Dear Mentors and supporters,
A lot has happened since our last update for RGCM, the families and other community projects. Here are the highlights:
The passion fruits have been harvested and sold, earning USD $205. The 100 passion fruit seedlings donated by Sumru Erkut in June of last year have done amazingly, generating funds that will be used to improve and expand not only the passion fruit project, but others as well. The pineapples donated by Melinda Naderi last year are growing healthy, and likely to start fruiting toward the end of this year.
The mango project undertaken by the girls during the holidays last year went well! Based on the data collection report by Agolla Mary Sylvia, one of our college mentees who has been doing her internship with us, there were a total of 285 mango seedlings planted by end of May. The highest number planted per mentee was seventy. Thirteen of the mentees could not plant mangoes, due to reasons such as inadequate land and drought. We also harvested many of the mangoes from the 100 trees that were planted in 2012.
The Library and Meeting Hall construction project has also grown tremendously. Around April of this year, we resumed construction from the slab level with support from the fundraising efforts of Joana Dias. Additional support came in recently from Lorraine Salmon and Derick Kay, allowing the construction to progress almost to the roofing level. We are very grateful to the donations that made this possible. Unfortunately the work is again at a standstill until additional funding is secured.
The Mentees are currently in good health. In the past few weeks, we had several cases of Malaria and Typhoid. The sick girls were treated and are currently doing well.
We have a new volunteer who will be helping with the sponsorship administration/coordination. Maarten Bastiaansen, a teacher by profession with 10 years of social work experience, is my dear friend from Holland who is settling in Uganda and plans to help support community initiatives and developments. He is a very social, innovative and transparent individual who is interested in helping with PCE Foundation and its projects. The group may receive emails from him from time to time, so I wanted to introduce him to you.
The College Admission results for 14 of our mentees came out this week! Although the results have not yet been officially released/issued to the students, I have learned that all of our mentees have received placements at the colleges and universities! Several have been admitted into Teaching, and one each into Accounting and Finance, Reproductive Health, Journalism, Medicine, and Pharmaceutical schools. As soon as we get the official admission letters, we will send the details to the mentors and sponsors of these mentees.
Although all have been accepted into their respective colleges, to date, six no longer have sponsors. This will prevent them from proceeding with the education that will assure their future unless new sponsors are found.
Ten of our mentees are currently undertaking a primary school teaching profession. They are all happy with their professional paths and are very proud about it. In June, these ten girls were doing school practice. They tell us that they feel so happy when the children they teach call them “teacher” or “madam.” We appreciate you, mentors of these girls for your continued support.
The end of the second term is approaching! Many of the girls will be leaving school for their homes on August 8th. The girls in Senior 4 and 6 will remain in school for more two weeks, and will only have a 1.5 week long break. The third term starts on September 6. Our mentees in Senior 4 and 6 will start their National examinations in October, a little earlier this year.
The increasing cost of postage is becoming a problem. Uganda is currently experiencing a high rate of inflation right now, due to the increased value of the dollar and the recent budget reading of July 1. This has caused a significant increase in the prices of goods and services. Our postage expenses have grown by as much as 40% for both snail mail postage and for the receipt of parcels. To reduce costs, we propose scanning and e-mailing you the letters from the girls. If you have an issue with this, please let us know as soon as possible as we have letters ready for delivery.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our mentors and supporters who have suffered terrible losses. Ruth B. lost her husband quite unexpectedly, Sallie D. lost her father, and Dawn G. passed away due to cancer. Dawn’s husband will continue to support her mentee, Jane.
We are still looking for sponsors for several of the girls who are currently in school, but are without sponsors. If you know of anyone who can donate even $25 – $50 monthly to help support a girl in school, we will try to continue their education. Many thanks to Rita Reutner and Family and Carole Howlett for their help thus far.
Thank you so much for your continuing aid and support to our community and people. It is making a huge difference as we begin to move in the direction of self-sufficiency. It will undoubtedly be a difficult journey, but the strides we have already made give us hope. In the interim, we appreciate your continued support as we continue to work to create positive changes in the rural communities of Tororo and Buteleja.
Beatrice Achieng Nas
Founder and Executive Director