Dear mentors and supporters,
This year has already been packed with lots of activities and memorable events, and it’s only half done!
Here are highlights of our current/ongoing projects and activities:
Funded and ongoing projects
We are currently running two community projects.
The first is the Maker Girls Social Enterprise Project, which is being implemented by 330 girls from 15 rural schools. The girls are making and marketing a skin jelly which provides economic empowerment and helps support their education by partially covering the cost of their personal and school needs. Since small tins of body cream such as this are sometimes used by men to lure young girls into sex and marriage, this project is also reducing the effectiveness of such bribes. This is a one year project begun in November 2017, and is funded by the Embassy of the United States – Kampala.
The second is an Opportunity Grant from AmplifyChange for the RGCM Girls’ Village to Village Peer Education project, which covers 24 villages within Tororo and Buteleja Districts. This initiative involves our sponsored students who each provide sex education to ten girls in their respective villages during school breaks. This project started in September 2017 and runs through September 2018.
Near the end of May, we visited with a group of ten girls, aged between 10 and 15 years old, who each already have a boyfriend. Most of them told us that the boys or young men give them gifts of money, food, and other basic needs, loving them more than their own parents. This immediate gratification can be difficult to overcome, but this project usually creates a relaxed space for these girls to freely and openly share their experiences and plans. Afterwards we give advice to help them look at the impact early sex, marriage and childbirth can have on the rest of their lives.
Community based income generating projects
A few months ago, Karen B, one of our current sponsors from the United States who sponsors 44 students (4 in nursing and teacher training and 40 in Portland School) emailed me expressing interest in helping to support some of the students who currently have no sponsors. We currently have 61 students without sponsors in high school, nursing, teacher training, and in colleges.
We suggested to Karen that a community-based income generating project to support students in school would provide the most benefit, as it would reduce dependency on donors in the long run. In April, Karen donated $15,000 to the PCE Foundation. Of these funds, $9,695.28 is being invested in a Poultry Farm project and $5,304.72 will be spent covering outstanding tuition fees.
The construction of the chicken coop/house is currently ongoing; when complete, it will hold up to 2000 birds. The construction is now complete and stocking ongoing. We are very excited about this community project, and look forward to seeing chickens educate students! Thank you, Karen!
In addition to the new poultry project, we have been running a pilot piggery project for over 2 years. We started with 5 pigs and now have 35 pigs and piglets on the farm. We would like to expand this project as well, to increase its income-generating potential to help educate the vulnerable children and youth in rural Uganda. Our present challenge is housing the current pigs. With a donation of USD $4,707, we could construct a fairly large pig house that could contain between 75 to 100 pigs and piglets all together.
Small scale initiatives such as vegetable growing by the Portland school children are also on-going. We received collard green seeds from Julie K T from Portland OR, and these seeds are happy with our soil. The vegetable garden looks beautiful and is growing well. The Portland children are already benefiting from this addition to their meals.
The mango and pineapple gardens are well maintained and are doing very well. Now that they are established and yielding fruit, we hope that this will be an additional source of income, as well as supplementing the diet of the Portland School children.
As of this year, the parents’ community has split into 7 different savings groups. Each group has a team leader and 30 members at most. In addition to saving money, they also discuss important issues affecting their communities. Everyone seems happy in their groups and there seems to be a competition in terms of savings. At the end of the year, they will divide their savings among the members of the groups based on the percentage each has paid. The intention of these savings groups is to allow members to accumulate enough money that by the end of the year, they can afford to buy something for their families, especially cloth to make new clothes for Christmas and good food for the festive season.
As you may be aware, PCE began operations by matching mentors with students to enable them to continue with their education, with a long-term goal of increasing the capacity of local families to support the education of their children. Since then, we have worked continuously with the communities through various projects that have included education, livelihood, agriculture, preventive health care interventions and cultural exchange to enable the families to become more self-sufficient. Throughout these initiatives, we have received strong support from the local communities of over 70,000 people in two districts.
We are gradually engaging the parents and guardians in the financial support of their children’s education by encouraging creativity and hard work within the communities. For example, we now ask them to raise money to cover the cost of transporting the students to school and encourage their purchase of the basic school needs and food requirements of their children. We believe that easy hand-outs do not lead to sustainable communities, but rather breeds dependency syndrome, which is not an effective way to fight poverty.
At the end of the year, we will share with you the financial report which includes the parents’ contributions.
Each year, we receive many guests from overseas, who all bring new ideas, broaden our communities’ knowledge, and take home rich experiences of their own. Since January, we have hosted 30 guests:
- Six from Australia with the Little Africa Tour Company
- Nine dental volunteers from Germany
- Two mentors from Australia and the U.S.
- One from Holland who came to train Portland School teachers
- Twelve local guests from Tororo and other districts across Uganda
We expect to receive nine more overseas guests from Australia, Germany and the United States before the end of this year. In addition, the Little Africa Tour Company will bring a group of six every January to experience what life is like in our remote community as part of their East African Adventure.
We encourage anyone and everyone to visit; you empower and teach us so much, and you too will learn a lot from us. Please read our volunteer guide for details: https://pce-foundation.org/volunteer-guide
We are excited to report that 30 students are graduating from vocational schools, colleges and universities between December 2018 and June 2019! This is a huge success for Uganda as a whole; and an incredible achievement for our rural community. These teachers (primary and secondary), economist, accountants, nurses and a medical doctor will have an impact on so many lives. We are very grateful to all of our sponsors and mentors who have been so committed in supporting these students for the past 6 years! What a difference your help has made!
We would love to have you attend your mentee’s graduation, the result of your dedicated support!
Here is our school calendar for the remainder of the year. It’s hard to believe this year is already halfway done!
Primary, secondary, vocational and teacher training school students enjoyed their school holidays; most of them reported back to school on June 4th, although a few returned as early as May 27th. They will break off again on August 24.
Nurses are still in college, they will break off for two weeks in July, then resume classes until May 2019.
The College and University students have just completed examinations, and the majority of them have completed their 3 year degree courses. The next semester for those who are going forward with their new academic semester starts in August. On the same note; graduation ceremony for Kyambogo University students is this December, Makerere University students will graduate in January 2019, the dates are not yet confirmed.
Portland School Update
Portland School, initiated by the community under the PCE Foundation, is the first and only school in Amor village. The school now has 250 children; 79 are sponsored by individuals from around the globe, and the rest supported through parents’ contributions which cover food and scholastic needs. The children of Portland school are neat, healthy, happy and very active.
They don’t necessarily have everything they need while at school, they are just far luckier than other children elsewhere who must study on an empty stomach from morning to evening. They have committed teachers who do not beat them (unlike many schools); they get to meet and interact with our guests, etc.
Robin and Geoff Heatherington have for the past 5 months donated shoes to the children in Portland school, many of these children never had shoes to wear on their little feet, and many of those who did had worn them out. They have also donated 40 tables and 80 chairs to the elementary section of Portland school. Thanks to Robin and Geoff!
Terre Burton, one of our pioneer sponsors and a mentor donated 20 desks to Portland school in April.
I talked with many of the Portland students yesterday and asked them about their most pressing needs. The wish list was long, including more rice, play equipment, a school van . . . but there was one creative need that stood out: instruments for a brass band. They said they need a brass band so that they can entertain people on special occasions. They also felt they would be able to generate income with it to support and meet their school needs.
If you know of anyone who could support the purchase of brass instruments for these kids, why not tell him/her?
We have ‘rescued’ and supported 11 children and families this year alone. These were neglected children, children with serious health risks, orphans, and children from extremely impoverished families. Anna, Mary, Osca, Simon and Teddy are happily studying and boarding at Portland school while Daniel, Dorothy, Getrude, and Mary commute from their homes. Pope Tom (8 months old) and Mercy Alyssa (1 year and 3 months) live with me.
If your mentee/sponsored student is one of those who just completed their college programs or are just about to complete their education and you feel like supporting another student for the next 2 -3 years, please let us know. We currently have 61 students without sponsors, and the community fund-raising initiatives will be insufficient for some time to cover the educational costs.
Supporting any of these students will reduce our current challenges and struggles.
Extra acts of kindness
We would like to mention the names of people who have given extra support to our community during this year so far. We appreciate all of you for your kind and continued support.
- Anita B and Kimberly I donated 2 large cooking pots and 78 plates for the Portland school children
- Ann and Christopher FCT donated 12 single seater desks to Portland school
- Karen B – sponsoring 40 children in Portland school, 4 girls in nursing, teaching and plumbing school
- Kirsty M – educating and feeding Dorothy, a 15-year-old girl born with and living with HIV
- Lisa B – always donates to support any emergencies, whenever she can
- Lorraine S – donates to support any emergency needs, especially car repair. Sharon S and Robin and Geoff, Donna T have also been very supportive with our car repair and servicing
- Robin and Geoff, Rebecca B, Ruth B, and Sumru E – donate monthly to support Beatrice’s family
- Shelby Y – donates monthly to support the PCE administrative costs
- Sharon S and Connor S – built a house for a homeless family in Amor village
- Ted and Lindsey C – managing the website for PCE – are based in U.S
- Terre B – donated 20 four seater desks to Portland school
Lastly, 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 school and college circulars to any of our supporters who may be interested in them. These include the schools’ direct contact information in case of need for verifications.
We also encourage you to visit in person, to see the impact of your donation. You will be very welcome!
Have any question or concerns? Please write to us.
Wishing you the very best of the remaining half of the year!
Beatrice Achieng Nas