Photo courtesy of Aleks Kubin | Byakagaba Lillian and Aleks Kubin pose for a photo in Uganda.

Photo courtesy of Aleks Kubin | Byakagaba Lillian and Aleks Kubin pose for a photo in Uganda.

BHS grad, encourages islanders to help Ugandans purchase textbooks

One Bainbridge High School graduate and Peace Corps volunteer has made it her mission to promote literacy and education in Uganda.

Aleks Kubin knew she wanted to join the Peace Corps back when she was a freshman at Bainbridge High, when her math teacher — Jason Sovick — introduced her to the Peace Corps by presenting his own experiences volunteering in Vanuatu.

Kubin said it seems that day stuck with her, as it was at that moment she realized the volunteer program was the perfect way to combine her desires to help others and also travel.

“I wanted to join the Peace Corps then and there,” Kubin said.

“I was bummed to find out most applicants were expected to have a college degree,” she noted.

Later, as a junior at BHS, Kubin was encouraged by another teacher, David Layton, to pursue teaching as a career, something Kubin said would become a guiding factor for her studies at her university.

Kubin studied history and social studies in hopes of teaching secondary education. She also earned a TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) certification, which she says set her up nicely as a candidate for the Peace Corps.

Kubin’s dream of volunteering for the Peace Corps came to fruition in 2016 when she arrived at Kamurasi, a large public government school in Uganda which serves nursery to primary seven classes, or the equivalent of kindergarten to seventh grade.

The primary goal of Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda, said Kubin, is to “promote literacy through training teachers on literacy teaching techniques, encouraging a reading culture through the building of libraries and national events like DEAR day (drop everything and read) and spelling bee competitions, as well as working directly with pupils to improve their reading and writing skills.”

Kamurasi serves more than 800 pupils and shortly after arriving, Kubin said she noticed the school’s book collection would not be enough for all the students.

“It quickly became apparent that the mismatched collection of textbooks in varying degrees of outdatedness and quantities would not cut it in the classrooms,” Kubin said.

The head teacher at Kamurasi, Byakagaba Lillian, decided to seek outside assistance in purchasing the textbooks for the school. Lillian kicked off a fundraiser through the crowdfunding site Generosity.com in order to raise the $6,300 to supply the school with textbooks.

Kubin said it would take the public school decades to save up in order to meet the $6,300 goal of the fundraiser, but she’s hopeful that perhaps a little hometown exposure might bring a little help their way.

“It’s a big goal, we know, but our hopes are high,” Kubin said.

“In Uganda there is a saying that goes, ‘Bit by bit makes a bundle.’”

Donations can be made online at www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/kamurasi-core-textbook-fundraiser.

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