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A School Supply List for Uganda

Can you believe it’s time to head back to school already? Summer is wrapping up, back to school sales are on, and everyone is gearing up for another great year of learning.


While you’re doing your own school shopping, please consider picking up some extras of these key items for our friends in Uganda:

  • Children's Books

  • No 2 Pencils

  • Chalk

  • Crayons

  • Colored Pencils

  • Pens

  • Markers

  • PE Supplies

  • Notebooks

  • Erasers

  • Paper

  • Pencil Sharpeners

  • Scissors

We’ve worked closely with our Ugandan staff to develop this list, identifying the items that are most needed on the ground. Does it look similar to your own supply list? The right tools for learning are pretty similar all around the world, but some things do look a little different in Uganda.


One thing that probably isn’t on your list is chalk, as most U.S. classrooms now use whiteboards. Almost all our partner schools in Uganda only have chalk boards. On our most recent visit, I saw teachers using the tiniest bits of chalk as they wrote lessons on the board, determined to make each piece last as long as possible.


On the other hand, you might have 3 ring binders on your list, but not on our list for Uganda. Why? Because the standard paper size in Uganda is A4, slightly taller than our 8.5 x 11 paper. Our binders are the wrong size for their needs.


The biggest need of all is books. Children’s books can be difficult to procure in Uganda, and are usually exorbitantly priced. Schools whose budgets are already stretched to the max can’t afford to stock their own libraries; and it is English books in particular that will make the biggest impact in students’ education. Starting in Primary 4 at 9 years old (roughly equivalent to our 4th Grade) English is the language of instruction in Uganda. That means all lessons are given in English and all tests are given in English. But for most of our students, English is their second language. Students study English in earlier grades, but are able to use their native language in class as well. When they reach P4, however, their level of English proficiency can make or break their academic experience, and have drastic impact on their scores on the national exams which are given in English. Access to a wide variety of books in English at various levels is one of the best ways to increase fluency and help our students advance academically.


If you’re out shopping this year, please consider picking up extras of these key items while they’re on sale now. If your student’s school is participating in our program this year, you can hang on to your gifts until collection day. Otherwise, contact us at info@sisterschools.org to arrange drop off. If you don’t have time to shop, you can also make a gift online, which will help as many students as possible with the supplies and support they need to thrive. Thank you for helping our Ugandan friends succeed in school! Every gift you provide is unlocking academic opportunities and changing lives.

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