Dear Mentors and supporters,
A lot of good things have happened since our last update in August. Here are the highlights:
Portland School Teacher Housing
Richard Carss (UK) donated funds for the construction of teachers’ houses at the Portland School. Using his generous gifts, we were able to build 12 rooms, under the influence of the school management committee and the head teacher. Richard also funded the Portland School Digital Classroom earlier this year. Mi Corazon and Ms Ingrid van Thiel-Sluiter made an extra donation that enabled the full completion of the teachers’ housing including solar lighting for the entire building. Mi Corazon and Ms Ingrid van Thiel-Sluiter also donated to build the 7 classroom block at the Portland school in 2016.
We are very grateful to them!
Amor Community Water Supply
We received a gift of a water well, water pump and tank from generous friends including Robin and Geoff Heatherington, Lorraine Salmon, and Toni T, who donated all the necessary tools and equipment. In september, Conrad (US) and Jason (UK) visited and helped us address some technical challenges and bring the well into full operation. The water is in use by the Portland School and the Amor Village community at large.
Robin and Geoff also donated funds for 100 pairs of shoes for the Portland School students. On a similar note, we want to recognize Aimee Knight for fundraising and donating bedding for orphaned children in Amor village. Conrad Olivier also successfully raised funds for a public address system to help amplify our voices here at the grassroots. We are forever grateful for these acts of kindness!
Joyce K. Fletcher, who donated lightning arresters for Portland School in 2016, donated a machine that makes interlocking bricks. We are currently making bricks that will be used towards the completion of the Amor Village Library project, which is still on hold since early this year due to lack of funds. Thank you Joyce!
Maker Girls Project
The U.S. Embassy in Kampala is funding a social enterprise project under the PCE Foundation. The project is called Maker Girls – Education, Beauty and Cash Initiative. The program will make use of both classroom education and the hands-on making and selling of skin jelly.
In rural Uganda, it’s common for men to lure young girls into sexual relationships with small gifts such as skin jelly, which often leads to early pregnancy. By teaching girls to make and sell skin jelly, we intend to economically empower 330 girls from 15 rural schools in Tororo and Buteleja districts.
We believe this project will uplift not only the 330 girls, but all students in the 15 schools through education crusades and the skin jelly project. All of the beneficiary schools are excited about this one-year project!
I am happy to inform you that one of our University students will graduate in January 2018. Eighteen more will graduate from various colleges and universities by the end of 2018. Twenty-two of our secondary school students recently sat for national examinations and are currently enjoying their holidays until early February. Some of these girls will be attending high school for more two years before joining universities, others will take shorter routes into different certificate courses.
Even with all of this success, we still have many students without sponsors and mentors, from Portland infant school to colleges and universities. If you know anyone in position to help, please contact us.
RGCM Girls’ Village to Village Peer Education project
In March of this year, Rural Girl Child Mentorship (RGCM) Girls’ Village to Village Peer Education project received a grant from the AmplifyChange fund. In September, each of the 103 participating RGCM girls reached out to 10 girls ages 12 to 18 to mentor and educate them on life skills, sex education and reproductive health education during their school breaks. We were surprised to learn that girls as young as 12 have boyfriends and are intending to get married. The good news is, most of them said they would like to finish school before getting married. However, a few of them said that they would get married if they failed to complete their studies due to lack of school fees. The project will run for a full year, and we hope we will be able to work with all of the participants through September 2018. It was wonderful visiting with the girls along with our community guests, Conrad and Jason! The peer educators are doing a wonderful job, educating and empowering their peers.
It is that time of the year again, when we give you an opportunity to support families with Christmas gifts. Over the past two years, you have given support in many different ways, from money to livestock to solar panels.
This year, we have six items on our wish list:
- Livestock medication and vaccination – This is our top priority for this Christmas season. Keeping a family’s livestock healthy is vitally important for income generation. Without veterinary care, medicines and vaccinations, these animals can die prematurely or spread disease to other animals in the community. You can fund animal care for one family for a year for USD $40.
- Cooking utensils – many households lack basic kitchen utensils. Purchase 2 cooking pans, 4 plates, 4 cups, and a tea flask for USD $27.
- Solar panels – Rural Ugandan families use kerosene lamps for lighting in the night. These lamps have served for generations, but are not a healthy choice due to the smoke and soot they produce, which leads to respiratory illnesses and other health issues. In addition, they are a safety risk and the fuel is expensive. Solar power is a clean source of energy well suited for this environment. Solar Sister is a local, female owned and operated entrepreneur business that sells solar panels at a range of prices:
- USD $12 – small and basic one-bulb system
- $15 – a bigger and brighter system
- $20 – comes with a small separate panel
- $53 – can also charge a phone
- $143 – 4-bulb system
- A bicycle – This eases transport for most of our students and parents who travel long distances to attend meetings and get what they need from markets. Most families do not have bicycles. You can give a family a bicycle for USD $83.
- Chickens – Last year’s campaign was a great success. The families who received chickens were delighted, and some homes now have over 20 birds from just one pair! If you have not already donated anything for your RGCM mentee or Portland students but you would like to, chickens are still a great gift:
- USD $30 – 1 breeding pair
- $70 – Half Coop (1 rooster, 6 hens)
- $110 – Full Coop (1 rooster, 11 hens)
- Cash grant – We will deliver any amount of donated money directly to the families so they can buy what they need most.
We greatly appreciate your continued support, and we hope you consider helping us meet our goals for this holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving and peaceful and happy holidays!
Beatrice Achieng Nas
Founder and Executive Director,
Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation