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Our Partnership e, the Cotton On Foundation, have partnered with The Ducere Foundation, an organisation who work with local governments and other Foundations with the desire to improve the quality of public education right across Africa.

The collaborative program developed over 12 months together focuses on specifically developing the creative writing skills of teachers from Primary 6-7 and Senior 1-2 and also groups of students from each year level. The initial master class was rolled out across five villages that we partner with in Southern Uganda, including Mannya, Busibo, Namabaale, Kyalulangira and Nabbunga. Students were inspired from hearing stories from Ducere’s other Ugandan collections from children their own age. The group then created impromptu stories together, with each participant having an opportunity to add their own section to the story. The sessions encourage students to pull inspiration from their own imagination, stories from real life and to listen and document stories from their elders. Skills such as story structure, story creation framework, descriptive skills, creating characters and scene setting were also taught. After only a short few weeks of developing their skills, over 1000 personally written stories were collected. From there, the best stories were selected for publication in this very collection, filling four books! We couldn’t be more proud of the incredible standard and effort put into each and every story making up this collection, and we thank Ducere for partnering with us on this incredible initiative!


A message from Ducere

ucere is a social enterprise that delivers education initiatives in Australia and Africa. The Ducere Global Business School partners with universities, innovative organisations and global leaders to be the most student-focused and industry-relevant business school in Australia. Our higher education programs fund the publishing, school development and mentorship work of the Ducere Foundation, which provides unique learning and leadership opportunities in over 17 African nations through stories. We invite you to read these stories and share them with your families.

Mathew Jacobson Founder

Executive Director Di Fleming, Founder and Director Mathew Jacobson and Ducere Global Leader Hon. Julia Gillard, celebrating a book launch at Zandspruit Primary School, South Africa.


Thank you to the following authors

Twinomuhangi Felex

Naggayi Doreen

Ssegujja Raegan

Nakivumbi Teddy Hilder

Nabulya Moreen

Ssenugooma Simon Peter

Kabagambe Wilson

Benywanira Hillary

Lubowa Emmanuel Titan

Namuli Juliet Hirembe

Nazziwa Kausalah

Naluyombya Angel Keishah

Stories collected from Cotton On Foundation primary schools, in Lwengo and Rakai Districts, Southern Uganda Editor: Writers Reign Senior Graphic Designer: Julia Boonzaier Country Coordination by Cotton On Foundation: Amon Rugira, Deogratias Ntezumukiga and Lucy Najjingo.


A hare and a crocodile.................................................... 07 Work in our village............................................................ 08 The wise old man........................................................... 09 Nine brothers................................................................11 A good family................................................................13 Market days.......................................................................14 All that glitters is not gold................................................15 Chiku the parrot.................................................................16 My friend Madada...............................................................17 Roadblock..........................................................................18 The snail and the caterpillar................................................19 My beautiful bird............................................................... 20 The woman who couldn’t cry............................................... 22 Cotton On Foundation.....................................................24 06

Collection 45 – Uganda

A hare and a crocodile

by Twinomuhangi Felex, 14 years, St Bernard Secondary School, Mannya


long time ago a hare and a crocodile lived as one family. One day, they were invited to attend a party together. On the way there, the hare said to the crocodile, “We should eat from the same plate. This promotes friendship.” The crocodile agreed. They reached the party where they were welcomed. After a short time food was served and the hare told the crocodile, “We should go and wash our hands.” So they went and washed their hands. As they started to eat, the hare told the crocodile he should wash his hands again. The crocodile went and washed his hands again, leaving the hare to eat. The crocodile took a long time. Meanwhile the hare ate all of the food by himself. When the crocodile returned he saw the empty plate. The hare laughed at him and the crocodile felt sad. The crocodile realised that the hare was not his friend after all. From that day on, he went to live in the river by himself.


African Children's Stories

Work in our village

by Naggayi Doreen, St Timothy Primary School, Kyalulangira


n my village there lives a very skilled craftsman named Mpolampola, who makes all sorts of objects, such as large, round pots and plates, big, long drums and neat, smooth cups. Sometimes he makes carvings and sculptures. He has a stall on the side of the road where he sells his products. All his pieces are bought very quickly because they are attractive. His wife knits and every fortnight she makes a sweater and two scarves. She also makes patchwork cushions and puts all her work on the stall for sale. Everyone who passes by admires the beautiful crafts and many of them stop to buy a piece for themselves. Lots of people now know about Mpolampola’s beautiful craft stall and come from near and far to buy crafts. Some give Mpolampola big orders, which he normally takes a month to fill. Mpolampola gets a lot of money from his hard work and his wife and children live a happy life. During the holidays their children help make and sell some of the crafts. This enables the family to take bigger orders for more people. Mpolampola’s industry has expanded over the years and he now employs many young men and women.


Collection 45 – Uganda

The wise old man

by Ssegujja Raegan, 14 years, St Francis Littlebird Primary School, Namabaale


nce upon a time there was a poor old man named Jacob, who lived in a small hut in a village. After the death of his wife he was alone, as he did not have children.

Even though Jacob was old, he was healthy and strong. He was always busy helping his neighbours in one way or another, and in return they would give him things. He liked children very much and whenever he was free he would share stories with the local children. This made him very popular amongst them and they addressed him as ‘Baba’. One day when he was sitting alone in his hut he thought to himself, “Day by day I am getting older and older. Soon I will die.” Suddenly Jacob had an idea and started nodding his head with a smile on his face. He murmured, “It’s wonderful! It’s wonderful! I must do it.”


African Children's Stories

The following day Jacob gathered all the children of the village together and said to them, “Whenever you eat your fruit don’t throw away the seeds. Please bring them to me.� So the children started bringing their seeds to him. They brought him the seeds of mango, pawpaw, orange, plum and many other fruits. After drying them for a few weeks, he planted all the collected seeds close to his hut. He asked the children to help build a fence around the planted seeds to ensure that they were protected from any predators. When the rains arrived, he was very happy to see the seedlings starting to grow into fruit trees. After another two or three rainy seasons the people were excited to see different types of trees growing on both sides of the road. Everyone, young and old, who travelled along the road stopped to rest under the shade of these trees and to eat some of the fruit. While eating these fruits they would praise Jacob for his humble work. One day Jacob was no more, but the trees were there to tell the story of the wise old man. Through this, Jacob became immortal.


Collection 45 – Uganda

A good family

by Nabulya Moreen, 13 years, St Jude Primary School, Nabbunga


y name is Nabulya Moreen. I am 14 years old and live with my parents. I have two brothers and two sisters at home. I go to St Jude Primary School. My dad works at Mulago Hospital in the Kampala district. He is a very good man because he takes care of us well and gives us the right things. He sometimes calls us in when we do the wrong things and guides us, but all in all he is the best. My mum sells food like cassava, matoke and many other items, all at the front of our house. She takes care of us and makes sure that we don’t lack anything. I love my parents so much and they love me. My brothers and sisters attend the same school. We wake up very early in the morning so we can finish our housework in time and avoid arriving to school late. My family is very happy and I am happy. I have a wonderful family.


African Children's Stories

Nine brothers

by Nakivumbi Teddy Hilder, 14 years, St Nicholas Primary School, Mannya


nce there were nine brothers who lived in Senafe. They were all foolish boys. They lived with their mother in a small house. When a war began between their country and a neighbouring one the nine boys decided to join the army. Their mother said to them, “My sons, you must be careful. If you stay together, you will be safe. If you are separated, you will be hurt.” They promised to stay together. Each brother took some clothes and food, and off they went to fight. After an hour, the eldest brother stopped and said, “Let’s see if we are all here. Our mother told us to stay together.” He counted the brothers, but he forgot to count himself.

Collection 45 – Uganda

“Oh no, this is terrible! We are already missing someone,� he said to his brothers. He counted again, and again there were only eight brothers because he forgot himself. Each brother counted too, but each of them forgot to count themselves. The boys fought for their country, which was successful in defeating their neighbour. After the war, the boys decided to come back home, sorrowful because they had lost one brother. They did not know how to break the news to their mother, so they asked her to count them as she did before. When she counted her sons, the mother got the exact number that went off to the war and started celebrating. The sons celebrated too, but in great fear that their mother would soon find out about the missing son. From that day on the brothers always stayed together so that their mother did not realise the loss of one of her sons.


African Children's Stories

Market days

by Ssenugooma Simon Peter, St Timothy Primary School, Kyalulangira


very Wednesday there is a big market where people go to buy and sell different items. It is held in a football ground along the road to Kibaale Town.

Sellers come from Masaka with items packed and loaded on lorries. The buyers also come from the villages around Kibaale Town. The sellers bring many items, ranging from safety pins to big animals like cows. Market days are very enjoyable, especially at the end of the month when people have received their salaries. The farmers sell produce. The carpenters sell furniture. The herdsmen sell animals. The fishmongers sell fish. The tailors sell clothes. The butchers sell meat. The ironmongers sell saucepans. It is a big day for shopping. Nearly everything is sold there. Those who sell cheap things make a lot of money, but those who sell expensive things sell only a few items. By late afternoon the whole place is very crowded and dirty. In the evening all the sellers and buyers happily leave until the next Wednesday.


Collection 45 – Uganda

All that glitters is not gold

by Naggayi Doreen, xx years, St Timothy Primary School, Kyalulangira


nce upon a time Tingasiga, one of the village boys, went hunting in the forest. On the way he met a beast, which ran after him but did not catch him. “I will catch up with you one day,” said the beast. “I’ll disguise myself as something that looks strong and attractive to trick you,” the beast swore. Later on that day, as Tingasiga was wandering through the market place, he saw a very smart walking stick. He wanted to buy it but he remembered the warning the beast had made so he abandoned the idea immediately. As he was walking towards a neighbouring village, he saw a beautiful white goat. He wanted to buy it but remembered the beast’s warning. Again, he abandoned the idea. As Tingasiga was walking home one fine afternoon, he came across a very pretty young girl. The girl’s face charmed him and he immediately fell in love with her. He completely forgot the warning the beast had given him. Tingasiga took the girl to his home and introduced her to his family. They were all happy to meet the pretty young girl. They also reminded him of the beast’s warning, but Tingasiga only had the girl’s beauty on his mind. Later that evening after dinner, the girl changed into the beast and attacked Tingasiga. The alarmed Tingasiga woke up the entire neighbourhood with his screams and the whole village came rushing to help him. The neighbours and relatives killed the beast, and from that day on Tingasiga was warned to always be careful because sometimes things are not what they seem.


African Children's Stories

Chiku the parrot

by Kabagambe Wilson, St Joseph Primary School, Busibo


hiku the parrot lived in a mango tree where he had made a nice nest. Chiku was a lovely and intelligent parrot. Not only did he have a sweet voice but he also had a natural gift. He could make the same sounds as many other creatures, such as a crying child, a person coughing, a dog barking and the singing of other birds. It was a great pleasure to hear him and everyone who passed by that mango tree was pleased to stop and listen. One day during the hot summer Chiku was very thirsty and decided to fly around in search of water. Unfortunately, he could not find any and he knew he could not last much longer without water. He had flown for a long time and was very tired so he decided to sit on a tree branch and rest. While he was sitting there he saw a pot of water under the tree. He flew down to it and drank as much water as he could. After that he had enough energy to fly back to his own nest where he continued to sing for all who passed by the mango tree.


Collection 45 – Uganda

My friend Madada

by Benywanira Hillary, St Timothy Primary School, Kyalulangira


here was once a 14-year-old boy named Madada who had two sisters and a brother, and who lived with his parents in town and went to day school. When he reached primary five his father took him to a boarding school. On the first day he was very surprised to find gardens in the school compound. When Madada reached primary six he joined the Gardening Club. Students in this club grew different crops at school such as cabbages, tomatoes and onions. The other members liked Madada because he was hardworking. After one year they elected him as club head. He felt very happy and promised to help other members develop their skills in agriculture. When the term ended Madada asked his father to allow him to travel back to the village. Madada’s father didn’t know why his son would want to spend the two months of his holiday in the village. Little did he know that while he was there Madada prepared a garden and planted cabbages. The time came for Madada to go back to school for a new term. His cabbages had not matured yet for harvesting, so he left his garden in his grandmother’s care. The cabbages were harvested while Madada was at school and his grandmother sold them for 80,000 shillings. She kept the money and gave it to him the following holidays. He used the money to buy a goat, which produced two kids. Madada hopes to get a cow from trading his goats in the future.


African Children's Stories


Lubowa Emmanuel Titan, xx years, St John Baptist Secondary School, Busibo


ne day when I was at school my parents called my grandmother and asked her to look after me while I had my school break. There was one more week of school left and my grandmother agreed to take me in after that.

Days passed and soon the exams were finished. By the time I got back home with my good report, my grandmother had already packed my belongings while she waited for my parents. When they arrived we took off to Kampala City.

As we were going along we came across a large roadblock. My mother was surprised at the traffic congestion. A man came by in his car and tried to pass us, but the traffic officer caught him and told him to get out of the car. The policeman asked the man to blow into the breath tester that detects alcohol. He tried to resist but the policeman caught him and again asked him to blow into the tester. He resisted again and the policeman became angry, insisting that he do the test. In the end the man was caught driving while he was drunk. Shortly afterwards the traffic began to move more quickly. The policeman checked our car and told us that we were free to go. We made it to Kampala and my holidays with my grandmother began.


Collection 45 – Uganda

The snail and the caterpillar

by Namuli Juliet Hirembe, 13 years, St Bernard Secondary School, Mannya


nce upon a time in Kesesa district there lived Mr Snail and his neighbour Mr Caterpillar.

One day when Mr Snail went to the garden to harvest his crops he found that they had been stolen. He was very worried that he would have no food during the coming dry season. He noticed that Mr Caterpillar’s garden was full of food. The next month arrived and it was the time of drought. Mr Snail felt very hungry and had no idea how to get food. Mr Snail knew that Mr Caterpillar had cooked a pot full of porridge and he decided to steal some while Mr Caterpillar was harvesting his crops. Unfortunately, he fell into the pot and immediately started shouting, “Help! Help! Please help me!” Mr Caterpillar heard the call and ran back home to see what had happened. He found Mr Snail in his porridge and he asked, “What are you doing in my porridge?” “Well, well,” Mr Snail stammered. “First help me and then I will explain.” As soon Mr Snail was out of the pot, he sprinted home never to return. That is why there is hatred between snails and caterpillars.


African Children's Stories

My beautiful bird

by Nazziwa Kausalah, xx years, St Timothy Primary School, Kyalulangira Let me tell you my story about my beautiful bird. We have a beautiful bird in our country. It is called the crested crane. It is peaceful. It is humble. It is gracious. It has all the three colours of the Uganda national flag. It is black in colour. It is yellow in colour. It is red in colour.

African Children's Stories

The woman who couldn’t cry

by Naluyombya Angel Keishah, xx years, St John Baptist Secondary School, Busibo


n a certain village there lived a rich old man called Okara. He was wise and clever and known as the father of the village. He appeared to be able to control the rain, foretell the future and cure diseases. People loved this old man so much that they obeyed him without question. One day, when everyone in the village had gone off to work in the fields, the old man died. The women had brought food to his hut in the evening as usual. They put the food on a bench inside the door and went away. Three hours later, when they came to collect the dishes to wash, they found that the food had not been touched. They were very upset and worried if someone had offended the old man. They went to the village elders to tell them that the food they had left had not been eaten. The elders went to the old man’s hut and found him lying dead in his bedroom. The chief called a meeting and told the people that their beloved Okara had died. No one believed he had died of old age. They all thought someone had poisoned him or someone’s ancestors had willed him to die.


Collection 45 – Uganda

They tried to find out the truth, but there seemed to be no way of telling how or why he died. Finally, they arranged a big funeral. Everyone mourned his death and large tears of grief rolled down their cheeks. There was a general belief in the village that anyone who mourned for a dead person, but had no tears, was responsible for their death. So the villagers were very suspicious when they saw one woman at the funeral who shed no tears at all. The woman soon realised that people suspected her of the old man’s death. She was not guilty but she knew she must prove it. She could not cry because there was something wrong with her eyes and no matter how hard she grieved tears would not fall. When she saw everyone was looking at her, she rushed into her house, dipped her fingers into a pot containing a liquid and put some on her cheeks. Now it happened that her husband had been to collect some blood from his cattle and had put it into the pot. It was dark in the hut and the woman did not notice that it was blood and not water that she put on her cheeks. She went outside thinking the people would see her tears. Instead they took one look at the blood on her face and began to throw sticks and stones at her. They all believed that this woman had killed their beloved old man. The poor woman ran away from the village as fast as she could, just managing to escape with her life. She had to live alone in the forest and never dared to return to her house in the village.


Our Schools in Southern Uganda by Sarah Langborne, Education Developer, Cotton On Foundation

Mannya Central Village St Nicholas Primary School & St Bernard’s Secondary School. With close to 2000 students across both primary and secondary schools, the high energy was palpable as students wrote and read out their stories in front of their peers. Students at St Nicholas laughed and cheered for their friends when they told their stories, and at St Bernard’s the stage of the multipurpose hall was the perfect setting for an engaging workshop filled with talented writers.

Busibo Central Village St Joseph’s Primary School & St John Baptist Secondary School. Even though it was a cold, wet morning in Busibo, the 1500 eager students across both schools were so excited to take part in the creative writing assembly outside. When the students who joined the masterclass inside began using leaves and plants to draw inspiration from for the descriptive activity, you could see their creativity blossom which transferred beautifully onto the page. Namabaale Central Village St Charles Lwanga Primary School & St Francis Secondary School. Underneath the gorgeous, giant, ‘magic’ mango tree in front of the school, 1000 students came together for the assembly and 60 for the class. Students’ smiles were beaming over the imaginary creatures created that had made their home within the “magic tree”, and the fire of creativity was lit. Nabbunga Outreach Village St Jude Primary School. Gathered in and around the outdoor amphitheatre, 150 students acted out and engaged in a combined creative story development activity; what started with “one night, an elephant stormed our village..” soon became an eventful expression of drama and imagination. Kyalulangira Outreach Village St Timothy Primary School. This master class was held within one of the colourful classrooms and filled to the brim with close to 80 talented students and teachers. Heartwarming stories were written, shared and enjoyed, stemming from the words on the board, ‘let me tell you my story’. Students at Kyalulangira loved this program so much that we received more story submissions than from any other school, and the stories themselves are beautifully written.


he Cotton On Foundation is the Cotton On Group’s philanthropic arm who are on a mission to develop 20,000 educational places by 2020. Through a unique partnership with customers and team members, the Cotton On Foundation is focused on empowering youth globally through the delivery of quality educational projects in Uganda, South Africa, Thailand and Australia. Together, we believe that we can help reduce poverty and improve the lives of those in need. Cotton On Foundation partners with communities to provide long-term opportunities across education, health, sustainability and infrastructure.

This collaborative project is testament to the ambition and optimism of all parties; a truly transformational education experience! [tbc]

Kevin Higgins – Education Specialist, Cotton On Foundation

Ducere Book 1  
Ducere Book 1