Our Past and Our Future

Looking back...
Looking back...

Our Australian founding director, Marita Simpson first started working in Buliisa in 1999. She began teaching expatriate children whose parents were involved recording the Lugungu language, and Bible translation. She did this for 18 months.

In early 2009, after working for other projects across Uganda, and teaching in Australia, she returned to Buliisa to start a nursery school (kindergarten) for local children. With the backing of an Australian and a Ugandan board, Amari Community Development was registered as an NGO (non-government organisation) in both Australia and Uganda.  In 2010 Amari purchased ten acres of land in Kisiabi, Buliisa, and in 2013 the community allowed the purchase of a further adjacent 30 acres.

Our first class (Lower Nursery) began in May, 2011, and those students are now in S4 (Senior 4, or fourth year of High School).  

The Amari-Gardiner Nursery and Primary School is named after Ken and Dorothy Gardiner (Life 4 Kids), who donated the funding for the first classroom. They chose to donate when Amari was basically still a dream. It was not yet registered in Uganda, had no land, and no children. It was this donation that helped keep the vision, and Marita’s faith in God’s calling, alive during the very frustrating first few months of trying to get Amari off the ground and registered.

Now the land has been titled, the Nursery and Primary school registered, and the secondary and boarding licenced and in the process of registration.

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Looking forward...
Looking forward...

Amari is growing at the rate of one class a year. Currently (in 2024) our oldest class is Senior 4. Each year we add a new class at Lower Nursery.

Now that the primary school is established and stable, our focus is on completing secondary buildings, building permanent dormitories for our secondary and P7s students to live onsite, and building more staff accommodation. We are also further developing the land and establishing some gardens.

Another long term goal is to also put a vocational school on the property. We would like all our secondary students to do at least one vocational subject, as the Ugandan youth unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world. In 2015 there was only 90,000 job places available for 400,000 university graduates – meaning 83% of graduates would be without employment.

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