Tom Herriman's Journal
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News and Views
Getting Josephine Back in School

Nansana, Uganda Sept. 19
Yesterday I set out to find Josephine Namuwawu, the young woman that Sally Donart, Gretchen's mom and I have been helping with money to pay her school fees. Josephine, 18, is one of three siblings. Their Mom died last year, and the kids kept the house, but have little income except what the 17 year old brother can bring home from casual construction jobs. Josephine and her younger sister Justine have been in school at St. Elizabeth's, but Josephine had to stop going because she had no money for fees. Justine would soon have to drop out because she can't pay this years fees. The fees are about $80 for each three month term plus a little extra for shoes, uniforms etc. I went out to the school, St. Elizabeth's. It's a highly regarded secondary school in Wakiso and most of the graduates go on to university. I asked the head master to help me find Josephine. After interviewing a few of her friends, we found her sister Justine in class. She has a different last name, so the school didn't realize they were sisters. Justine was called out of class me and told us that Josephine was at hoe and didn't have a job. Fortunately the girls live near the school. Justine led me through some dusty back lanes about 1 km away and we found Josephine at home in their neat little two-room brick house. She was actually studying her lessons against the time when she might get back in school. We all trooped back to the school together, and I got Josephine signed up to start class again on Monday. I also learned that Justine hadn't paid fees for this term, and Josephine owed for last term as well. I paid all the outstanding fees, so both girls are back in good standing. There was enough money in Sally's gift to buy the girls some new shoes, to pay for Josephine's last term final exams, and to leave them with a little spending money. I now have good contact with the headmaster, so I'll be able to make sure the girls stay in school.