Earlier this year, I spent several days riding around the district searching for the next community for ATE to work with. We found Biro – a village, an hour from the center of Lawra, inaccessible by car with no electricity, no mobile phone network and extreme poverty.
I was surprised to find a new government Junior High School in the center of the community, a school with 5 extremely dedicated teachers, all who ride over an hour to get to school each morning, and just 12 students. – 10 girls and 2 boys.
In Biro, there are hundreds of teenagers, but instead of going to school, the girls are often married at around 13 years old, and the boys are laboring in the south in horrifying situations which are essentially modern day slavery.
I spent a lot of time at the school talking to the children, and was extremely upset by what I heard. Some families in Biro eat just once every 2 or even 3 days, the children walk as far as 10km to school and spend their holidays working in the south to make a few pounds to buy a school uniform, an exercise book and a pen.
Together, we will change this.
Thanks to funds raised at our recent Auction, ATE is setting up a ‘Hub of Development’ in Biro. This week, we started a feeding program at the school. The 12 children now receive a nutritious daily lunch, a meal that will relieve their hunger and enable them to concentrate at school.
We will now start working with the community to provide essential learning resources like textbooks and uniforms and later this year, we will expand our BizATE program to Biro too. This will give adults an opportunity to set up a small business or learn a vocational skill, a chance to provide income for their families and reduce the need for them to marry their daughters off so young in return for a dowry or to send their boys away to make money.
Thank you to everybody who donated to this project to far. I know that our work will transform Biro, relieving hunger and giving opportunities for the people there to pull themselves out of poverty. It will be life changing.
By Sarah Gardner Albeboure