May to November 2020 Update

Dear our supporters and well-wishers,

Greetings to you, from PCEF family!

It has been a while since we last updated you about the ongoing activities, projects and programs here at the grassroots.

We have registered several achievements in the past 5 months, and we are very excited to share with you these achievements because you are part of this journey with us in so many ways.

We have moved to a new location

We are happy to inform you that 3 months ago, we moved our satellite office and home from Kampala – the capital city, to Jinja district. This new location gets us closer to the local communities where we have been implementing projects and programs for the past 9 years.

We had not planned to make such a move, but in June our Kampala Landlord told us they were going to sell the house we had lived and worked in for the last 7 years. Although he offered to sell it to us, the price was too high. I and the 11 girls living with me were told we had to vacate by the end of August, which left me panic stricken. Not knowing what else to do, I reached out to some of our supporters looking for ideas.

The first few responses were discouraging, but then came several positive ones offering not only ideas but financial support to help make them happen. After looking at all the options, it was decided that buying this house in Jinja was the best choice.

We are deeply grateful to; Sumru E, Dr. Diane A, Karen B, Robin H, Haidee, Pamela S, Nancy M, Samantha B, PJ, Joyce F, Anita B, Terre B, Ruth B, Rebecca and Ethan H!

This new home was purchased at 190,000,000UGX. Karen B matched donated funds from 13 supporters who donated to the tune of $16,619. Dr.Diane gave a loan of $22,000.00. We are very grateful to each one of you for helping us realize a dream we never thought would come to pass! The girls, Mercy, Ruth and myself are so happy here!

Some day in the future, if resources allow, we would like to expand our educational support to BUSOGA region of Uganda (Jinja, Kamuli, Mayigwe, Iganga and Bugiri). Busoga is one of the poorest and underdeveloped communities in Uganda. It is now our new home. It is only fair to make a difference whenever possible, given the required resources.

Four dormitories constructed, two completed

Thanks to your support, we have built four dormitories for Portland schools in the past 5 months.

COVID-19 has changed the Ugandan education system. The current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) requires that a school is either run as a boarding or as a day school but not both. Portland was initially operating as both a boarding and day school, but since the majority of the day students come from families who can barely afford a meal a day, we decided to register Portland as a boarding school..

To sit students for national examinations, the Ministry of Education required all schools to fulfil the SOPs in order to be given a certificate to operate. We are happy to inform you that Portland was granted an operation certificate as a boarding school and classes are currently ongoing for the candidate level students.

To have an adequate number of boarding rooms, we would like to complete the remaining two dormitories, to include toilets and installation of solar power. There is no electricity in Portland, solar power is of great use in all the classrooms and dormitories.

Funded projects

We received funding worth 2,467,334UGX from Peace Direct, which was originally intended for purchase of a laptop and a projector. However, in consultations with Peace Direct, we purchased and installed 6 horn speakers, an amplifier and solar power. Horn speakers became a priority because they help us spread information to communities now that we can no longer host gatherings with large numbers of people due to COVID.

These horn speakers help us reach out to 5 villages. Education on agriculture, domestic violence, sex education, and COVID-19 among other topics is shared.

Sustainable programs and emerging entrepreneurship programs

COVID-19 has placed us in a position of building on new and existing sustainable projects. Additionally, we are shifting our focus to sustainably support Portland Nursery, Primary and High Schools in order to provide educational services to young people through these schools and only outsource post secondary education support services.

As you might be aware, in the past years we have been ferrying students to city secondary schools, which became more expensive than we could afford. This was why we started Portland High school this year – to provide educational services to vulnerable young people right at the grassroots.

We have also lost several supporters due to the impact of COVID-19 on their jobs, families and health. Charities are staggering right now in Uganda; several charities have even closed because of the financial crisis impacting all of us globally. We are lucky and very grateful that we are still on the ground, with your continued support.

With that said, our latest development is the upcoming bakery project which is intended to generate income to meet the running costs for PCEF and Portland schools. The first phase of this project has been securing a business premise which is currently being furnished. The second and final phase will be securing equipment, materials and getting the project rolling.

We are very grateful to Karen B for the loan offered for this project. We will update you in the near future about the progress of this income, employment and training program.

We recently received positive news from Christian African Relief Trust UK about possibly funding a banana, poultry and cattle project for Portland schools. This is also aimed at generating income for these schools, as well as improving food security and acting as agricultural training model farm for other schools and the surrounding communities.

This project will support the growing of 700 banana trees, and the acquisition of 200 chickens and 6 dairy cows for these schools.

Other ongoing small scale projects at Portland school include beekeeping, pineapple and banana growing, as well as poultry raising on a very small scale.

We are always lobbying for projects that will generate income and our current appeal is for chickens, to build on and expand the Poultry project. We would like to rear at least 2000 birds in order to generate an income and profit that can help support the education of children in Portland schools.

This festive season, we would like to ask you, your family and/or friends to donate chickens to Portland schools’ farm. A grown chicken ready to lay eggs costs USD $6.7. Any amount of donation would be greatly appreciated and applied to this project!

Community aid interventions

Since COVID-19 started, we have given food aid to over 1000 families. This has been possible through individual donations from you our supporters which has greatly helped families. Unfortunately, there’s increasing starvation in many of the extremely impoverished families.

Even if it is not sustainable to keep giving out food aid, we find it necessary to try because it reduces the rates of violence in families, and helps prevent desperate families from trading off their daughters for marriage in exchange for foodstuffs.

For only $20 USD, you can feed a family for a month, and if you choose to make it a monthly donation, you will make a tremendous difference in their lives. Please consider making this commitment.

We are very grateful to Eva H, Kathryn G, Patti H, Robin H, Samantha B, and Susan S for their support in emergency aids to the suffering people at the grassroots. This includes supporting a young woman with spinal cord illness, helping elderly women who were starving, and assisting mothers facing domestic violence. These emergency support funds have made life a little easier and given hope to those who have been helped.

We are also making appeals for the construction of houses for extremely poor families who are living in mischief/half fallen houses. These include mothers and children abandoned by their husbands, and helpless elderly women and men who do not have adequate shelter.

Veeda’s family – extraordinary kids Keithan and Keisha, and beneficiaries of A More Balanced World (AMBW), recently donated $345 out of their savings to build a home for a needy family who badly needed a roof over their head. Star Action also donated $800 to build a house for a helpless woman whose husband abandoned her and their children, and who had nowhere to go. We are very grateful!

We would like to acknowledge Garry K and Oliver W who funded housing for the young men they sponsor; Lawrence, Peter and Richard are so happy to own their own houses.

These beneficiary families are very grateful, and we at PCEF appreciate your support!

The dire need for housing for the needy was brought to our attention recently when a dilapidated house collapsed on an old widower. He died instantly. We encourage anyone able to help secure a house for the needy to get in touch with us.

Local news agencies report increasing teenage pregnancy, early marriages, alarming numbers of school drop-outs, high rates of domestic violence as well as child abuse which is greatly impacting Uganda, especially the grassroots communities. With that said, a 14 year old young and vulnerable girl we currently support is currently 5 months pregnant, one of the hundreds of pregnant young girls at the grassroots. Communities continue to suffer from the consequences of COVID-19 and it is getting worse with the increasing infections and deaths. There are 14,704 active cases, 7,771 recovered and 133 deaths. With the ongoing political campaigns, we worry that infection rates might get out of hand because of the massive crowds attracted.

Students without sponsors

Schools opened for candidate class students in September. We have 79 candidate class students in nursing colleges, universities and secondary schools, and in Portland primary school. 28 of these students do not have sponsors. As you may remember, we enrolled 35 deserving young people in schools in 2017 as requested by a prospective donor who ended up sponsoring none of them. We are struggling and have struggled for the past 4 years to keep all of them in school. With your continued support, we have not dropped any them out of the program to-date, but it has been difficult.

If you are able to make any monthly donation, the load would become lighter for us. It doesn’t have to be for the full sponsorship. If you know of anybody who wants to sponsor a young person to help them realize their dream, please get in touch with me.

Clothing for the needy this festive season

This festive season we are also looking into donating clothes and shoes to vulnerable grassroots children, as we did last year. Some children don’t have clothes or underwear; some have never owned a pair of shoes in their lives. Last year we donated clothes, shoes and underwear to over 700 children. It costs $9.4 to buy clothes, underwear and shoes for one child. Please support this project if you can.

We know and understand that many people are undergoing financial crisis in one way or another regardless of where they live. We are aware of the political crises all around the world and the impact they have on people’s lives. We also know that we have identified many different areas that desperately need funding in this newsletter, and that no one can contribute to them all. However, your past support has been deeply appreciated, and we hope that you will continue supporting our work in any way you can.

To donate to support our work, please visit our Donate page.

With the presidential elections ongoing in many countries around the world including Uganda, we pray for peace, democracy and transparency.

Thank you so much again for supporting our work!