Monday, August 29, 2016

A Sleeping Lion Called Purpose - a story from Ugandan scholars

Our University Students are AMAZING. Have I told you that???? Their dreams and hopes and their discipline to see them come to pass constantly inspire all of us. I wanted to share a few of these precious ones with you --- in their own words.

As you might remember (if you read our post on Education), each of our University students completes a scholarship essay, signs a code of conduct and signs a volunteer agreement! Here are just a few of our students <3

*Note: We still need $10,386 to completely fund 113 scholarships. This money is due on FRIDAY, Sept 2 (THIS FRIDAY). To give CLICK here

Osege Gabriel of Obongoi Village wants to study. His scholarship is $250 (CLICK HERE TO GIVE)
As a child coming from a family headed by a mother, there are so many challenges that limit family growth and progress. One of them being financial challenge and our mother cannot afford to pay my school fees at a higher level of education which costs a lot of money and that’s why I have a big desire to be offered scholarship opportunity.
The world makes room for a person of purpose, therefore in my heart there is a sleeping lion called purpose. I have a purpose to transform the status of our family and community at large. If given opportunity to study up to a reasonable level of education, I will surely be agent of change and transformation in very many ways. 
I feel being at school is the way to make a change in life. I feel wasted because I believe am capable of doing something better. I have been praying for sponsorship opportunity since the time I dropped out of school in 2011 after my S.4. So if given the opportunity will help engineer my success
I would want to be a great agent of transformation/change in my community; possibly being a link between the voice less and the government.
Wow! I have a vision “to raise a Holistically Empowered generation full of God’s love and compassion knowing who they are in Christ Jesus”
My plans after the course are as follows;
·       To improve the living standards of my family and the community at large.
·       To be a great agent of change in our community.
·       To empower our community in various ways.
·       To improve education standards, Health, Finances, Nutrition and the development of our community.
·       To be a role model in a community by being the best example in the community.
·       To focus on behavioral change among the youth and orphans who have lost hope in life.
·       I have a plan to improve my personal status and possibly have the best family ever.

Ajiro Irene from Soroti Town wants to be a social worker. Her scholarship is $455 (click HERE to give)
I do want to be given a scholarship in order to help me acquire my future dreams of becoming a social worker to change community. Because being a social worker is being a community worker so that I can work with the vulnerable communities and people by advocating for the marginalized group of people for example the women mostly single mothers, children and people with disabilities.
After my education, I would also like to come and work for my community and show in love plus establish an income generating activity that will help our mamas to get out of poverty solve their needs. I will also be able to help pay for my siblings with the aim of also reducing literacy levels in the village.
I want to reduce the high rate of teen marriages in my community for both boys and girls.

And here's a student who got a scholarship for vocational school over the last 2 years! Look at all he's done already and all he plans to do! He recently graduated from a short nursing assistant course.

Ogire John Robert as written by one of our Ugandan staff members
Robert is one of our students who graduated on 21st of March 2016 from a short nursing course and is trying to open up a drug shop in one of the trading centers in Arapai sub- county in Soroti. He is getting 10,000 to 15,000ugx a day ($3) and in the process of registering as a professional Nurse.
Ogire’s father passed on when he was only 2 month old and his mother was chased by his father’s relatives when he was 10. (meaning sent away to live on their own) There was always food shortage at home and that made him go into stone quarrying at his 13, then he changed to making bricks but people would always cheat him since he was a young kid. The money that he would pay for his fees, uniforms and other requirements.
Robert is the last born in his family, so his elder siblings dropped out of school because of luck of finances and so if he had not done casual work, he would have left school too.
His cousin encouraged him to endure but stay in school; so he did all sorts of labor just to stay at school even being a boda at night and go to school during day time.
After S.4, he could not afford to concentrate in school and branched to a nursing school (tech program vs University). By the time the organization came in to help me, I had a debt of 1,500,000ugx ($455 USD) and the school was chasing me away all the time. I had given up with school by that time but the organization helped me and I thank God for that. The organization would pay for me 1,000,000ugx ($305 USD) and I would top up the remaining 500,000ugx ($150) I would raise that 500,000ugx during the holidays by joining my mama in stone quarrying to raise that money.
My plans are to get capital and increase on my drug shop and help my mama in any way possible and pay school fees for my brothers’ kiddos.
I have a desire to help mamas in my village through treating them and if there is any opportunity that requires my help, am available.
I thank this organization very much for your significant role in my education and I went to encourage all youths that we can make it if we are determined.

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 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 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!


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

Katine Adamasiko0
Obongoi A & B28
Obulei A & B23
Ogolai A & B30
Ogoloi A11
Ogoloi B9
Soroti Town25

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!

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

$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 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.

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!

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