Bitone Children's Center

To enhance the lives and hopes of Ugandan children between 8 and 18 years old who are traumatized by the death of their parents or loss of their home due to disease, war, or economic hardship using music and dance. Our core objective is to support disadvantaged Ugandan children through provision of food, shelter, clothing, education, and counseling/mentoring.
Oct 18, 2010

Bitone Voices of Hope

Bitone Troupe Perfom on a Wedding
Bitone Troupe Perfom on a Wedding

Bitone Updates:

Dear friend, we would like to thank you for your continued support towards Bitone center for disadvantaged children. Thanks again for considering supporting us through Global Giving. It’s our pleasure working with you as we offer life skills to our needy children through providing shelter, education and arts empowerment. We sincerely appreciate and value your contribution so highly!

Our efforts are continually inspired by everyday success stories of our current 24 children. The Bitone’s wholistic approach which unlocks the potential of this generation by providing tools for success in life, creating confident, skillful, visionary leaders re-affirms that children can take charge of their lives if given an opportunity. Values of trustworthiness, sincerity, tolerance, empathy and interpersonal intelligence continue to grow in each child every day.

Located in Lugoba Village Kawempe Division in Kampala District, Bitone Children's Center has established itself as a home for rebuilding voices of hope. By educating community members through our regular music and dance trainings and performances in our local village and across the country, we help raise awareness of children’s vulnerabilities and their rights.

Bitone Website Progress:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to launch the New Website as we promised. The person who was developing the site eventually failed due lack of adequate skills and resources. Currently, we are seeking for any volunteer who might be willing to offer their technical skills or advice in developing this highly needed new site. Our current site is at: www.bitonechildren.org  In case you are interested in offering any kind of help on this matter, kindly contact our Executive Director –Branco Lawrence Sekalegga at: brancolarrys@yahoo.com  

Performances:

Bitone Troupe has been hired to perform at a corporate reception on the October 24, 2010 in Kampala. As usual, Bitone children will showcase their new performance repertoire that involves instrumental music, vocal music, poetry and Ugandan traditional dances.   All revenue from this concert will go towards paying the outstanding children medical bills as accumulated in the months of July, August and October.

The troupe’s vision is that by providing artistic training in music and dance, our children’s lives can again become meaningful and productive. We aim at providing the next generation of Ugandans to fully participate and assume leadership roles in their communities.

Academics:

Bitone Center is proud to announce that starting October 18, 2010 our senior four students –Gloria K. Pichan and Rosco Kayongo will begin their final exams (Uganda National Examinations Board) at Kawempe Royal College. The exams will be concluded in late November this year. We would like to wish them great success!

Similarly, our primary candidates –Godfrey Sekitto, Steven Kyobe, Joan Suubi Afochian, Joseph Mayanja, and Sylvia Nansumba will sit for their Primary Leaving Examinations (P.L.E) on November 2nd -3rd this year. We also wish them good luck in their academic endeavors.

This is one of our busiest academic semesters and we invite you to continue support these young ones in any way possible to help them ensure academic success. With your help, we can make a powerful investment into Uganda’s future and elsewhere in the world. If you would like to sponsor a child for a year (or part of the year), or provide any other forms of education assistance, please consider making a donation. The current education costs for our children are as below:

  • Primary School (13 students): $150 per term or $450 per year:
  • Secondary School (9 students): $170 per term or $510 per year:
  • University Level (2 students): $400 per term or $800 per year:

We would also like to share with you our current Bitone plans as part of the resources needed for the benefit of Bitone children. As always, gifts to Bitone Children's Center perform forever. Your continuous gifts/donations support the center and meet the needs of the children far into the future. Even though most of our children had lost meaning in life, it’s because of the power of love, their lives have been transformed and given meaning with new hope and a new start.

We invite you to make a donation to support any of our current special projects below:

1. Solar Cookers: In an attempt to reduce the costs spent on charcoal, Bitone seeks to obtain 3 solar cookers for cooking purposes. Every month, Bitone spends about $115.00 on charcoal purchases. Acquiring solar cookers will also help address the global environmental issues such as global warming and respiratory healthy complications to which our children are vulnerable.

2. Solar Powered Refrigerators: These will help keep perishable foods and fruits longer. They will also assist in keeping water safe and clean for the children to prevent water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and typhoid.

3. Sound Equipment for Bitone Performances: We seek to obtain our own sound equipment so revenue received from Bitone Troupe performances is not absorbed by costly equipment rental. These include;

a.    Amplifiers (02) –professional 4,000 Watts

b.    Mixers (02) –Minimum 12 output channel

c.     Microphones (15) –divided into cordless, clipped and cabled

d.    Microphone stands: Minimum (10)

e.    Speakers: Tops (4) and Basses (2)–full range (1,000 Watts)

f.      Stage lights: Portable (1 full set)

g.     Step down/Converter/Power stabilizer: 240 Voltage (2)

h.    Speaker-ons, wires and cross-over for speakers (several)

i.      Power generator (1)

4. Rain Water Storage Tank Combo: Installing a water tank will ensure efficient water supply at the center for hygienic purposes –washing, cooking, showering etc.

5. Indoor and Outdoor games: During leisure time, kids need to engage in such games for health purposes, and to boost the socialization aspect on which Bitone is built. So, we seek to acquire various children’s and youth games that are appropriate to them.

As always, we would like to hear from you –what you think about our project and/or if there is anything you would like us to address!

If you have any inquiries, please write to our Executive Director at brancolarrys@yahoo.com

Thank you!

Godfrey rocking on the Bass Adungu
Godfrey rocking on the Bass Adungu
Steven in Class at Kawempe Royal
Steven in Class at Kawempe Royal
Angel in a Dance Workshop
Angel in a Dance Workshop
Augustine Composing on a Bow Harp
Augustine Composing on a Bow Harp
Bitone kids enjoying a party
Bitone kids enjoying a party

Links:

Aug 2, 2010

Thank you and Updates!

Kids in a dance rehearsal July 24, 2010
Kids in a dance rehearsal July 24, 2010

Thank you and updates:

On behalf of Bitone Children and Staff, I wish to thank all of you who have supported our project. As a non-profit organization, we cannot overemphasize the essential role that you play in ensuring our future success and sustainability. Please continue and consider increasing your support of our on-going efforts!

Although the measurable impact was intended for the 11 boys and 13 girls currently at the Bitone center, there is no doubt that the project has and will continue to benefit and enrich many others in the Lugoba village (location of the center), the surrounding community and Uganda as a whole. Bitone staff and many volunteers have experienced many occasions at the center when neighbors and people of the village support the efforts being made at the center. On site rehearsals draw neighborhood children who watch and support the Troupe. Below are some of the updates from Bitone Center.

Bitone Website:

Bitone will be launching a New Website in the coming month. This highly improved site will feature all the Bitone programs and will offer a forum for learning more about our children’s everyday lives and the on-going efforts for Bitone. On the same site, you will learn more about the incredible staff and volunteers who have consistently supported the Bitone mission. The site will also present various ways on how to get involved in the entire Bitone Program. Our domain name will remain as: www.bitonechildren.org

Performances:

July 10th, 2010: Bitone Troupe performed on a classic wedding at Serena Hotel. The children’s excellent dance and exceptional musical skills irresistibly enthralled the audience from start to the end. A Californian audio engineer and Bitone supporter, Grant Buhr witnessed the marvelous show. Children were smartly clad in some of the costumes resources you generously donated several months ago.

July 17th, 2010: The children performed on an introduction ceremony in Nsooba community village. This was yet another opportunity for the children to show case their newly launched dance and music repertoire. Dances performed included; Ekitaguriro from Ankole (Western Uganda), Otwenge from Northern Uganda and Bakisimba from Central Uganda. The show which lasted for about 5 hours moved the audience and brought more joy in the lives of the children and the community members.

The troupe’s vision is that by providing artistic training in music and dance, our children’s lives can again become meaningful and productive. We aim at providing the next generation of Ugandans to fully participate and assume leadership roles in their communities

Academics:

We are pleased to inform you that our daughter Elizabeth Nantongo who finished high school last year has been admitted at Makerere University, Kampala to pursue a degree in Community Psychology. We thank you all for your prayers and support. Elizabeth is the second Bitone member to reach University level after Deborah Nabatanzi who is now in her second year at Kampala International University, doing a degree in Human Resource Management. Congratulations Elizabeth and everyone! You made us proud.

Whereas Elizabeth’ news comes with high excitement, it also presents some challenges. We are therefore still counting on your support to allow our children stay in school to achieve academic success desired as our mission always stands for.

“I could never believe that one day I would be enrolled in a University. I wish to thank everyone for facilitating this achievement. I am also thankful to my fellow children at Bitone Center for the great love and encouragement they have shown me since I turned a high school candidate. Thank you my brothers and sisters. My dream after school is to stop community evils particularly rape and defilement of young girls. Girls need empowerment to contribute successfully to the community and I am sure, with education, I can do it” said Elizabeth Nantongo.

In more related news, this year, two Bitone children hope to sit for their senior four (Ordinary Level) national exams. Gloria and Rosco are expected to sit for the final exams in October 2010 at Kawempe Royal College. We wish them success!

In similar news, our primary candidates Godfrey, Steven, Joan and Sylvia are also preparing for their primary leaving examinations scheduled for November this year. We also wish them good luck in their academic endeavors. We invite you to continue support these young ones in any way possible to help them ensure academic security. In Uganda, education costs continually present a big challenge yet Africa's future depends on the education of its children. Due to conditions of poverty coupled with high rate of employment, education is out of reach for most children. We are committed to providing quality education for our current capacity of 24 children. With your help, we can make a powerful investment into Uganda’s future and elsewhere in the world. If you would like to sponsor a child for a year (or part of the year), or provide any other forms of education assistance, please consider making a donation. Below is the break-down of the current education costs.

Primary School (13 students): $150 per term or $450 per year: Secondary School (9 students): $170 per term or $510 per year: University Level (2 students): $400 per term or $800 per year:

Alternatively, you may choose to support some of our current Strategic Plans and Needs for this year as below. We welcome any advice and partnerships to enable us secure these resources for the benefit of the disadvantaged children, Uganda and elsewhere in the world.

1.Solar Cookers: In an attempt to reduce the costs spent on charcoal, Bitone seeks to obtain 3 solar cookers for cooking purposes. Every month, Bitone spends about $115.00 on charcoal purchases. Acquiring solar cookers will also help address the global environmental issues such as global warming and respiratory healthy complications which are caused by deforestation and environmental pollution.

2.Solar Powered Refrigerators: Will help keep perishable foods longer. They will also assist in keeping water safe and clean for the children to prevent water-borne diseases resulting from lack of proper storage.

3.Bitone Gardening: Bitone seeks to improve the nutrition intake per child by renting land and grow vegetables and short seasonal fruits. Currently, due to high food prices, the kids are fed primarily maize flour, rice and beans which are also costly. 4.Sound Equipment for Bitone Performances: We seek to obtain our own sound equipment so revenue received from Bitone Troupe performances is not absorbed by costly equipment rental. These include; a. Amplifiers (02) –professional 4,000 Watts b. Mixers (02) –Minimum 12 output channel c. Microphones (15) –divided into cordless, clipped and cabled d. Microphone stands: Minimum (10) e. Speakers: Tops (4) and Basses (2)–full range (1,000 Watts) f. Stage lights: Portable (1 full set) g. Step down/Converter/Power stabilizer: 240 Voltage (2) h. Speaker-ons, wires and cross-over for speakers (several) i. Power generator (1)

5.Performance Tours Program: Bitone could become self sustaining through performance tours and workshops. So far, Bitone Troupe has won national and international recognition for their performance excellence. We believe that performance tours will help Bitone Center generate more revenue and at the same time develop more partnerships. Bitone seeks resources to develop international performance tours in the U.S., Europe and other countries to further foster international exchange and development.

6.Studio/ Computer Resource: With the current music skills and repertoire built by Bitone kids, we are seeking resources to open up a music recording studio for children’s technological resourcefulness. The studio will also be used as a resource for revenue by attracting local and international musicians who may wish to make recordings. The Computer resource will provide opportunities for the kids to learn basic computer applications, facilitate literacy and education research.

7.Indoor and Outdoor games: During leisure time, kids need to engage in such games for health purposes, and to boost the socialization aspect on which Bitone is built. So, we seek to acquire various children’s and youth games that are appropriate to the cause.

If you have any inquiries, please write to our Executive Director at brancolarrys@yahoo.com

Thank you!

Grant sharing guitar skills to Steven
Grant sharing guitar skills to Steven
Deborah supervising the center
Deborah supervising the center
Hassan Kayemba, Co-founder performs
Hassan Kayemba, Co-founder performs
Elizabeth Nantongo
Elizabeth Nantongo

Links:


Attachments:
May 12, 2010

Bitone Children Updates May 2010

Angel: Head Girl for Sanitation at her School
Angel: Head Girl for Sanitation at her School

Dear Bitone friends,

Warm greetings to you all from Bitone children and staff. We congratulate you for whatever success you have achieved since we last heard from you, and we wish you luck in your next endeavors. We wish to thank you for your continued support towards Bitone programs. Thank you so much. Your advices, guidance, and support will always be appreciated. On behalf of the children and staff, I would like to update you on a number of issues as they have emerged in the past three months:

Recent Expenditures: Here are the successes achieved in the past three months: • Six Bitone candidates sat and successfully passed their examinations. • In April, Bitone Troupe was hired to perform at two local weddings in Kampala. The troupe raised a total of $400.00 which has been used to purchase food staffs. • $340 was spent on children’s medical bills and supplies. • $1,792 has been spent on procuring food staffs and home supplies and personal items for the kids during the months of March and April. • $150 has been spent to buy school uniforms for all primary kids at Guiding Star primary school.

Costume-making Project: Due to financial constraints, we have not been able to procure the remaining needed set of costumes as we had hoped. According to our initial budgets, Bitone is still looking out for funds to make the following dance costumes to enable us mitigate hiring costs which depletes a big portion of our performance revenue. Below are the dances and their cost structure for which we are seeking financial assistance: Name of Dance Quantity Cost Ekizino 25 pieces $375 Ekitaguriro 25 pieces $300 Tamenaibuga 14 pieces $210 Mwaga 25 pieces $375 Amaggunju 25 pieces $375 Otole 25 pieces $375 Bamagara 18 pieces $210 Dingding 14 pieces $375 Gaze 14 pieces $210

Academics: We wish to congratulate all the Bitone Children who successfully completed their various levels of education. 1. Aisha Nabitosi completed her senior four at Excel High School and past in the 1st grade. She was the best candidate at her school and was awarded a certificate of recognition. Vision Uganda –a Ugandan based organization which gives education scholarships to academically successful students has awarded tuition assistance to Aisha for her senior five year of study in recognition of her academic excellence. She is now pursuing her education at Gayaza School in the science department offering Math, Physics, Economics and Entrepreneurship subjects. Bitone is really proud of her achievements. 2. Damalie Nabanakulya completed her senior four level of education at Kawempe Royal College and past in the 2nd grade. She is offering arts subjects with emphasis on economics. Her dream is to become a woman activist –a voice to all women who are mistreated because of their gender and societal-cultural placement. 3. Mary Nansamba completed her senior four level of education at Kawempe Royal College and past in the 3rd grade. She is now majoring in the arts subjects and her dream is to become a school teacher. 4. Elizabeth Nantongo completed High School at Happy Hours Secondary School. She scored 13 points and she is pending joining College /University in August this year 2010. She was the second best performing student at her school. Elizabeth would like to purse her degree in Human Rights subject to position her with means to create a social positive change in Ugandan local communities. She is particularly interested in promoting the values of a girl-child and her goal is to fight vices of rape, defilement and child labor. 5. Junior Kiiza successfully finished primary seven and has now joined senior one at Kawempe Royal College. He scored a super second grade. At Kawempe Royal College, he has been offered a half bursary for the coming 2nd term of study because of his outstanding academic performance he showed last term. 6. Steven Seguya completed his primary education with a 2nd grade. Steven also joined Kawempe Royal College and like his colleague Junior, he has been awarded a half bursary because of his academic excellence.

We congratulate you Bitone kids and we wish for you success in your academic endeavors. Meanwhile, this year, we have five (5) primary candidates studying at Guiding Star Primary school and three (2) senior four candidates at Kawempe Royal College. They hope to sit for the national examinations at the end of this year. Unfortunately, Aisha Nandujja was unable to register for the said Examinations (UNEB) because of her sight and hearing illness. We pray that she gets well and rejoin her academic journey soon.

Bitone Home Affairs: We wish to report to you that the general welfare of our children has continued to reflect great values despite the on-going financial constraints bitone is facing. Each day that passes, kids become more aware of their future roles and value. By providing healing, intellectual, education and interaction through music and dance, our children's voices have reverberated- offering strength to talk about their past with assurance. We would like to invite you pay us a visit at the center and share with you our love, smiles, and talent. We call upon any interested volunteers to work with us in the various programs Bitone offers.

Bitone Troupe (Music and Dance Project): The Bitone music and dance troupe has continued to become more vibrant and recognizable both in our local communities and across the country. Every kid has mastered a wider range of performance repertoire which includes dancing, singing, and instrument playing. We do hope to generate more revenue through the children’s performances to assist the center. Currently, due to lack of sound machines, enough costumes, and other resources required for a performance, most of our revenue is depleted through hiring such resources. You may access the Bitone music and children’s stories through the following links: http://www.myspace.com/bitonetroupe or http://www.bitonetroupe.blogspot.com/

Action Plan: Once again we would like to thank all of you for the support you have rendered to us in support of the children. In lieu of the current financial challenges, the management of Bitone Center is currently considering to initiate small scale programs which will help the center acquire the needed resources and to form partnerships with schools, organizations or any interested individuals. Some of the thought programs include:

1. Gardening: Leasing a sizeable pieces of land one which we can grow vegetables, fruits and short term growing crops. This project will not only improve on the nutrition intake per child but also will provide opportunities for the children to learn and acquire basic gardening skills for their future life. It is our intent to equip the children with such extra valuable resources.

2. Solar Cookers: Bitone seeks to buy and install solar cookers at the center in response to the global environmental concerns and to the rising prices for charcoal. Since its inception in 2004, Bitone has been using charcoal for cooking costing us about $ 8.00 per day. Money spent on buying charcoal could be used to support children’s education or other home-related needs. Three solar cookers can efficiently serve the center. Currently, each solar cooker costs $243.00 according to the: http://www.altestore.com/store/Energy-Efficient-Products/Solar-Ovens/Global-Sun-Oven/p1654/. Any assistance on this project item is highly appreciated.

3. Pen pal Program: In January, Bitone initiated a pen pal program between students of Greenville school and Bitone Center in which they share their personal stories, struggles, successes, dreams and everyday life. Initially, the program is made possible through letter writing. The future plan is to involve music sharing in which members of both groups will work on a single musical item in succession. The project is aimed at helping kids find confidence in expression and at the same time learn life (cultural interaction) of each others countries. We believe that young people can be charged with responsibility to talk about issues concerning their communities and propose possible solutions to those challenges. Bitone would like to have more pen pal programs with other schools, clubs, etc. Kindly let us know of any interested parties in this project idea.

4. Performance Tours: One of our best achievements so far has been the formation of Bitone Dance and Music performance Troupe made up of Bitone children. The troupe performs a varied repertoire of professionally designed/ choreographed Uganda traditional music, dance, and folklore. Currently, we are seeking opportunities on launching performance tours both locally and internationally. Apart from raising self esteem, confidence as well as psychological and physiological well-being of the children, this project will definitely generate revenue for the center. Anyone interested in helping us launch this project is welcome.

Finally, we would like to welcome any suggestions, support, advice, and any other forms of assistance needed to complete these projects. Please let us know what you think about these plans. We would love to hear from you. Thank you so much and as always “In art We Unite”. For more information about the above projects or general inquiries, please write to our Executive Director at: brancolarrys@yahoo.com

Godfrey: Head of Children
Godfrey: Head of Children's Disciplinary Committee
Steven: Sharing his skills with Ryan
Steven: Sharing his skills with Ryan
Branco: Playing with his Kids at the Center
Branco: Playing with his Kids at the Center
MusicTherapy: Ryan plays empowering guitar music
MusicTherapy: Ryan plays empowering guitar music
Donation: Kids receive blankets from Ryan and Abby
Donation: Kids receive blankets from Ryan and Abby
Kids perform for locals at Bitone Center
Kids perform for locals at Bitone Center

Links:


Attachments: