Here is the latest update from April through August 2017 from PCE Foundation! We hope you will enjoy reading and sharing. PCE Foundation is creating big and sustainable impacts in the rural communities of Tororo and Buteleja districts with support from individuals from around the globe.
Our 2016 annual report can be found here. We hope you will enjoy reading it, and will share it with anyone who might be interested in following our progress.
This year, PCE Foundation partnered with The Red Pencil in the implementation of an art therapy program in Amor village. The Red Pencil is a non-profit organization helping children, adults and families through art-based therapy, which promotes self-expression, healing and well-being. This project has three phases; and runs from January to September 2017. The project has especially empowered the mothers, most of whom are writing for the very first time. PCE Foundation contributes 57.77% of the cost of the project, including accommodations, food and in-country transportation for the therapists. These individuals are amazing, with a genuine passion for their work, as well as for the people they are helping! For more details about this project, go to redpencil.org/portfolio-item/uganda-step-2/
In regards to our preventive health intervention project, we are happy to inform you that PCE Foundation rescued a dying child in Namaliri village, and following badly needed medical care, she now glows and happily attends school. Dorothy (age 12), was born with HIV, and lost her mother when she was six years old. We shared Dorothy’s plight on Facebook in November 2016, and a compassionate young woman from New Zealand volunteered to support both her education and health needs. Since then, there has been a tremendous improvement in Dorothy’s health and well-being. We are very grateful to Kirsty M for her kind and generous support.
Little Mercy, the baby whose life story appeared in our previous update, is learning to crawl! As you may recall, Mercy’s mother Zerida was only 17 years old and mentally ill when she was raped by a group of men, and later died giving birth to Mercy. We are very grateful for the support we have received since I brought her to my house to raise. Special thanks to Aimee, Ellen, Mary C, Mandy, Tara, Panthea, Robin and to all the others who have contributed! Mandy’s family (Tara, Mandy and Panthea) and Ellen make monthly donations for Baby Mercy’s upkeep and nanny support which is very much appreciated. We are continuing to search for a caring family to adopt Mercy who can give her the bright future she deserves.
One of our very own RGCM girls is getting married soon! Mary Sylvia Agolla introduced her fiancé to her family in April. The traditional marriage will take place on December 9th. The PCE Foundation community has pledged to assist each other as their daughters and sons marry, so they are currently fundraising to host 100 guests coming from the groom’s side. Sylvia’s education was supported by a group of 7 amazing Australian women who call themselves The Rat Pack. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Adult and Community Education in 2016, and is currently volunteering with PCE Foundation while continuing to search for a paying job. We are very happy for her and will share the pictures when they are available.
Mandy Fazeli, our partner and fiscal sponsor in the United States, visited us in May. It was an extraordinary visit because she pampered everyone she came in contact with. She donated mattresses, blankets and food to extremely poor families, and visited with all our beneficiaries, including all the students and their families. She offered a listening ear to the girls, some of whom felt comfortable enough to share with her details of their personal lives. During her visit, Mandy donated mango tree seedlings to over 150 families. These mango trees are seeds of agreement with the community members, especially the parents and guardians, to embrace the education of their children. We enjoyed her visit very much!
June was a tough month for us in terms of transport. Our van broke down in the middle of nowhere, on our way to Tororo from Kampala. We slept in the bush for two days and nights while the car was being fixed – thanks to Mandy and Robin for the funds! The timing belt got cut which led to the breaking of the shafts. After rectifying this problem and driving to Tororo, the engine developed a knock as well. We thought that was the end of our van because the cost of repair was unaffordable. I sent out emails and messages seeking support for its repair, and thank God, Lisa B, Connor S, Julie S, Sharon S, and Susan O contributed funds that helped us fix the van! The van is up and running but we are not very confident that it will run much longer.
In the month of July, we received guests from Australia – Connor, Julie, Sharon and Susan. They spent four days in Amor village and gave great support to the community. They donated clothes, shoes, balls, eyeglasses, a bicycle and food to many families in over 6 villages. They also donated underpants to all the students of the Portland school. We met with 15 staff members of the Portland school where they gave empowerment talks and training to the teachers. During this meeting, the head teacher raised concerns about the need for a first aid clinic in the Portland school. A donation came through Sharon from within the Australian Community which was used to initiate the clinic! Many thanks to Samantha B and Jillian S who donated money through Sharon, to buy the bedding and purchase the cupboard!
We are happy to inform you that FOUR girls in the RGCM project took courses in tailoring and salon. These girls joined the vocational school early this year and are already doing so well in making dresses and plaiting hair! On the other side, our secondary school students and those in the teacher training colleges are getting their holidays at the end of August. They will resume classes in late September for their final term in the academic year 2017. A number of them will be completing their secondary school education, and the majority of the teacher students will be completing their teaching course. Our University students just reported for their first semester of the 2017/2018 academic year; most of them will be graduating in December 2018. Our Nursing students will have a break of only two weeks in October, and will resume classes on November 1st. All our students are progressing well in school. We are very grateful for each of you contributing towards their education!
URGENT NEED: We are currently looking for a few people who could support our fundraising activities, especially volunteers who could look for sponsors for the students in all levels of education. This is where we struggle every day as we have so many vulnerable students enrolled without sponsors. It is very difficult for us to reach out to the right people who could potentially support our work because of our physical location here at the grassroots. We welcome volunteers from all corners of the world! Please contact us for details.
On the agriculture desk, the PCE Foundation parents and guardians are now busy in their gardening work as they take advantage of the rains. Many families have planted potatoes, cassava, corn, ground nuts, and rice. They are expecting a good harvest. The Pollination Project (TPP) is about to fund a Mothers’ Food Pantry project involving 20 mothers and benefiting the wider community of Tororo and Buteleja districts. The project is intended to address the challenge of food storage, preservation and management at household levels. These rural women complain about their husbands and sons taking their hard earned produce and selling it off to buy alcohol instead of supporting the household or educational needs of their children. The issue of men and boys taking foodstuffs from their wives and mothers is not uncommon here; in fact it is one of the key causes of domestic violence in rural Uganda. When food is taken away and sold off, the families are left with little to eat, leading to starvation, lack of income and lots of suffering. This project kicks off in September 2017.
As a Fellow at The Pollination Project (TPP), I have been assigned to identify four projects worth funding, anywhere in Uganda. Because I support the grassroots people, I choose to identify the grassroots initiatives within my reach for easy monitoring and mentoring. The seed fund is USD $1000 per project. I will share about the other three projects in the future update. Many thanks to The Pollination Project!
This month, we visited the homes of some of those involved with the PCE Foundation, gathering impact stories from the beneficiary households. We were especially tracking the Christmas gifts of chickens, pigs, and goats that were donated to families by some of the sponsors. It was amazing seeing many families whose chickens and goats had multiplied! Please see the impact story below this update.
Please do not forget to follow our updates; we have many exciting projects in the works, including the construction of the teachers’ housing at the Portland School, the PCE Foundation’s Public Address system which will be arriving in Uganda soon, the United Women Food Pantry project, Electronic Repair Training, Healthy Home project, Drip Irrigation Vegetable gardening for HIV positive mothers (which will soon be funded by The Pollination Project), the AmplifyChange project; RGCM Girls Village to Village Peer Education implementation updates, Sylvia’s marriage, and baby Mercy news.
Josephine Nyamwenge (48), a mother of 6 children, appreciates the gift of chickens donated to her family early this year. Josephine is active in a small household poultry farming project which is helping to generate income.
“I have been digging for other people to earn income. I believe this will end soon because I can make a living out of my poultry. I am very grateful to Denise for all that she is doing for my family. I pray for her every day. I will be in position to support my other children in school too. I have a big dream for my poultry project,” she said.
Josephine is a widow living with HIV. Her husband was a witch doctor, who married over 30 women and left behind over 80 children. Most of these children are just sitting in the village, not attending school. Moreen (18), Josephine’s daughter, is very lucky to be sponsored under our RGCM project. Although Moreen is happy about her education and sponsorship, she worries about the heavy responsibilities ahead of her.
During the August 2016 PCE Foundation Community meeting, the parents and guardians of the sponsored students decided to start home-based poultry farming as an income generating activity. The weather in Uganda was extremely dry in 2016, resulting in failed crops and starvation in the rural areas. It was felt that poultry farming would provide fresh eggs and meat to eat, as well as serving as a source of income. As a first step, the group voted to make it mandatory for all the parents and guardians of the sponsored students to build chicken coops in each mentee’s household. Most of the families now have chicken coops; however, the birds are mostly on free range, to minimize the cost of maintenance. Josephine keeps her birds on free range.
In December, several sponsors donated funds to purchase chickens for the sponsored households. Because of prolonged drought which would have impacted on their survival, the chickens were actually purchased and distributed in April 2017.
At every end of month meeting, PCE Foundation provides the parents and guardians with vaccinations and medications for their chickens. This has reduced the rate of infections and loss in the household poultry venture. Many families, including those who did not receive the chicken donations, are now into poultry and are registering success in their farms.
Other families received goats from their sponsors, and they have multiplied and are doing very well.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our updates. Please give us feedback by contacting us. Do not forget to read our 2016 annual report; http://pce-foundation.org/2016-annual-report .
Thank you so much for your continued support!
Beatrice Achieng Nas