Thursday, April 28, 2016

Love always leads to ACTION

Mamas DO....

This is one thing we know. Mamas here in the US and mamas in Uganda. They DO love. They understand that love always leads to action.

(this is Stella who for many months went with one meal a day or less 
just to have enough to send her children to school)

They sacrifice.
They love.
They cry over their children.

(this is Hellen, who cried over her son's heart condition, prayed earnestly and sought help from every possible source until God provided a miracle and Titus got the surgery he needed)

They struggle.
They do everything in their power to feed their children and take care of them.
They protect in any way they can.
(this is Celina, mama to 28 now. 2 of her biological children and 26 orphans in her care - 
because they needed a mama and she said yes.)


mothers DO love.

So this Mother's Day, show your mama (and all the mamas you know) that you know love always leads to action by providing mosquito nets to mamas in Uganda!!!!

For $20 you can provide 3 mosquito nets - enough for a mama to cover her entire family!!!

Show YOUR mama love by showing another mama LOVE.

Love Protects.

When you donate HERE, we will send you a downloadable card that you can print out or email to your mama!!! Buy one today. Or 2? or 3? or 10! We have 1,153 mamas who need a little protection so they can continue to be mamas who love with action their precious ones. Buy your mosquito net today. 

Happy Mother's Day!


also --- download this FB header now to help us spread the word!!!!


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Uganda Trip - June 2016

Let's go to Uganda!!!!!

We are busy planning our summer trip to go see, empower and simply LOVE on our mamas. We take a large team trip every summer. These trips are life-changing for the Mzungus (westerners) who go every single year. Seeing our mamas' lives and being inspired by their bravery, beauty, joy, contentment, resilience and more absolutely changes your life forever. Our goals for putting together are to find people who will love well and love deeply, people who will see the beauty everywhere they go, people who will encourage and empower those we love, people who will want to use their voices when they get home to bring even more beauty to the broken places. If you would like to go, here are some details! We only have 26 slots and they will go quick! So sign up today!


Dates
June 2-14 (leave the US on June 2, Arrive back to the US on the 14th).


Cost
$1500 for ground fees (this includes: visa, all lodging, flights within Uganda, all food, all transportation, all translation services, all internet/phone, all water/snacks and a safari!)

Flights will be purchased on your own and costs vary based on where you are flying from. Typically speaking, they are $1500-$2000. (note: do NOT buy flights until you are approved for the trip. All trip participants must fly through Amsterdam and be on the same flight to Uganda).

Application Process: 
Email brandi@beautyforashesuganda.org for a trip application. Once your application is received, an interview time will be set up. When you are approved, Brandi will help you set up an online donation page if you plan on raising money for your trip.

Requirements: 
Who is this trip for? Anyone who loves and wants to serve our mamas is invited. You must be a "villager" (monthly donor, committed to the empowerment of a specific village of mamas) to come. Please see this blog for details on why we have this rule. Note: there is no faith based requirement. While many of us are Christians, many of our donors and advocates are not! You are WELCOME no matter your faith background!

Schedule
June 2 (Thursday)    Team leaves USA 

June 3 (Friday)         Team arrives Entebbe, Uganda
June 4 (Saturday)     Fly to Soroti + visit secondary schools
June 5 (Sunday)       Village church … possible well opening (if someone funds a well!)

June 6 (Monday)      Arapai/Gweri Empowerment Day
June 7 (Tuesday)      Leadership Day with all our chairwomen
June 8 (Wednesday)  Tubor / Katine Empowerment Day
June 9 (Thursday)     Market / Hospital visit
June 10 (Friday)        Amuria Empowerment Day
June 11 (Saturday)   Personal Village Visit Day

June 12 (Sunday)     Leave for Murchison Falls + Boat ride /  Evening Safari
June 13 (Monday)    Morning Safari + Drive to Entebbe + fly out at 11:30 
June 14 (Tuesday)    Arrive back in the US --- changed forever 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Because We Can't Change the Past....

I often wish, while reading the stories of our mamas, that I could go back in time. I wish I could find the 13 year old who is being sold into early marriage and hold her. I wish I could plead with her parents not to sell her. I wish I could tell her parents that I will cover her school fees if only they will allow her to stay in school. I wish I could go back in time to the day one of our mamas was returned to her village after being abducted and abused by the LRA (rebel army) and carry her to the best doctor I could find. I wish I could hold her and whisper hope over her and make sure she heals fully, body and soul.
When I see poverty that takes my breath away and hear stories that break my heart, I want to go back in time.

Unfortunately, that's impossible.

We cannot change the past. We cannot protect our beloved mamas from the pain they have endured. We cannot go back.

We can, however, change the future. We can act now. We can protect, we can heal, we can offer opportunities that change everything.

We cannot change the past, but we can change the future. 

This is why we do school fees. This is why we spend hours upon hours fundraising and asking for money. Because everything can change starting now.
Keeping these girls in school can save them from early child marriage.

Covering secondary school fees helps mamas be able to afford to send all of their kids to primary school (this will mean more GIRLS will actually make it to secondary school).

Covering secondary fees means mamas can save for small medical issues.
Covering secondary fees means mamas are not SKIPPING MEALS so their kids can go to school.

Mentoring in secondary school means these kids have another adult (in fact a whole team) who loves them and sees the beauty awaiting them.

Coming alongside these mamas and students means they have a team and no longer feel alone.

Mamas and their kids begin to dream, they begin to hope.

I know this sounds melodramatic, but it's true.
 I've seen it with my own eyes. I've heard these words from their very own lips. They hope now. Where there was no hope, there is hope being planted, being grown and coming to life.  It is beautiful and inspiring.

We may not be able to go back and change the past, but we will start here and change the future - together <3 <3 <3

$3,846 left to raise by Wednesday afternoon.

$45 keeps a student in secondary school.
$60 puts a new student in school (school + uniform)
$100 keeps a student in vocational school
$125 puts a student in boarding school (room + board + education).

Who will change the future for these precious ones?

CLICK HERE TO GIVE TODAY!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Leaving for Uganda tomorrow!!!!

We are leaving for Uganda tomorrow morning!!!!

For those of you who'd like to follow along on our journey and pray for us --- here is our itinerary!

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21
Leave US (we are all on the flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam that leaves at 6 pm. Pray we all sleep well!

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22
Arrive in Uganda at 10:20 pm
Sleep at hotel in Entebbe

SATURDAY, JANUARY 23

Breakfast at hotel
9 am MAF flight to Soroti
Mamas meet us at the airport!!!!!
Afternoon spent visiting mamas’ homes in Ongorotok, Ogoloi B and Odukai and seeing the new gardens!!!!

SUNDAY, JANUARY 24

Breakfast at hotel      
Church in Abalang in our new church / community center! (Brandi preaches)
Lunch with Arapai Subcounty mamas & Gweri Subcounty mamas & our new mamas from 
Amuria Subcounty

Visit New Model Gardens

MONDAY, JANUARY 25

Well opening ceremony in Orobai Village
Lunch in the Village with Orobai mamas and anyone else who shows up ;) Most likely most mamas from Arapai subcounty

Hospital visit 
Dinner @ Canunu Restaurant with the Doctor who has been caring for our mamas

TUESDAY, JANUARY 26           

A Day in the life of … We will spend the day in Katine Subcounty visiting a primary school, going to a literacy training and walking to a
                        local clinic. We will then visit our possible new site for land.  We will eat dinner in the village with the mamas of Katine and Tubur.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27

Morning spent with our students, wrapping up their conference and giving out awards.

Afternoon spent at a cooperative meeting

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28

Morning spent at the local market where hundreds of our mamas sell their wares (mostly veggies)
Afternoon and early evening spent with leaders from each cooperative as they share about
                        their dreams and plans for each of their groups and we listen in J

FRIDAY, JANAURY 29

 MAF Flight to Entebbe
Visit a very well run school in Kampala that will resemble our dreams for a future BFAU school!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 30




Rest by the lake and pool at 2 Friends Hotel in Entebbe while dreaming
                        and brainstorming

10:00 PM      Team leaves for Airport

Monday, December 21, 2015

Year-End Giving that Changes the World!

Are you looking for an opportunity to finish 2015 with a tax-deduction + a way to change the world? We have 3 opportunities for you! 


1. COWS! Beauty for Ashes Uganda gives 10 cows to each new cooperative of 30 mamas. We have had 6 new cooperatives join in the last 2 months! These cows serve as an encouragement to the mamas that someone sees them, loves them and believes in them. Akwango Anne Grace, our Ugandan co-Founder says, "The beauty of giving cows is that the very act of owning an asset like a cow changes a mama's entire perspective. She begins to think that maybe, just maybe she can own land and have a business and feed her children!"

60 cows needed.
Cost per Cow: $250
11 cows funded so far!


click HERE to provide cows! 
*please choose "Livestock" in the drop down menu and note if you have a particular village in mind!


2. Business Training! In 2014, 2 mamas from each village went to a special training we hosted with Yobel International. Now, we would like to send a Ugandan business leader to each village for 4 sessions of business training. 4 trainings for 30 mamas costs $180

37 cooperatives need training.
Cost per cooperative for 4 sessions: $180


click HERE to provide business training
*please choose "Special Projects" in the drop down menu and note if you have a particular village in mind!

3. Literacy Director! We are slowly but surely offering our mamas literacy training. Because of the amount of handholding they each need, we can only train one sub county of mamas at a time right now. However, if we hired someone full time to oversee the Literacy Program and encourage and coach each of the mamas, we could allow all of our mamas to learn to read in 2016! We already have the funds (thanks to those who have partnered via "Join Our Village") for the training itself, but need to hire a full time director if we want all of the mamas to go through it this year! 

Total cost for hiring a Literacy Director = $9600 for a year (or a monthly commitment of $800 per month)

Click HERE to provide a Literacy Director for next year! 
*Please select "Literacy" in the drop down menu 

We want YOU to give in ways that make you feel alive. If you feel drawn towards another fund, there are always needs across the board! We have ongoing needs in education, clean water, medical and for child headed households. So please, feel free to give to whichever fund you choose! 

All gifts of all sizes are appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible.  100% of all gifts given go directly to the project you specify. Our US Board raises our US administrative needs separately.

Please contact us with any questions or comments! brandi(at)beautyforashesuganda(dot)org

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Veggies for Christmas!

$12.50. Twelve dollars and fifty cents.

That's all it is going to take to radically change the lives of the hungry in our world. This blows me away and is the answer to many dreams and prayers.

First, let me tell you the story...

"Please pray for our families. We did not harvest anything over the last harvest and famine is starting to spread." "Pray for us to find food." "I could not meet any of the mamas in the village because even late in the day, they were working on finding food so their children could have at least one meal on this day."

Whoa. Messages like that from our precious ones and our staff in Uganda are enough to drive this girl to tears! The last rains had not been what they had hoped and our mamas were down to one meal a day and that was fading fast. Famine was on the horizon. 

Our mamas worried and prayed and worked their gardens, our staff in Uganda got together and brainstormed and prayed and dreamed, our US advocates hit our knees and covered our pillows in tears.

FOOD. The basic necessity that you and I take for granted was becoming a huge issue for the precious single mothers and widows that we serve.

"Let's just buy them food," some suggested. Which sounds reasonable when faced with hungry friends. However, with 1,123 mamas and a total (including children) of 7,615 mouths to feed --- that was not a good solution. It would also not be sustainable as the food would be gone within a month!

Enter The Grow Hope Foundation.

My friend, Kim Taylor, runs an AMAZING organization focusing on sustainable farming in Jinja, Uganda. After visiting her site and being completely amazed, we began to talk to Kim as well as our Ugandan staff and put our heads together. Perhaps this was the answer to prayer we had all been waiting for? Thanks to our monthly donors, we were able to send 1 mama from every village we serve down to Jinja for 3 days. This was LIFE-CHANGING. They had their first "working vacation" (yay!) where they stayed at a hotel, slept in a bed, visited the Nile River and even saw and rode in a boat for the first time!!! They also spent 2 full days learning, exploring and practicing sustainable gardening techniques that would change their lives.


video
"Our children will not have malnutrition anymore," Hellen from Matali told me in hushed tones. "I am getting fatter just thinking about having enough food for my entire family," Stella exclaimed with uncontained excitement! "We will have food from JANUARY UNTIL DECEMBER," Oliver squealed.
video

On the bus back to Soroti, a plan was formed with our Ugandan team for how we could empower our mamas to fight hunger in their villages.

Are you ready for the plan????

Step 1: MODEL GARDENS. We will plant 6 model gardens in strategic communities. Our mamas will then meet in these gardens weekly over the next month to learn new techniques. This allows them to learn about planting, mulching, watering when the rains are bad, protecting the young seedlings and why planting veggies that are a high cost market food while also being highly nutritious is a more sustainable plan then large, large plots of corn and cassava!


Step 2: SEEDS! Each of our 1,123 mamas will get tins of 6 different seeds to start their own gardens at home! We will plant 9 different crops in the model gardens so our mamas get to choose which crops appeal to them most. Their options will include: Tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, carrots, spinach, collards, cowpeas and cabbage.

Step 3: BAG GARDENS. Because rains are a huge issue, the mamas will plant nursery bed gardens, but then a week or so later, they will transplant these seedlings into rice bag gardens. This enables them to water them even more efficiently as well as to prepare their land for a second harvest as soon as new seeds are available from the first crops!

All of this means OUR MAMAS AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL NOT GO HUNGRY!!!!!

These gardens should be able to not only feed our families for the next year, but create crops for selling in the market so they can begin growing their businesses. Some mamas already have plans to plant entire crops just to raise their own money for buying their own land or putting tin roofs on their homes!!! They are empowered, encouraged and FED all at the same time!!!

So let's get started!

$12.50 provides a garden for one mama.
$25 provides for 2 families!
$37.50 will give 3 families food.
$50 4 families.

You get the hint :)

When you give, you can choose the village your donation goes towards. If you do not have a particular village, feel free to choose "veggies for Christmas" in the drop down menu and we will put it in the village that needs it the most.

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!!

If you'd like to give this gift as a gift in someone's name for Christmas, we will be emailing you a downloadable, printable card to give as their gift as well as a name and photo of a mama/ family in the village you are helping. How fun would it be to print these photos off and frame them for your family member or loved one? Feeding a family + getting to love on their beautiful faces too!

Get started. Donate Today.

You can also download the images below for sharing on social media!


This is the BEAUTIFUL downloadable card we will send you! (cards will be sent at the end of the week - so we can email you not only this card, but a family picture from THE village you are empowering!)

How about changing your COVER PHOTO for FB? Download one of these!!



Monday, October 12, 2015

Why I Give to Beauty for Ashes Uganda

A special guest post by one of our "villagers" - Maggie Montgomery

So many things, so many opportunities, we pass on and give no second thought to in our busy lives. Don’t you wish we could leave that mentality behind? But to live out a “yes culture” in our faith often leaves us with fear and uncertainty. It’s scary to say yes without hesitating. It’s quite a jump from the very calculated lives we lead. On the other hand, it can be very invigorating to simply say yes. There might even be a sense of love in the act of saying yes.

A good friend of mine reached out to me recently. Her name is Kelly Yust. Some of you might know her from the previous blog post. Kelly passionately serves Beauty for Ashes Uganda (BFAU) as an advocate for its villages. The behind-the-scenes of this organization is always moving toward a bright future for the women and children of Uganda. Kelly asked if I could help out by reviewing some written material with a writer’s eye, as well as donate to a specific village of single mamas and their children.


When Kelly asked this of me, she was acting out of love and an obedient heart. You see, God had put it on her heart to reach out to me, and she followed His path. Since she said yes to Him, I said yes to her.

Now that I’ve been catching up with Kelly and doing my small part with BFAU, I’ve realized that, through saying yes, I’m living out my favorite quote from a book I’ve read many times. In “The Shack,” author William P. Young refers to a bird that is perched before the characters, comparing flying to loving.

            “Consider our little friend here,” she began. “Most birds were created to fly. Being
grounded for them is a limitation within their ability to fly, not the other way around.” She paused to let Mack think about her statement. “You, on the other hand, were created to be loved. So for you to live as if you were unloved is a limitation, not the other way around.” (Young, 2007, pp. 97)

We are made from love to be loved and to love others. There’s no hesitation in God’s love - no second thoughts. Embracing this means saying yes to the opportunities put before us by our brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t want to live a life grounded by the expectations and responsibilities of our world. I want to move through it with unending love and seek out ways to say yes, serving God and his children.

I give my time and money to BFAU because it reflects the life I believe God has called us to live. My prayer is that my reasons for giving inspire you to give to a cause or passion that speaks in your life. Maybe that’s Beauty for Ashes Uganda, or maybe it isn’t. But whatever opportunity is put at your feet, I hope you have one answer for it. Yes.