Mr and Mrs Okabbo retired from their jobs as Primary School teachers in Uganda at different stages; Mrs Okabbo in 1982 and Mr Okabbo in 1986 having worked in different areas within the Lango sub region (before the new Districts were created. Although retired, they remained dedicated to work within their communities. For example, Mr Okabbo was a member of the Church Parochial Committee and Choir Master. In Dokolo, both Mr and Mrs Okabbo alongside Sylvesti Tapi (RIP) (Business leader, wholesaler); Joshua Nyanga (retired (head-teacher); Benjamin Onapa (RIP) Business man; Benson Oluk (RIP) Businessman; Stanley Okello (RIP); Nicanori Alal (RIP) Business man; Abinayo Ojok and Kolonario Ower, Business man; were founder members of a dynamic group of people within the Trading Centre who started a group famously known as “Akai idebe” meaning “I harvested in a small tin”. Reflecting the idea that as trading centre dwellers, they had no farms or/gardens, so they would only harvest small amounts (equating to small tins, not granaries or big sacks like other farmers). The name Akai Idebe has developed into a village in the Central Ward within the sub county Dokolo; (in Dokolo District). A fully recognised council unit run by Local Councillors (LCs) who are ranked as LC1, LC2 and LC3.

The Okabbos started a small ‘nursery school’ where they taught children (aged 3 to 5) under mango trees located in their compound. In 2006 there were a total of 52 children on their roll. Although their age groups were diverse, their needs were similar because they were all beginners at learning; inevitably some of the children accelerated faster than others due to their age differences and cognitive abilities. The nursery ran surprisingly well and was very popular because it served some parents as a day care place for their children while they were in their gardens growing food. 

It was unanimously agreed that the area would benefit from a proper Nursery School and therefore a search for a suitable place began. 

It’s important to note that at that point in time, Nursery Education was not compulsory in Uganda; and not a requirement before a child joined Primary School education at the age of 6 especially in village schools. That is why there was some variance in the age range of the children within the nursery. This was a first initiative in the local area of Kwera and has since changed. At present there are many nursery places available for children, including some of the villages.

The Head teacher and Board of Governors of Anwangi Primary School offered land and the family of Mzee Okabbo set about raising funds to build the nursery school. Again friends and colleagues from the UK played a big role in raising over £12,000 pounds to build a two classroom block.

As the building of the nursery school progressed at Anwangi, another Primary School located just 2 miles from it; Aneralibi Primary School was taken on board at the request of St. Andrew’s Church of England (Uxbridge) in the UK for partnership of their two students. This was fruitful and the children from the two schools forged pen-friend partners where they exchanged letters amongst each other. Both schools learnt about their cultural differences, geographical locations, and similarities for example, Staple Foods eaten, sporting events and in particular Football. The children from St A ndrew’s School made much financial and material support to Aneralibi school including:

The Head teacher of Aneralibi Primary School giving an assembly and address to the whole school.

School assembly by the Head teacher of Aneralibi Primary School in Kwera

The pupils, staff and parents of St Andrews:
  • Made clothes and shoes donations to the staff at Aneralibi;
  • Bought a solar panel for the students of Aneralibi;
  • Supplied reading books;
  • Completed two staff houses and
  • Football, Netballs and goal posts.
  • A school album of all school projects/activities performed by the pupils of St. Andrew’s to raise funds for Aneralibi (e.g. Sports Day, School Trips and School Assemblies)
The pupils of Aneralibi benefitted a great deal from the partnership with St. Andrew’s for example:
  • Learnt the culture, curriculum and settings of schools in the UK;
  • Were motivated to work hard and achieve in their learning;
  • Organised a play/drama to explain their school life to their counterparts at St Andrew’s;
  • Had a visit by Reverend Andrew Sheard, Vicar of St Margaret’s & Andrew’s Church, Uxbridge.

The pupils of Anwangi having fun at break time

Pupils of Anwangi Primary School at break time

Books donated to Schools in Uganda by Harlington Secondary School in Hayes, Hillingdon, UK

The back view of the Nursery School in Kwera

The nursery staff, family of Mzee Okabbo on the day they handed over the nursery school to the Head teacher and Board of Governors of Anwangi Primary School. The Nursery School is in the background.

An address to the nursery children, staff: A visit from members of Mzee Okabbo’s family to inspect and hand over the Nursery School to the Head teacher Anwangi Primary School

The Nursery School pupils: Standing are the pioneer graduates of the nursery after 2 years of study. And front row: Squatting is the second group of children enrolled

Sam, one of the pioneer graduates making a speech to express their experiences and gratitude of the Nursery education