Monday, August 22, 2016

Educate a Child, Empower a Community.

How do you lift a community out of poverty?

This is our real question. How do we come alongside a community to offer a hand up....a way out of the generational poverty that plagues them? We don't want to be the "end all" We don't want our friends to need us forever. We want to help until help is no longer needed....then we will move into simple friendship with that group of mamas and together we will offer our hands (both our mamas and ours) to another group of women. 

The component that stands above all of the rest in all of the research on development is this: Education is key. 
Education of our mamas so they can further their business is key. We are starting our Literacy Classes next month and are thrilled! We have seen such progress with every set of empowerment classes our mamas have attended ---- from the Grow Hope Foundation's classes on sustainable farming to Healing Faith's classes on malaria prevention to the local leaders we have hired to teach gardening and organic manure and health.  Every time we are amazed and inspired as we watch our mamas grow their businesses with new tools and strategies and skills! 

What about their children, though? 

You see, our mamas are growing their businesses and increasing their funding and one day....one day they will be able to send their kiddos to secondary school, vocational school and even university. 

But the hard fact remains....

Their children can't wait that long. 

If we wait for 5-10 years until our mamas can afford schooling, we will have another entire generation who will need us one day because they did not get the skills necessary! So we have to put their kids in school NOW. They just can't afford to wait. AND the really, really amazing thing is that if we can come alongside these mamas and mentor their kiddos and help them attend school, their kiddos will join us on the adventure of lifting their communities out of poverty! 

The Plan

Primary School (grades K-7, referred to as P1-P7)
Primary School in Uganda is provided by the gov't. It is technically "free" and mamas only have to provide a registration fee and provide for some needs. In the past, our mamas struggled to put their kids into even primary school because they lacked the $1.50-$5 needed. Now that their businesses are growing, they are able to put their kids in primary school! So we don't have to worry about our little ones....though we sometimes partner with a few primary schools to give out supplies, teacher's aids or other gifts. We are thankful they are loving all of our mamas' littles!
Secondary School (grades 8-11 or 14. Referred to as S1-6)
Secondary School in Uganda is NOT free. In fact, it costs (depending on the school) somewhere between $145 and $175 per year. When our mamas' typical annual income is a mere $276, you can imagine that secondary school is tough to provide for your kiddos. If they can manage, often just one child in the family will attend school. Or kids will take turns. 

Our plan is to offer each child a $135 scholarship to attend school. This still allows for their mamas to be involved in their schooling as well because we do not provide the full amount. Because we are passionate about not only seeing children educated, but inspired to BE the kind of people in the world that will love and love well, we also provide mentoring. Mike Eceru (our school program director) and his team visit every one of our 6 main secondary schools weekly to encourage, inspire and challenge the kids. The children LOVE this and are so thankful that we care about their souls and not just that they attend school. 
We have 839 kids in this program! The funds for this come from our monthly donor program (Join Our Village) funds for each village. If we are short when its time for school fees (3x per year), we do one-time donation campaigns to finish off the fees. 

What happens after secondary school?

Kids have 2 possible paths after secondary school. Both paths are valuable and are chosen based on the kids' ability as well as their desire and dreams. We do not, however, simply want to create opportunities for our kids to leave their villages and never look back. For this reason, they continue in mentoring relationships with our staff. Vocational kiddos will be meeting monthly with our Program Director and staff while University kids meet during their breaks (university campuses are spread out across Uganda). These kids also have to sign a code of conduct as well as a volunteer agreement. We ask them to plan now for giving back to their mama and their village. During each break, the students will be serving their villages, working in the community gardens and providing training to the mamas based on what they have learned! 

Ok, on to the two paths....

1. Vocational School
If they pass S4 grade, they can then move on to vocational school. This is a trade school where they can learn anything from driving to hair to brick laying. This costs anywhere from $300-$500 per year.  

We have 153 students in vocational school. Like secondary fees, these fees are due 3x per year and are taken from the village funds provided by our monthly donors! If we are short when it comes time for fees to be due, we raise these along with the secondary fees.

2. University
If the students can pass S4 and would like to continue, they can do the last two years of secondary school. Once passing the national exams after S6, they are eligible for Tertiary or University Schooling (local college or university). This allows them to get a University degree in whatever their heart desires! Teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, pastors, engineers, accountants, etc! 

The fees to cover University are due 2x per year with a typical college calendar divided into semesters. It is quite pricey by Ugandan standards (nothing compared to US colleges though!). The scholarships we offer run from $245-$650 per student per semester. 

Because of the larger numbers, these cannot at this time be covered by our $23 monthly donors. 

This is why we need YOU!!!!! We rely solely on one time donations to cover the 113 students who want to go to University. Their fees are due Sept 1 for this next semester. 

Our school bill for all of these students to stay in school is $42,485. So far, we have $5,000 raised. This means we still need $33,985 in the next two weeks. 

If you would like to send a student to University, you can give by clicking HERE

If you would like the name of a student or a particular occupation, email us at brandi@beautyforashesuganda.org and we will send you a name! Some of our students have already filled out their scholarship essays as well that we would love to send you!!!!








Thursday, July 14, 2016

FAQ about Joining a Village

"Is it a mama-to-mama sponsorship? How many monthly donors does each cooperative need?"

We get this question a lot, so I thought I would spell out exactly how it works around here!
She's from Angaro...want to join her village?
No - it is not a mama-to-mama sponsorship. Instead of having one donor take care of a whole family, we work together to take care of a cooperative. (sometimes a family has 1 child in school and sometimes 6 so costs would vary so much!). When you join a village ($23 monthly donation), your money is pooled into a fund with everyone else who has joined THAT village. 100% of this money is earmarked just for YOUR village. It's not used for any other purpose! Then, that money is used for mentoring, literacy, school fees and other needs as they arise.
She's from Soroti Town, want to join their village?
How many monthly donors each village needs is determined by the number of kids in school in that village. This is the one fluctuating need between villages. EVERY village fund contributes $75 monthly for mentoring (monthly for mamas and weekly for students), $150 monthly for literacy (should start soon!) and then whatever the school needs are. Because some villages have 5 kids needing school fees and some have 95, the number of monthly donors varies quite a bit from village to village!

Here's the equation we use to determine how many "villagers' we might need: $75 a month + $150 a month + school needs x 3 school terms + $20 per mama for an empowering gift once a year = annual need for village. Then we divide that by 12 to find monthly need. Divide that by $22.11 (what we get after transaction fees) and you will find how many "villagers" we need for each village!
She's from Ogolai, want to join her village?
Our goal is to have every village fully funded by monthly donors. This means MORE PEOPLE LOVING OUR MAMAS!!!! It also means not needing as many one time funding campaigns :-)

I hope that helps!!! If you're considering joining a village, we have quite a few that need upwards of 20 people each! We could even use a co-advocate for a few that wants to help encourage their friends and family to join!

JOIN A VILLAGE TODAY!!!! 

Here's the breakdown of how many people we need to join each village as of 7/14
She's from Tubor, want to join her village?
Village                             How many people are still needed to join at $23 a month

Abalang6
Abokoro10.6
Acuna13
Adeta22
Ajikidak13
Aloet10
Amoroto7
Amoru12
Angaro39
Angera15
Aparisa-2
Cheele16
Damasiko14
Katine Adamasiko0
Matali13
Obongoi A & B28
Obulei A & B23
Odukai
Ogolai A & B30
Ogoloi A11
Ogoloi B9
Ojemoru15
Olusai9
Ongorotok0
Orobai4
Palaet0
Soroti Town25
Takaramiam17
Tubur20
Tukum10

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