Even Ground

Even Ground strives to help families and communities break the cycles of poverty and inequality by providing support to community-based programs that offer high-quality education and care to young people in Africa. We envision communities where all young people, regardless of their economic background, are given high-quality education and care to ensure a fair start in life and set them on the path towards a brighter future. UNAIDS estimates that to date, a staggering 14 million children have been orphaned by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV in the world and by 2025, it is estimated that 40% of South African adults will have died of t...
May 16, 2014

Bandile Starts a Garden

Bandile
Bandile

This is the story of Bandile, who was 17 years old and doing grade 8 for the second time when Thanda’s agriculture after-school program came to his rural Sizanayo High School. Outside a humble school building set amidst rural hills dotted with huts and cows, the children learned to grow vegetables- something that had been lost during the turmoil of South Africa’s last 100 years. Bandile was the last born of 3 children and didn’t know anything about planting, but he immediately became passionate about agriculture and set up his own garden at home too. He taught his retired father and unemployed mother how to garden and they started helping each day. Bandile borrowed many books from the library set up by Thanda at his high school and he passed grade 8 with Thanda’s after-school help.

Today, Bandile is known around the community for his dedication to agriculture and his knowledge on organic permaculture. Teachers and local community members buy their vegetables from him and he’s supporting his household with this income. If you ever meet Bandile along the path, people say that he’ll turn the conversation to talk about agriculture and start teaching you how to plant.

This is just one of many examples of the changes happening in rural Umtwalume, spurred by Thanda’s agriculture initiatives. Just yesterday a new group of youth come to us, asking for advice and training in their new chicken business. It’s incredibly exciting as we start to see change happen and watch an economy take form.

Sizanayo High School
Sizanayo High School
Learning to plant at Sizanayo
Learning to plant at Sizanayo
Growing tomatoes
Growing tomatoes
Thanda teacher
Thanda teacher
The community
The community
Apr 2, 2014

A Community Celebration

Cutting the cake at the opening ceremony
Cutting the cake at the opening ceremony

Dear friends of Thembanathi,

Since our last quarterly report in December, we've reached some major milestones in our programs here in South Africa. On the 11th of January, over 100 people came together to celebrate the completion of the new Siyabonga Early Childhood Development and Community Center.  Representatives of the traditional authority, the local municipality, and local churches attended, along with the families and students who have participated in our program and community members excited to see this new facility built to benefit all the young people of the area.  We were very pleased that six of our US-based volunteers, as well as the directors and staff from two of our sister projects in South Africa - Thanda and Holy Cross - were able to join in the celebration. Many who spoke expressed appreciation for the people from across the world that made this possible, reminding us all that we are connected no matter how far apart we are or how different the lives we lead. In addition to the many celebratory speeches, there was a great deal of singing and dancing, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and a feast shared by all.  It was a great day for all of us to celebrate the accomplishments of our partners in South Africa and our supporters in the US and elsewhere.   

The next week saw the opening of our two new classrooms just in time for the start of the South African school year on January 16. The children who were with us in our old temporary facilities were delighted by the new classrooms filled with many new amazing materials. While initially a bit more tentative, the 43 new children who have been able to join our programs this year thanks to our expanded facilities have quickly opened up and are beginning to catch up with the others in their skills at learning games, songs, and other activities. The chalkboard walls, a suggestion of one of our advisory board members, have been an especially big hit with all of the children. They love covering the walls in drawings and then helping to wipe the surfaces clean to begin again. The children have also quickly discovered the many new blocks, trucks, dolls, and books – things many of the children had not seen before. It is fun to watch how fast they have become adept at building tall towers and then knocking them down.

It's amazing to think about how far we've come. None of this would have been possible without your generous support. We want to thank you for this! However, in order for the program to continue to serve these needy young people, and to grow to offer services to even more children and their families, we would very much appreciate your ongoing commitment to our programs. Please consider making a pledge to provide monthly support, as this form of support allows us to ensure continuity of care for young children facing adversity. A donation of only $25 per month will ensure that one of our center children continues to receive nutritious hot meals each day, while a $50 monthly pledge will cover the full costs of a young child's education, food and care at our high-quality early childhood center.

Thanks again to all of you for your support. We're excited to see what comes next!

Our team performs at the opening ceremony
Our team performs at the opening ceremony
Children celebrating before the ribbon cutting
Children celebrating before the ribbon cutting
One of our new classrooms
One of our new classrooms
A student enjoying our new chalkboard walls
A student enjoying our new chalkboard walls
A happy student
A happy student

Links:

Mar 31, 2014

Preparing for Graduation: University Scholar News

University Scholar Visit
University Scholar Visit

A heart-felt thank you to all our generous donors from our sponsored scholars in Uganda!

As we mentioned in our 2013 Year End Report, the University Pilot Program was a new initiative of the Uganda Education Project that started in 2012 to provide an opportunity for top students from our secondary programs to continue their studies. The five students were accepted into diploma and degree programs at local universities, which are the equivalent of associates and bachelors degrees in the US. Our university scholars are studying subjects including finance, engineering, nursing and accounting, which will provide the necessary training for advanced careers not possible with only a secondary education.

Three of our scholars in diploma programs are finishing their last semesters and will soon be entering the workforce and entering a new stage of life. In additon to academic scholarships, we provide sponsored students with counselling, career guidance and mentorship, led by our local partner. These sessions are intended to provide scholars with the necessary support, life skills and coaching to make the most of the opportunities provided by their education.

At a recent event, a seminar on real world challenges potential graduates face discussed tactics on how to position onself within the workforce. Additionally, discussion of working towards a culture of giving back to communities in need was held. In addition to empowering youth through education, the Uganda Education Project hopes to instill a sense of community development and service in emerging leaders of the communities where we work.

As you may know, this fall we are hoping to start a new cohort of students for secondary education. This will require an annual budget of $7,000 USD. We appreciate the continued support of each of our donors, and have raised over half of the funds to launch the program. Please spread the word about our project to your friends, family and colleagues who may be interested in supporting our work.

Thank you!

Career Discussion with Scholars
Career Discussion with Scholars
Kayambogo University Visit
Kayambogo University Visit
Nursing Student Visit
Nursing Student Visit
An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $250
  • $500
  • $1,000
  • $3,000
  • $25
    each month
  • $50
    each month
  • $100
    each month
  • $250
    each month
  • $500
    each month
  • $1,000
    each month
  • $3,000
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Even Ground

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Even Ground on GreatNonProfits.org.