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The Daughters of Mary and Joseph

Additional information about the congregation 'The Daughters of Mary and Joseph' who founded the Coloma Primary School.

In 1959 the congregation The Daughters of Mary and Joseph -  an international sister order with its origin in Belgium - started a secondary (boarding) school for girls in Western Uganda. That school, one of the better ones in Uganda, has since been transferred to another organization and the congregation started a new school in 2010, the Coloma Primary School, which focuses on primary education. The school has a boarding (boarding) section for girls and is also accessible for boys in daytime education.

The Congregation considers 'education of the whole person' essential;  that is why  there is not only attention for the intellectual development of the child. The children

are also  taught in such matters as home economics, agriculture and all kinds of crafts. And of course there is time for sports and relaxation.....

The Daughters of Mary and Joseph.jpg

......... The Congregation emphasizes educating girls because it has little priority in this traditional environment. In rural areas, girls are often married off as soon as they hit puberty.

Uganda has many orphans as a result of the very many HIV/AIDS victims and other misery. These children often have no chance at all without outside help. That is why our program focuses in particular on them.

Uganda – Mbarara District:


                                                      Uganda, East Africa is located on the equator. The number of inhabitants is estimated at about 35 million people.

                                                      Mbarara is a district in southwestern Uganda, about 300 km from the capital Kampala. About 200,000 people live

                                                      in the city of Mbarara. It is a fertile area where bananas, millet, beans, sweet potatoes and peanuts are grown.

                                                      Quite a bit of livestock is also kept in the area. Many families are large (8 to 10 children) and often very poor.

                                                      And there are relatively many AIDS orphans.

                                                      There is a great need for a good primary school in the district. Illiteracy is widespread. After a thorough preliminary

                                                      investigation in the first decade of this century, the sisters concluded that the need for a school and health facility in this

                                                      area is great. They are now concentrating first on the school, with the possible addition of a small medical aid station later on.

                                                      The school is located near a small airport about 20 km northwest of

                                                      Mbarara town ( Google Earth: 0°33'25.34"S, 30°35'20.44"E)















Mission and Goals:     

Its mission is to support students with a high-quality education in a favorable environment. The aim is to teach them relevant skills for a promising future.

The sisters see this realized in a community in which children receive a unique, high-quality education in which they develop values, standards and competences so that they can (start to) provide for their own livelihood.

The strategic goals of the project are:

  • Offer high-quality education to children, especially girls but also boys (the latter only in day school for the time being)

  • Transferring values, norms and competences to the children, which are relevant in Ugandan society, and with which they can work on their future after completing school.

  • Offer an innovative program of activities to support them in their long-term professional development.

  • Provide employment to the local population; to planners, builders, cleaners, teachers and support staff, among others.

The school is owned by the congregation of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph. The target group for the school is children aged 6 to 13 years. As stated earlier, the emphasis is on girls. The children are largely internal (boarding school), but there is also a day school section for children (boys are also welcome here) from the immediate vicinity of the school.


The project is being implemented in phases. Already in 2003 the congregation bought the piece of land on which the project is being realized. They immediately started creating a safe fence and planting bananas, beans and peanuts. And now the various buildings are being built in phases. The main buildings have been completed and work is now underway on a building with dormitories and a second shelter for teachers and their families.

Lessons have been given since the beginning of 2010 and the first children have now successfully left school. In the nationally compulsory final test for school leavers from primary schools, the “Coloma children” generally score very well and a proportion of the children also continue on to secondary education. The school has built up a very strong reputation and there is already a waiting list for 2018.

The sisters are very aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the project. They mention as strengths that they own the land, have a reputation as good educators, that there is water, and peace. Furthermore, there are many children in the area who yearn for education and the sisters see opportunities to disseminate their knowledge to other school organizations in the area. Main weakness is the constant threat of lack of funds to complete all phases of the construction project. Fundraising in Europe and the USA is therefore an important issue.

Q & A:

If you have any questions or comments, or are interested in participating in our sponsorship program, please feel free to contact us at

Mbarara district Uganda
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