari off the ground and registered.
Looking forward .......
Amari is 'growing' at the rate of one class a year. Currently (in 2020) our oldest class is Senior 1. Each year we add a new class at Lower Nursery.
Our long-term plans are to:
- Begin a secondary school in 2020 (our oldest class are now Senior 1 students)
- Begin a boarding school (for our P7 and secondary (Senior) students)
- Begin a vocational school
(We would like all our secondary students to do at least one vocational subject, as the Ugandan youth unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world. In 2015 there was only 90,000 job places available for 400,000 university graduates - meaning 83% of graduates would be without employment.)
- Develop areas of the property for crops and livestock development
- Build a school hall which will also double as an exam room for our Senior students (this has been completed in mid-2020 and is now in use)
Photo right - site plan produced early 2015 (click to enlarge, then click on the right-hand top corner to enlarge again)