Helping young students read from Fraser to Migera, Chris Baxter |

Helping young students read from Fraser to Migera, Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter with students at Kijura Primary School

Chris Baxter has spend time with children in Migera, Uganda, and Fraser, Colorado, teaching them to read.

The literacy project in Migera began after participating in Fraser Elementary School’s Reading Buddies program. He liked the program’s simplicity, and brought the program’s philosophy to Uganda.

Baxter volunteered with the Reading buddies program at Fraser Elementary from December 2010 to April 2011. He worked with a student in 5th grade. “I would go into the school one time a week for one hour and worked one-on-one with a student who was struggling to read. The student improved by the end of the year,” Baxter said. Baxter liked the reading Buddies program because it was simple to administer. What he learned in the program, he wanted to share.

His most recent trip to Uganda was from September 18, 2011 to November 15, 2011. Friends and family gave him startup money for the literary program and on his way out of the country, he bought books from a warehouse and traveled with the books on the plane. “All my luggage was books, except for a few personal items.” He rented a room in Migera near the Catholic Parish. In St. Balikudembe Primary School in Central Uganda, he worked with 45 students who had been falling behind. “We were impacting 80 percent of the students,” he said. “The hope of the literacy program is to supply volunteers with the most efficient tools for teaching young children how to read and write in English.”

In Migera, he gave a workshop to university students on how to teach the students to speak and write in English. “We used material such as Scholastic books, reading cards, and See and Say books to teach student.” He worked with the teachers and students on English vocabulary and comprehension.

Baxter wants to continue the literacy program’s successes by raising $2,000 to buy more books for the program before going back to Uganda in the early spring.

“Kids that grow up in a home with books become better readers,” he said. “Many of the children from these schools are girls; the boys are farming after 10 years of age or going into the family business.”

He hopes that his literacy programs will help students realize their dreams of attending university.

Baxter initially worked in Uganda with the Peace Corps and assisted with community development projects such as economic development programs, community health and a mosquito net project. He taught the residents to sleep with a mosquito net placed above their beds. He traveled to villages to take surveys to understand health problems that needed research.

He left Uganda in April 2010 and traveled before coming back to the Fraser Valley in November 2010.

Baxter lives in Tabernash and works at the Nordic center at Devil’s Thumb. He also volunteers with NSCD. He can be reached through his blog: or e-mail:

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