Training the Leaders of Tomorrow


Stand Tall Training Centre is the brainchild of Nicole Schouela of Vancouver, Canada and Ssimbwa Kayondo of Kampala, Uganda. Together they conceived and built an elementary school in Kampala, Uganda that caters to children at risk of dropping out or who have already dropped out of the school system due to financial constraints.

Ssimbwa Kayondo, now the Principal of Stand Tall, taught street children and orphans in a makeshift school consisting of one tiny classroom and one outdoor classroom in his own compound. The floors were dirt, the learning materials were practically non-existent, and the space was shared with tenants renting small rooms within the compound. The school was one of several non-formal schools set up to provide basic training to out-of-school children teaching literacy and basic life skills. Although the concept had merit, funding dried up after a few years. However, a few compassionate and dedicated teachers continued working for no pay. Ssimbwa Kayondo was one of those teachers.

Nicole Schouela went to Uganda in 2008 as a volunteer. She worked in an NGO that assigned her to teach art in various schools. One of the schools she visited was Ssimbwa’s informal school. There she found a group of eager children listening in rapt attention to their teacher. What stood out was that these children were not the passive learners that she had seen in other schools. These children were verbal, engaged and eager to ask questions. As the weeks passed, Nicole became passionately involved with this group of children.  Nicole and Ssimbwa began discussing plans for building a school that would retain the flexibility and spontaneity of the present school while providing at risk children with a quality education. They purchased one acre of land in Kampala and construction began. Stand Tall Training Centre opened its doors in May of 2009