Our vision is to create schools and teacher teams capable of transforming the education and welfare of young people in Uganda so they acquire the necessary skills for a successful and fulfilling future.

Education in Uganda is highly valued by those teachers and students who work hard to achieve the best results they can. However, school buildings and equipment are often little more than wooden shacks and a stick of chalk. Through building and equipping high-quality facilities for schools, while promoting the professional development of teachers and working with all staff towards achieving the school vision, we are an example of best practice that other schools in the Jinja area can aspire to. The JET Education Programme empowers students to achieve their full potential by gaining academic or vocational qualifications and developing key skills and character strengths.

With many years’ experience working in the Jinja District and beyond, we continue to develop a successful model that has a visible impact and consistently delivers results. It is overseen by a team of trustees based in UK who visit Jinja regularly and have constant contact with the JET Country Manager; Lorna (scroll down to read full bio) is resident in Jinja and leads a strong and creative local team who are actively involved in running and monitoring projects as well as identifying new ones.

Fundraising is a key part of our work and we hold events to raise awareness and financial assistance. We are extremely grateful to our hugely supportive network of schools, businesses, sponsors and volunteers. Without them, we would not be able to provide ongoing development for everyone in our schools and children’s homes as well as their communities. It is vital that we are able to offer such continuity and dependability to so many vulnerable young people.

JET Strategy

As JET trustees, we have travelled to Uganda numerous times over the past few years. We meet regularly to discuss ongoing and potential new projects and actively engage the local team in our planning. We are all volunteers and all our trips are self-funded.

Jon Symonds, Chairman

Jon has many years’ experience in the corporate world and in particular in the pharmaceutical industry having been CFO of AstraZeneca and Novartis.

Sue Symonds

Sue, together with Tessa, is responsible for the day to day running of the Trust and the fundraising. She travels to Uganda the most frequently and is the link between our people and projects around Jinja and our supporters in UK and elsewhere.

Tessa Douch

Tessa, together with Sue, is responsible for running the Trust as well as fundraising. She travels to Jinja as often as she can and helps connect our UK supporters with the team in Jinja.

Sally Funnell

Sally is a teacher and Early Years Education specialist, who has taken teaching groups out to Uganda. She coordinates the teaching support we offer in Jinja and has also provided online coaching and training direct to the local JET teacher team.

Smita Ganatra

Smita is a Dietitian with extensive experience in health service management. She was born in Uganda and spent her early years in Jinja and now visits regularly to oversee Trust projects. Smita’s interest is in empowering children through education with focus on food provision in schools. Her role is to provide support to local teams on nutritional issues as well as working with Sue on fundraising for the Trust.

Jacqui Onslow

Jacqui is a senior school textiles and food and technology teacher who oversees vocational and senior school education for the young people and schools we work with.

JET - Lorna Barker

Lorna Barker

With a background as a project manager in energy trading, Lorna decided to switch from corporate life to a development focus and from Europe to Africa. She then spent a few years designing and implementing education and health programmes in Zambia before moving from Lusaka to Jinja to join JET as Country Manager in July 2019.

With a hands-on, people-centred approach, Lorna enjoys the challenge of combining the management of daily operations with a longer term strategic outlook. She is keen to strengthen and grow the organisation as well as develop the local team in Uganda. “I have a deep-rooted desire to see all children, regardless of where they are and no matter what their background is, have a chance to go to school. It’s definitely passion that drives me forward and makes the whole team perform to the best of our ability. We all work together as a wonderfully cohesive unit towards the provision of quality education in every JET school.”

The multiple issues created by the Corona crisis on both a local and international level were seen by many purely as an obstacle to achieving goals. Instead, Lorna saw the situation as an opportunity to take stock and consider new ways of working. “It’s important to see the positives wherever possible and if necessary dig deep to find them. In 2020, our teachers and children needed us more than ever and I’m proud of how the team rose to the challenge of providing them with all the support we could. It’s been an exciting time too: creativity can come from crisis and I’m looking very much to our long term future now.”

Ezra Muyinda

Ezra joined JET as our Resource Centre Manager in January 2018. Assisted by a librarian, he is responsible for the smooth running of the Centre’s daily operations, ensuring training and other activities all take place as planned. Ezra manages the JET Examination Board as well as teaching IT and holding other training sessions for Resource Centre users. A gifted artist, he puts his talents to use designing and drawing motivational educational images and messages on the walls of our classrooms and other facilities.

Ezra lost his mother when he was only a year old and later moved to USA with his African American stepmother where he spent his childhood years before relocating back to Uganda where he’s now happily married with a baby daughter. “My exposure to two different world cultures was a great advantage for me. It taught me how to easily blend in and adapt to any environment. I got my certification of IT from Bethel Training Institute and later pursued a diploma in IT with Atlantic International University online. Due to my love and desire for learning, I am still working on expanding my IT knowledge.”

Ezra says his heart is fulfilled by working in an educational environment where he can develop his talents. “I enjoy working at organizations that make a difference in other’s lives, so am thrilled to be part of the JET staff and to help JET further its mission to bring quality education to as many children as possible.”

Teacher T

You might ask: ”Why Teacher T?” And T will tell you: “well, T is for Taubah and some find that a bit difficult to pronounce!”
Teacher T has been JET’s Early Learners Assessment Manager since 2018. Before that she was teaching in our Homework Club at SonRise Children’s Home so she’s been with JET for many years. She’s mainly occupied with assessing our nursery pupils’ skills in subjects like phonics, Maths and writing and running our team of assessment teachers, while also guiding and training our ECD teachers.

Married and a mother to four, Teacher T grew up with her single mum and four brothers. “Life was not easy. Mum is a farmer and had too little money to put all of us through school so I had to stop in early secondary. I later did a certificate in nursery teaching. I really love children so I’m very grateful my position with JET has given me the opportunity to work and share my time with so many of them!”

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