St. Ursula Special School is one of the projects of the Sisters of Mary in Uganda; like many groups, organizations and individuals who work with people with disabilities, the Sisters of Mary for a long time have worked and cared for children with various disabilities e.g. visual impairment, hearing impairment and physical impairment but not children with mental impairment. These categories of children are given minimal attention at home, community and schools due to their inability to reason. The Sisters of Mary are taking the responsibility of seeing those children with special needs and disabilities have better standards of living by enabling them to have the required training. This will enhance positive living thereby promoting their talents and abilities.
The Sisters of Mary in Consultation with the community, stakeholders and the Bishop of the Diocese of Jinja, Rt. Rev. Joseph Willigers, designed a project to take care of the needs of children with mental impairment (slow Learners) in Eastern Uganda in general and Jinja district in particular. The school opened in July 2004 using the rented premises in Jinja town. The school started with four children but the number has risen to 40 and more children who have registered but due to our limited facilities e.g. classrooms, learning materials, and long distance, cannot allow them to admission. Due to shortage of space in the rented premises, the Sisters of Mary solicited funds and bought a 10-acre land in Wanyange – Musima village where we have erected temporary structures for classrooms, kitchen, pit latrines and bathrooms to be used by the children, which are inadequate and not disability friendly.
HISTORY OF THE SISTERS OF MARY
The Congregation of the Sisters of Mary is an indigenous Congregation of religious women founded in 1932 by Bishop Brandsma, a Mill Hill Missionary and the Bishop of Kisumu diocese then. The Congregation was founded in the present Kakamega diocese in Kenya. It spread out and has communities many Catholic Diocese in Kenya and 12 Communities in different Catholic Diocese in Uganda and these are Archdiocese of Tororo, Moroto Diocese, Diocese of Jinja, Diocese of Kotido and Kampala Archdiocese.
In the Diocese of Jinja, the Sisters of Mary have two Communities namely Buswale Convent and Musima Convent. The latter convent was opened for the purpose of taking on a new Apostolate namely to care for and train children with mental impairment within Jinja district, and that how St. Ursula Special School has come to existence.
As mentioned above, the Sister of Mary has actively served the children and young adults with special needs. It is part of our Ministry; we want to share with you as follow;
† St. Philomena Primary School for the Deaf, Budadiri
† St.AngelaPrimary School for the Blind, Magale
† Butiru Rehabilitation Home for the Physically Handicapped
† St. Ursula Special School for the Mentally challenged
† St. Angela Mumias Secondary Vocational School for deaf and deaf Blind Girls
† St. MartinMumiasPrimary School for the deaf
† St.AnthonyPrimary school for the Deaf
† Oriang Rehabilitation Home for the Physically handicapped