The year 2020 started and sounded like a unique year, definitely double two double zero isn’t anything common. We at the Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation started the journey of this unique year with dedication and team spirit along with our supporters and donors from across the globe; we finished a high school classroom block and also opened up a high school – Portland High school. It took a lot of team spirit to get done with the construction work and setting a school to start running within the first two months of 2020.
Little did we know that COVID-19 was making its way to the entire wide world. Before we knew it, the Ugandan government ordered closure of ALL schools and institutions of learning, this was in March. There was a little hope that schools could have been re-opened within a month or two, but this did not happen. Schools were closed until August, when only a few were re-opened in phases. To this date (May 2021) schools are still re-opening in phases.
Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, we still registered achievements and positive impacts in our support communities. First we began educating schools and communities about COVID-19 and providing basics like soaps, foodstuffs, clothes and non-contact thermometers (thank God for our German supporter who sent us three of these). We also ended up shifting our location from Kampala to Jinja. We built houses for extremely poor people and others in need.
Thank you so much for taking time to read our 2020 annual report! Before we share with you details of our achievements, we would love to remind you of our goal, mission and how we operate. We are a small voluntary grassroots NGO (REG No MIA/NB/2012/01/2824) founded in 2011; currently operating in rural communities of the Tororo, Butaleja and now Jinja districts in Eastern Uganda. PCE’s focus is on capacity building in and for rural communities, especially the education and empowerment of women, girls and children. Our organization’s emphasis is on community participation and leadership which helps community members work together, own the achievements facilitated by our programs, and sustain positive change. We are disability-inclusive. Our Vision is to have empowered communities that can take charge of their own development and our Mission is to enhance knowledge and skills within rural communities and to promote the exchange of information and best practices through education, mentorship, advocacy and strategic partnerships for social, cultural and economic development. We seek to break the cycle of poverty and empower communities to take charge of their own developments. PCE embraces community driven solutions to community challenges. This fosters the implementation of not only relevant/appropriate need based but also sustainable projects. In line with this principle, PCE Foundation has always identified community needs that are developed into fully fledged projects.
With the above said, since 2011 we have continuously worked with the local communities through various projects including education, livelihood, agriculture, preventive health care support, sex education and cultural exchange.
We are grateful for the encouraging and positive feedback from all who support our work and their generosity and continued team support they offer to us, this is not because we make it happen ourselves but because YOU are standing with us in every way possible.
Being a voluntary organization, it isn’t the easiest thing coordinating everything in time everywhere; this has raised a few concerns from some of our supporters, some have stopped supporting our work not knowing what it takes here on the ground. We do our best to keep moving forward. Please bear with us above all, contact us if you need updates sooner than we can provide. Your feedback is very important to us!
Here are brief highlights of our interventions from January to December 2020;
As mentioned briefly above, we have initiated two community schools in Amor village; Portland Nursery and Primary school and Portland High School. Our main aim of inventing these schools within this remote village is to provide education services at the grassroots. Since 2012 we have been ferrying students to expensive city schools which has been in the long run limited due to increasing school fees demands, additionally we could only support a handful of students. With these schools within the local community we are currently supporting 318 learners.
In January 2020, Kelly Sullivan provided 101 desks for Portland High school. As mentioned, construction of the schools and everything which were needed to kickstart the high school has been team support from our supporters, Kelly is one of those who stood in the gap for the desks. Aimee K, Anita B, Asmund K, Citizen S, Dianne A, Ellen S, Eva H, Geoff H, Hiadee W, Jim H, Jeremy C, Joyce F, Karen B, Kathryn G, Krystina K, Lindsey C, Lorraine S, Marga D, Nancy W, Natasha S, Nina H, PJ, Rebecca H, Rita R, Robin H, Ruth B, Samantha B, Shelby Y, Susan O, Ted C, Terre B, are some of the dedicated individual supporters who have stood with us in making it possible to set up and run the schools. We are very grateful for your team spirit.
Much as this is an achievement, we remain with challenges in providing enough classrooms, dormitories, feeding the students and paying teachers. Most of the students are extremely vulnerable, their families cannot provide for them.
The RGCM project
The Rural Girl Child Mentorship project (RGCM) has been sponsoring young people since 2012. To-date we have supported over 220 students. In 2020 we had a graduation of 14 beneficiaries in various professional fields including a medical doctor, nurses, teacher, social workers and plumbers.
We have had to nearly vow not to enroll new students in our programs but it can be so challenging to say NO to those in extreme need. We have over 6000 applications of students seeking our educational support; unfortunately it is extremely hard resource-wise to keep so many in schools. Under extreme conditions, we are forced to enroll a few more, case-by-case annually.
We are continuously looking for sponsors for all levels of education. It costs between USD $36 to $200 monthly to sponsor a student from Nursery to the university levels. We work with fiscal sponsors in the USA and in Europe, and all donations in these regions are tax refundable.
Funded and Relief projects
Ann & Christopher Fielden Charitable Trust donates 200 GBP to us twice a year. This fund helped us buy textbooks for Portland High School and establish a vegetable garden at Portland school.
Star Action UK constructed a house for a homeless family. In addition to this; a mother and her two children also constructed another house for a helpless family, Garry K who sponsors Lawrence together with his sister-in-Law Susie S constructed a house for Lawrence, and Oliver W also constructed two houses for the two boys he sponsors! We ended up constructing five (5) houses by December. Many thanks to Stuart/Star Action; Veeda, Keithan, and Keisha; Garry and Sussie and Oliver W for the difference you have made in these precious lives!
We hosted 6 German dentists in February who attended to nearly 1000 patients with various dental issues. Nearly no one seeks dental treatment at the grassroots because of lack of funds for even a basic medical treatment. These interns were a blessing to so many! Dental Volunteers e.V founded by Agnes Wagner has sent dental volunteers twice to our support communities. They are very dedicated and caring to the patients!
Peace Direct donated community public address system; loudspeakers which currently help us to reach out to people within five (5) village educating them about COVID -19, sex education to young people and announcements of lost properties and issues arising within villages.
Our students without sponsors (38) had accumulated a lot of debts with various schools. We are very grateful that the schools and colleges were patient with us for many years, accumulating balances. It became so intense because all schools were in need of their money. There was nowhere to get support. We reached out to some of our supporters who teamed up/donated small amounts and helped us settle the debts. Without this team support we could never have come out of debt. Many thanks to Anita B, Christa L, Dr. Diane, Haidee W, Joyce F, Karen B, Lindsey C, Nancy W, PJ, Rebecca H, Robin H, Samantha B, Sumru E, Ted C and Terre B! To reduce the debt pressures, we are continuously looking for sponsors for the students and we are also transferring most of the students back to Portland Schools in Amor village.
Every January we receive eight (8) tourists from Australia through Little Africa Tour Company. Usually a group of generous women who not only have a feel of the communities and nature across Africa but also leave an impact in the lives of the people they meet. Headed by Susie S and Patti H, this company always leaves marks in our communities; they donated household items and foodstuffs to 70 women from 5 different villages in Tororo. The women were very appreciative of their support; a blessing for the start of the unknown future in a year!
Amor Village Children’s Party VI was a big success! Thank God it was before the COVID-19 lockdowns. Nearly 800 children turned up on January 12 to celebrate their special day. We distributed underwear along with foods and drinks and lots of fun. The main purpose of this annual celebration is to celebrate children for who they are. Grassroots children do not get to enjoy the basics of life. Many starve; they don’t get basic needs like clothing and shoes because such are unaffordable for their families. Additionally, in parties children hardly get to eat – they show up in big numbers but priority is always given to adults, if there’s anything for them to eat they are just left overs. We make sure children (ages 3 to 15) eat good meals, play and have fun on this special day. Many thanks to Ellen S, Helene F, Kathryn G, Laura F, Lisa B, Lorraine S, Nat G, PJ, Patti H, Robin H, Samantha B, and Susie S for this years’ support!
COVID-19 Miracle fund for our teachers came through from Karen Bentlage! She donated USD $1,300 for 26 teachers. We did not expect this donation, and the teachers were very grateful and happy. Teachers remained unemployed and some are still unemployed due to schools closure as a result of COVID -19. The government is not compensating teachers of private schools and community schools. Life can be so challenging without employment. We are very grateful!
Lorraine S made a birthday fundraiser that helped us complete one dormitory for girls of Portland Primary school. This was so in time. An extra dormitory was a requirement as a standard operating procedure for COVID-19 preventive measures. Without this dormitory our school could have failed to meet the standard requirement. We are very grateful!
COVID-19 left so many people and families in extreme suffering. Due to lockdown in the capital and slums of Kampala, many daily earners lost their employment. They and their families remained helpless and in starvation. We started asking our supporters for help, every single day for the slum community of Kampala and for the rural people of Tororo. We are happy to inform you that we fed nearly 2000 families from May to December 2020. Some of these families could actually have died of starvation, especially those living with HIV, who couldn’t even access medication because of the lockdown. We continue to nurture some of these families to-date. Many thanks to Agnes W, Ellen S, Helene F, Kathryn G, Karen B, Kirsty M, Lisa B, Lorraine S, Mandy F, Nat G, Patti H, PJ, Robin H, Samantha B, Susie S, Terre B for this year’s support!
We also purchased and distributed clothes and shoes for over 700 children at Christmas. Our target was to clothe children walking nearly naked within communities because they do not have clothing to wear. Indeed we got massive support and made a huge difference in the hearts and lives of so many children. Many thanks to Ellen S, Kathryn G, Lorraine S, Nat G, PJ, Robin H, Samantha B and Terre B!
In December Zander and Marsha Parker donated 100 Chickens to Portland school farm. This is a step towards having a sustainable poultry farm at Portland. The chickens are on a free range system. a few of them unfortunately died during the dry spell. The Head Teachers of the Primary and the High School sections are engaging their Agriculture teachers to ensure that the farm expands to sustainability. More on this will be shared in our 2021 report! Many thanks to Zander and Marsha!
A young girl Mary (12) was badly beaten by her father who chopped off one of her fingers. We came to her rescue when the finger was rotting. It was amputated and treated. She is now fine and happy. Happily treated and sponsored by Sherri and Charlotte. There’s a huge difference in Mary’s life! Many thanks to you Sheri and Charlotte!
Due to lockdown from March to July as a result of COVID, we could not implement community projects. Unfortunately there is an increasing crisis in communities as a result of the closure of schools. Young girls as young as 12 years are getting pregnant and married. Parents are failing to control peer pressures within communities leaving especially young girls to engage in risky behaviors.
We at PCEF are focusing on sustainable community projects. Exciting news is, we are setting up farms and other income projects. We look forward to sharing with you more about these projects in our 2021 annual report.
Shift of Location from Kampala to Jinja
It feels as if this should have been the first achievement to be shared with you, our supporters! This is one BIG turn-around that has left us never the same – for good! We lived and operated our satellite office in Kampala for 7 years, in a rental home in which both our office and home were operating. Time came when the owners were selling off the home – in August. In our wildest dreams we didn’t think of any other solution than to find another house to rent. We took a step of faith, asked 15 of our supporters if they could help to either buy the property or rent another home elsewhere within Kampala. They suggested that we look for another house for purchase, one donor pledged to double every single donation and another opted to give a loan as well as a donation. This news came as a dream. A dream that has come true! We are here, settled in Buwenda, Jinja. Many thanks to Anita B, Dr. Diane, Ethan H, Haidee W, Joyce F, Karen B, Nancy W, Pamela S, PJ, Rebecca H, Robin H, Ruth B, Samantha B, Sumru E, and Terre B! We are blessed to live and work a few miles away from River Nile!
Business House Acquisition
When we settled in Buwenda, we thought an income project and a skill-building program was more suitable for the community. As we were still thinking of how to start an income and skills program in Jinja, our immediate neighbor decided to sell off his house, and he began knocking on our door weekly asking us to buy it. We took another step of faith and asked one of our donors – Karen B for a business loan and explained to her that we would use the house to set up a bakery, café and shop. She responded positively so quickly; she gave us a business loan! We therefore acquired the house, renovated it and are currently putting it to use. More on this will be shared in our 2021 report.
The Future for Us
As many charities continue to close down due to the challenging impact of COVID-19, we are struggling hard to ensure that we beat the challenges, with support of those who are generously walking this journey with us.
We have plans for sustainable projects. These include commercial farm activities, entrepreneurial projects such as a bakery and food stores. We are looking into supplementing the support we receive from our donors and supporters, in short reducing donor dependency.
Some of our current needs and projection within 2 years from now include;
- A classroom block for Portland High School – 10 rooms including Library and Laboratories
- Toilets for Portland Primary school – 10 stalls
- Sponsors for vulnerable students on a rolling basis
- Relief Support funds; funds for food and treatment of extremely needy people in communities
Financial Report – January to December 2020
We are grateful to all you who donate to support our work, without which we could not achieve anything. We appreciate your continued and dedicated team support!
Below is our financial Report:
|USD rate @ 3595||Euro rate @ 3950||UGX Rate @ 1|
|Bf as per December 31, 2018||72.19||12.50||308,898.05|
|A More Balanced World USA||115,685.86||415,890,666.70|
|Hans-Joachim Hermann Germany||30,324.90||119,783,355.00|
|Mariska Bosman Holland||850.00||3,357,500.00|
|PCE Foundation Parent’s Contribution||2,000,000.00|
|Others local activities||3,120,000.00|
|TOTAL INCOME IN UGX||558,759,419.75|
|School fees expenses Nursery/Primary/Secondary/University||50,511,425.00|
|Feeding Portland Nursery and Primary||16,862,000.00|
|National Examination registration||2,250,000.00|
|Salaries Portland teachers||16,590,000.00|
|Purchase of 2 houses in Jinja||280,000,000.00|
|Farming and Agriculture||26,450,000.00|
|Balance as @December 31, 2020|
|B/F UGX AS @DECEMBER 31, 2020||308,898.05|
PCE Foundation is continuously expanding at the grassroots on a voluntary basis. Both PCEF volunteers and Portland schools staff and the administrators are compensated with stipends on a monthly basis. Basic support is necessary because of family needs and demands. Together, there are 48 volunteers supporting different projects and programs, including website management as listed in the last page of this report.
Since our founding, PCE Foundation has been run by a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers. The following people are the core volunteer management team behind its operations and success:
- Adam M
- Augustine O
- Beatrice AN
- Brenda T
- Cecilia A
- Centurio O
- Charles O
- Constance A
- Deborah K
- Emmanuel O
- Esther N
- Federika A
- Florence B
- Fred M
- Gabriel J
- George W
- Jacoh O
- James M
- Jane A
- Jane R N
- Joana D
- John O
- Joseph M
- Joseph N
- Josephine A
- Judith N
- Lucy N
- Margret A
- Mary SA
- Nathan I
- Nociata A
- Norah C A
- Patrick S
- Peter N
- Richard A
- Richard O
- Scovia K
- Silva A
- Simon E
- Stanlus O
- Stella A
- Ted & Lindsey C
- Valentino O
- Veronica A
- Wilberforce O
- Yacobo O
- Yakobo O
I am Adikini Faith Mary, one of the beneficiaries of Pearl Community Empowerment (PCE) Foundation. I was brought up in a polygamous family of twelve children, and living with HIV/AIDS positive parents.
I joined PCE Foundation in 2014, which has supported me since then, and the same project is still my pillar. I am now pursuing a bachelor of science degree in Biotechnology from the oldest and biggest university in Uganda, Makerere University.
My hobbies are debating, playing netball, being jolly, making friends and being loyal, among others.
Before I joined PCE Foundation, life was quite not a bed of roses, unlike now!
“Wake up!, Faith and get ready for school. Tell the headmistress to allow you seat for your examinations, I shall bring the remaining fees.” Says my troubled mum.
My crucial challenge was attaining school fees. Since my parents were mere small scale farmers, very little income was attained which was hardly money enough to cater for our needs, including tuition. Some of my siblings had to seat back home, waiting for conditions to look up but all was in vain.
During my holidays, some of my siblings and I would not only go selling some pancakes, but also working in others’ plantations just to raise even a penny for our tuition.
Besides that, school was distant from home. I always missed out some lessons due to late arrival at school, was also affected by bad weather like rain, and interfered by the young boys and men on my way to school. But all in all, knowing I wanted a brighter future, was persistent and always worked hard at school, not until I joined PCE Foundation. This was after completing my primary level.
When I joined PCE Foundation, through aunt Beatrice, my greatest challenge was solved because she was able to cater for all my tuition. Trust me, not only my life, but also my parents’ life started changing.
I was taken to a good boarding school far away from home by aunt Beatrice and with this, I no longer faced some other challenges like walking long distances, and missing some lessons.
Later, through aunt Beatrice, I was able to get a mentor, Jessica Lane, who works hand in hand with aunt Beatrice to endeavor that I’m in school. So proud of them!
I’ve not only known very many different places around the city, and other places outside the city, but also met different people and made very many friends through PCE Foundation.
PCE Foundation has really changed my life and nurtured me into what I’m supposed to be, though I’m still looking forward to achieving my goal!
Special and many thanks to our beautiful, lovely mother, Beatrice Achieng Nas, and all our dearest sponsors from different parts of the world, who do their best to endeavor we are in school!
We really can’t tell how to express our sincere gratitude towards your endless support, but we are grateful for your kind, loving, and caring hearts towards us, and we pray the almighty grants you long life so that you can live to enjoy the fruits of our education, for;
One tree can start a forest
One smile can start friendship
One touch can show you care
One friend like you can make our lives worth living, and
A hand that gives, is a hand that receives.
Many thanks and lots of love!
Connect with us
We would like to make it clear to all our supporters that we are a very transparent grassroots NGO. The funds that we request from you in terms of educational support for the students, construction, gifts and any other community interventions are implemented as intended and required. We are open to issuing confirmation receipts, verifications and contacts. We also encourage you to visit in person in future, to see the impact of your donation. You will be very welcome!
Have any questions or concerns? Please write to us or use the Contact page of our website.
Wishing you the very best of the year 2021!