Charismatic founder-director Muhimbise Elius is Uphill Junior School’s driving force. Elius comes from the local area and his own education was hard-won. As a child, he had to work to fund his education and he has continued to do so. He is a qualified primary school teacher, with additional qualifications in public administration and environmental sustainability.
Since setting up the Uphill Kindergarten 2011, Elius has demonstrated the skills, vision and drive needed to make the Uphill school project a success.
Uphill Junior School has twelve full time teachers plus a headmaster, bursar and school nurse. Each staff member has additional responsibilities alongside his or her teaching duties.
Qualified teachers at Uphill currently earn £60 per month. This is less than the nationally recommended salary and plans are in place to raise the salaries progressively over the next few years. Teachers are also given accommodation and meals, which the school funds from fee income.
School fees are set at an affordable level to encourage families to send their children to school. Orphans are educated for free and fee adjustments are made for families with very little income. Sustainable income is one of the major challenges for the school.
The Uphill Trust pays the staff salaries at Uphill Junior School and will continue to do so until the school can generate the income it needs. This is by far our largest ongoing commitment and we are always looking for new donors who can help us achieve this. Your monthly donation will make a huge difference to the stability of the school and to the lives of the dedicated teaching team.
The quality of teaching has always been good at Uphill, even when year groups had to share classrooms, or squeeze into small rented rooms in the trading centre. The video show some examples of teaching in the early years of the school.
There is more to school life than classroom learning:
Knitting, sewing, weaving and bead work provide an introduction to vocational training skills for the older pupils. Needles and Stitches
Music is important in African culture and the Uphill children love to celebrate with song and dance.
In 2019 Charlie Don, a young man taking a gap year between school and university, travelled out to Uganda with the trustees and ran Shotokan Karate taster sessions for the older primary children.
“The role of The Uphill Trust is to support the school, not to run the school – an approach which is valued by the local community”