The Name Gwakabbo is derived from the names of two people, father and son; who inspired the building of the school and in whose memory the school is being built. Ogwal (son) and Okabbo (father).
GWAKABBO School Project was an idea which was first considered by Mr Charles Dandas Ogwal (RIP) in 2006 following an initiative by Mzee Absalom Okabbo (RIP) his father who built a church and started a Nursery School on the church grounds in the small village of Kwera.
The Trustees and family of Absalom Okabbo unanimously agreed that examples of previous charitable small projects achieved over the years by the commitment of the family for the communities be published to highlight their dedication to carry out projects to completion. These are chronicled in the following paragraphs to paint a story and history of what has now translated into a school project.
Charles Dandas Ogwal, (lovingly known by all his close friends and family as C.D.) worked as an accountant with the Ugandan Export Promotion Board. He was very determined to start a school that would enable many deprived children a better quality education. Having studied in different Districts: Lira (Lira Town College for O-level), Gulu (Sir Samuel Baker for A-level), Tororo St. Peter’s College (final year of A level) and Pakwach (Uganda College of Commerce) to pursue his Business Administration Management course, C.D. realised very early on that proper schooling would be ideal for the under privileged children in the local area.
His widowed wife Beatrice explained why he wanted to build the school in a few words and said, “For the school, I recall C.D. wanted to build a vocational school to help the community. He tried to purchase land at Atur, but some of the co-owners were not willing to sell and he died before securing an alternative location. He had started working on the plan and had also written a project proposal. He met the local leaders to try to gain their support”.
We acknowledge here that the Motto (With God All Things are Possible) and image of a Dove was originally chosen by C.D. and to pay tribute to him and his memories, we have kept them in place with some additions from us.
Father and son were both committed to the success of individuals through access to school education. GWAKABBO is the result of the foundation they laid as early as 1986, following the abandonment of their retirement home at Dokolo; and relocation at Kwera, Oyeng-opere village to start up a brand new home, church and nursery project. After the military coup that ousted the UPC Government in 1986, Mzee Absalom Okabbo lost his eldest son James Wacha, who was shot and killed by soldiers fleeing the war. The retired Mzee had to quickly abandon his retirement home in Dokolo with all his family and set up a new home approximately 20 miles away in a village called Oyeng-opere in Kwera.
As a devout Christian, Mzee started leading prayers at his home with his family as there was no church in the vicinity. Eventually his prayer style transformed into the creation of a full church – “Obanga Tye Kabedo Ducu” (translated in English, “God is Present Everywhere”); which he handed over to Lango Diocese of the Church of Uganda.
Similarly, as avid retired teachers, both Mzee Absalom Okabbo and his wife Rachel Okabbo saw the need to teach young children who were below the Primary School Age entry –nursery education. Subsequently, they started the first Nursery School in the village which grew; became a well-recognised Nursery school and is attached to a local primary school.