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Circle of Peace School project is an educational initiative designed to provide kindergarten and elementary education. Currently, the existing location of the school will be unavailable after December 2009 because the school is being evicted from its existing property. As a result, the school is moving all primary school students to the Upper school where they will have to share space until new shelters can be provided for them. The Circle of Peace School is asking for help to start building structures to allow their students to continue their education. Most of their students are orphans, aids victims whose parents have died, and poor children who can't afford to pay for education. Currently there are 105 students in the lower school and 100 in the upper school. With these funds, the school will purchase all the necessary materials to begin building.

Please click on "view my updates" (under the profile picture) to see pictures of the school and read additional commentary. More information about the specifics of the use of funding can be seen in the "Project Impact" category.


In 1991, Joanita received her teaching license from Kibuli Teacher's College, and began teaching at Buganda Primary School. The headmaster came to classrooms calling out names of the students who hadn't paid their tuition. Joanita saw how children were denied education due to their family's inability to pay school fees (tuition). It was heart breaking to see how kids begged to stay another day in class. They even begged the headmaster to clean all classrooms, work in the kitchen and yard, as long as they were allowed to stay in school. As a public school teacher, Joanita was troubled by the fact that some students were being denied an education because their families were too poor to pay school fees. Some of these children lived in her neighborhood and attended her church. That very minute, Joanita was convinced that there was a desperate need to help educate these children, and that she knew that she had to provide the children a second chance. She hid her students in the closet and sometime in the bathroom until the administration discovered what she was doing. She then began teaching the children in the evening after her teaching job. Growing up, her parents always told my siblings and her, "we don't have much money to buy you presents but we're giving you the gift of education."

In 1993, there was a national effort to enroll children in nursery schools. In January 1994, Joanita quit her job and decided to establish a school to teach children who couldn't afford to pay their school fees. Some of Circle of Peace School's students are AIDS orphans. She resolved to invest more time in caring for and developing the young minds of children of poor families and orphans who lost the parents to HIV and Aids. Without the school, these children would have no one to care for them.

Joanita started teaching the children full time on the porch of her parents. With the support of her family and members of the local community, the school first opened its doors for admission in February 1994. Since then, the school has grown tremendously. The school provides for all the comprehensive needs of the children: housing food, clothing, medical care, and emotional support. There is a boy's dormitory and a girl's dormitory at the school, where the orphans and some other students reside. Other children commute from home. All classes were taught in English. Both Christian and Muslim children attend the school, which was open to people of all faiths. The school balances academic and social pursuits, thereby nurturing respectful, hardworking and disciplined individuals. Despite resource constraints, the school produces the highest testing and most well-behaved students in the area.

Rapid growth and development in admissions continue to pressure Joanita to find a place spacious enough to accommodate the growing number of students enrolling as well as meet her goal of adding additional grades 8 through 12.


The alarming rate of enrollment demands the urgent need for a new, bigger, and better building to be equipped with modern technology. A school, in other words, with computers a playground, and recreation center, gymnasium for sporting and other indoor activities, school buses (at least two), library, and a clinic to monitor the health status of the children.

The biggest need at the school is for new classrooms. The temporary classrooms at the Lower School were built 15 years ago, and need to be upgraded. Lamentably, the current landlord has forced the school to vacate the property by the end of December 2009. 100 students will lose their chance at schooling if the school closes down. Plans have been drawn up for a two-story classroom building at the Upper School and approved by the municipality.

Room and board is provided for about 30 students who are either orphans or preparing for their graduation exams. Living at the school allows students nearing graduation to study at night and receive special attention from the teachers. There are seven bunk beds in the girl's dorm and eight in the boy's dorm with two students per bed. A male teacher lives with the boys and a female teacher lives with the girls. The school needs more space for the students who reside at the property where we'll be moving the lower school.

Students who graduate from Peace School often cannot go on to secondary school for lack of funds. For this reason, the School would like to begin offering secondary education. This would require five more classrooms and teachers.

The School would like to have an infirmary stocked with medical supplies available to these students. The School would also like a space where ill boarding students could be cared for so that illness is not spread in the crowded dormitories.

Team Credentials

Joanita Bbaale Senoga founded Peace School in 1993. By the end of 1994, the school name changed to Peace Nursery and Primary School because we registered the school with the ministry of education. The school was incorporated in 2004 as a result of a donation from a individual donor from the US to build bathrooms for students at the school. In 2009, the school was renamed Circle of Peace School and incorporated as a non-profit organization. The school continues to be run by the Bbaale family.

In February 2009, AHEAD Energy staff made a site visit to Circle of Peace School. AHEAD Energy is Rochester New York based nonprofit organization that enables people in developing countries to integrate life-enhancing energy systems into development projects. Their purpose is providing practical energy solutions for school and clinics in Africa. They arranged for construction of a new kitchen and two twin-burner "Rocket Stoves" with chimneys that funnel exhaust outside.

In April 2009, AHEAD Energy installed at Circle of Peace a 1200W solar photovoltaic PV system which turns sunlight into electricity. The current PV system provides enough power to light two of the ten classrooms, the two dormitories, the office and the school yard, and to run a small refrigerator.

In February 2009, Circle of Peace School has established a partnership with Givology which is an effort that began by undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania to enable college students to support children's education efforts in developing countries. At Givology, you can read about 10 students at Circle of Peace School that are being sponsored through Givology. Currently, efforts are underway to establish a Givology Chapter at the University of Richmond.

In May 2009, a Task Force Committee was established at the University of Richmond which consists of UR employees and other interested supporters who are interested in helping the development of Circle of Peace School. They have established four different sub committees'; materials, recruitment, communication and financial development. This summer four University of Richmond students served as volunteers teaching, assisting and working on facility improvement. Each of them paid their airfare and stayed at the school which provided room and board (including meals) for them.

In October 2009, Harvie Elementary School started a pen pal program with fourth graders. Students will correspond with each other at least three times during the school term by writing letters and sending cards to each other. Both schools will educate their students about the countries the students are writing from to make it a cultural experience as well.


  • Peace School Project Update

    In December, two members of the Givology team had a chance to visit the Peace School as volunteers to assist with the relocation of the Lower Campus and to document the project progress to share with you, our community. As we had too many updates, photos, stories, and videos to share, we created a separate site that chronicles our day-by-day experiences at the Peace School. Through this site, you can read a detailed blog post for each day that we spent at the Peace School by clicking on the link at the lower right hand corner of each expanded thumbnail, and our experiences of taking down the Lower Campus and rebuilding the structures at the Upper Campus. The youtube video below explains the basics of this site. Click here to go to the site to view the project update .