Most pupils in South-Western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale go by canoes (boats) by themselves to and from school which is very dangerous and deadly. For instance the small canoes usually overturn if they face deadly waves leading to drowning of their very small residents.
Joab Natukunda one of the victim aged seven was a pupil of Bwama Primary school in Kabale district who often rowed her parent’s canoe to and from school on Lake Bunyonyi. At such a younger age she had become an expert rower because in Lake Bunyonyi area all children row boats just like urban children who walk, driven ride bicycle to school.
One day in last July, Natukunda a P.1 pupil who used to travel one and half kilometre journey across Lake Bunyonyi to and from school came into rough waters and that’s where she met her fate. The boat capsized and the young soul drowned which was so shocking for both Natukunda`s parents and the body workers of Bwama Primary School. Natukunda`s body was later found after four days from the depth of the Lake.
Natukunda`s story has become one of the scary narrative deaths by drowning on Lake Bunyonyi although quite a number of children remain at risk because they continue travelling the journey by canoes on Lake Bunyonyi.
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) mobilized over 40 local and international taxpayers to fundraise shs150 million recently in order to make the situation on Lake Bunyonyi right. This money will buy two engine boats to transport children to and from school.
Furthermore these boats will at least each have 50 life jackets which are expected to be enough for all residents every time the boat will be sailing. The acting URA spokesperson Ian Rumanyika encouraged partners to join in and save lives. As stated by Robert Kanyoma the head teacher of Bwama Primary School nearly all the school’s 300 pupils travel on Lake.
Kanyoma also said that with the URA boats, the movement of pupils will be secure and well organised. He added that because of heavy rains of late children miss school because they find it hard to cross on their boats.
Kanyoma said Ensuti Resort proprietors haven so nice and kind enough to provide their better conditioned, safe and covered boat during the rainy season to transport at least 40 children per trip though he said 300 pupils are a big number to travel to and fro on one boat hence the movements take a lot of time and if all pupils use Ensuti Resort boat classes begin very late that is to say past 9am. Basically teachers are unable to cover as much as they should.
URA assistant Commissioner Vincent Seruma Public and Corporate Affairs said the boats will be supplied before the end of this year. He declared this after the formal football match between URA and some of its partners; Stanbic Bank, Total, Ruparellia Group and Uganda National Roads Authority.