MEDFORD — Shannon Jones, a fourth grader at Sacred Heart School here, gave up her money from the tooth fairy to help fund a nursery and school in a remote Ugandan village.
For each dollar students collect or donate for Rubanda Solidarity School, they can staple a paper brick to a bulletin board near Sacred Heart's front door. The board fills up through Lent as students pull money from their piggy banks and hold bake sales. Last year, the school raised $2,000.
"It's an eye-opening experience to see how little kids have in other places," says Barb Busch, the fourth grade teacher who organizes the collection. "They don't have what we have."
Money raised last year paid for new latrines at Rubanda, a village of 5,000 in northern Uganda near the Rwanda border.
The nursery and grade school were begun with the help of Father Dominic Tumusiime, former parish priest in Grants Pass and now administrator of St. Michael Parish in Sandy. The people of Rubanda were hit hard during the HIV outbreak. Many children became orphans or were forced to raise their younger siblings. In 2004, Father Tumusiime, a member of the Apostles of Jesus, worked with Sister Stellamaris Kyasiimire of the Sisters of Our Lady of Good Counsel to start the school to help educate and feed the youths.
The school has grown over the years, with sturdy class buildings and dormitories. There are now 300 students enrolled. Benefactors can sponsor Ugandan children through their years of schooling.