Having met the stringent standards of the U.S. Peace Corps as a worthy partner with creditable progams, MCF welcomed, with great delight, our first volunteer - Kasia - onto our team in Kabale. She will be teaching literacy (reading and writing skills in English) to P4 level students at Kengoma for the next year and a half. Our work in Uganda involves improving schools to make them more effective and having a long-term, committed and trained volunteer such as Kasia will make a significant difference in the classroom and in the lives of our beneficiaries (she received three months of compulsory training in local cultural sensitivity on arrival in Uganda).
Kasia is not new to Africa or Uganda. She taught Computer Technology and English for four months in eastern Uganda at the Kaliro Primary Teacher’s College, where she also conducted workshops with the teachers on Positive Behavior Systems and with the students on HIV and malaria. Kasia’s experience, skills, and enthusiasm are a combination that will certainly benefit her students, the Kengoma staff, and MCF. We are very fortunate to have her.
Kasia is not your typical American Peace Corps volunteer, having grown up in Poland and immigrated to the U.S. at age 10 with her parents. Sensitivity to living and working across cultures comes naturally to her, and she possesses a keen desire to immerse herself in and learn from the people she has come to serve. “I love different cultures and being immersed in them,” writes Kasia. “Prior to Uganda, I studied abroad in Costa Rica for six months in 2011, where I studied Spanish intensively. I also backpacked through Costa Rica and Panama for two months before coming to Uganda. I have also visited Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.” A 2012 graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Kasia’s maturity, enthusiasm, and warm personality seem the perfect fit for Kengoma and MCF.
At just 24 years of age, Kasia is not only fluent in Polish, Spanish and English, but also speaks some Luganda and Lusoga—language skills she plans to use to attain fluency in Rukiga! Yet Kasia’s passion for languages and culture are also matched by her love of music, travel, and socializing. “There are many places in the world that I dream of living in,” says Kasia. “I also love all sorts of music and enjoy going to live concerts in my free time. I love being in company with my friends back in the States and I love the outdoors. Camping, hiking, swimming, and discovering natural and beautiful places are my favorite things to do.” Her goals are to be totally engaged in life wherever she goes, which includes living a healthy, happy lifestyle.
It is our hope that Kasia represents the first of a long line of Peace Corps volunteers to come, thus pioneering a mutually advantageous arrangement that will benefit everyone involved—MCF, the Peace Corps, and especially the Kabale community as a whole. It is a win-win situation all around.
Join us as we welcome Kasia and together with you work to make her experience valuable while helping kids learn in a new and exciting environment with a long-term U.S. teacher. Welcome Kasia! And thank you for your interest in our work.
Today we mark an important milestone!
It is exactly 6 years since the first cup of porridge was served in our pilot school-feeding school- Kengoma Primary School in Kabale Municipality, Uganda. What started as a dream to meet children in their impoverished school compounds and help them where they are has become a model school-feeding program that is fully scalable.
Helen had her first cup of porridge in Primary 1 (Grade 1) and she is now a proud candidate in Primary 7 (Grade 7) about to take her national primary leaving exams in November and will be on her way to secondary school (Uganda's middle school) next year. A cup of porridge has meant the world to her. She was born in her grandmother's house and her mother left her after just a few months to look for work (and life) and never returned. Although her whereabouts are vaguely known, Helen's mother has never returned to meet the daughter she had 12 years ago.
Says grandma with a hearty laugh, "she always talks about the porridge with sugar and milk...she enjoys going to school". Helen's mother dropped out of school at age 9 so we know that Helen has already gone further at age 12 thus reducing her chances of getting trapped by the ills of poverty such as early pregnancy cause we know that for each additional year of education, a girl reduces all the risks that come with poverty and we also know that her own children will go to school.
Helen is a success story! She has recently registered for her primary leaving exam. She attends school regularly, she concentrates and works hard. She has good grades and came second in her class last term.
Thanks to you, children like Helen have remained in school and are working hard one day at a time to escape poverty. Your donations help us keep children in school today. Tomorrow is too late! Please donate today to make a difference today.
TODAY IS WORLD HUNGER DAY!
WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIFE OF A HUNGRY SCHOOL CHILD TODAY?
Please help us restore porridge to over 350 school- children at Rushakyi Primary School
My name is Akampurira Alex and I am the headmaster at Rushakyi Primary School which has been supported by the Mpambara Cox Foundation since 2009 providing scholastic materials, volunteers and most importantly by feeding our school children with a cup of porridge everyday.
Unfortunately, we started 2013 academic year without any porridge due to lack of funds. In the past year our partners at Piney Branch Elementary School in Maryland, USA and GlobalGiving helped raise funds to ensure a cup of porridge was available to all 326 school-children and 13 teachers for 190 school days of the year. We served 67,000 cups to be precise and that was thanks to you.
I can tell you that in the short-term, porridge transformed the school:
1) Increasing enrollment;
2) Reducing short-term hunger;
3) Reducing sick days because of improved health;
4) Better concentration; and,
5) Higher attendance numbers as parents sent their children to school.
In the long-term, an entire community is transformed through education. Most rural parents haven’t ever spent a day in a classroom and their children are the first to have the privilege of a free-government aided education. But a hungry child simply cannot learn.
Volunteers from the US arrived at the school during Spring Break 2013 and met the children and did some wonderful things to help morale. We have attached photos from the trip.
PLEASE HELP US RESTORE THE PORRIDGE PROGRAM.
To help us alleviate HUNGER and make a real difference! The Mpambara-Cox Foundation is experienced in delivering the education message along with a cup of porridge: cooking and serving porridge on the school compound with community buy-in and teacher support.
Most of our donations come from individuals like you that are driven to make a change in small ways that add up to big things.
Please make a donation today in honor of world hunger day and help us reach our goal of raising $5000 to feed the school for an entire year: May 2013 – April 2014
As the children at Rushakyi Primary School end their school year (the school year in Uganda extends from February to November), we would like you to know that your contribution helped the Mpambara-Cox Foundation provide 67,000 cups of porridge in 2012!
It all started with you! Your contribution helped us continue an efficiently run program in which we buy food items - firewood, maize porridge flour, milk, and sugar; provide training to and pay our parent cooks; transport food items; buy cleaning supplies to clean cooking and feeding utensils; procure utensils to replace broken ones; monitor and evaluate program delivery; and in the end, put a smile on the face of a school-child, DAILY! Now isn't that 'food for thought'?
Thanks to you, our GlobalGiving supporters, we managed to feed an entire school for an entire school-year! In the large scheme of things, it means we are positively impacting an under-developed nation by impacting a school-child, a family and a community.
More importantly, we are a beacon of hope in a place where hope is hard to come by. For those living in abject poverty, education is in crisis and the opportunity to go to school continues to be a gift. Consider the facts:
Source: United Nations Millennium Development Goals
In Africa, it is a celebration to end the school year because unlike the American education system where every child automatically goes from one grade to the next, the Ugandan child ends the school year and walks home on the last day knowing he or she might never see the inside of a classroom again. They only hope that they can re-enroll and join school the next year. The end of the school year is therefore a time riddled with ‘ifs’.....if parents decide to send them back for another year, if crops don’t fail and there is some extra income to pay the $10 school fees, if they can buy a uniform, book and pencil, if they can efficiently juggle daily labor activities, if there isn’t a sick family member, if, if, if....
Our goal this holiday season is to remove the provision of a daily cup of porridge from the list of 'ifs’ - if there is porridge next year.
Our program is helping children attend school and to date, Rushakyi Primary School has the steadiest attendance of area schools and the least sick days for the student population. We are making a big difference because every incremental year in primary school makes a huge difference.
Source: United Nations Millennium Development Goals
By working in remote and poor schools, MCF is changing lives and giving impoverished children hope for a better future through education. The goal is to give every child in our partner schools the opportunity to gain the critical life skills of numeracy and literacy. No matter how difficult the conditions are for the children at Rushakyi Primary School (and they are very difficult), MCF strives to create a conducive environment for them to learn in a step-by-step program plan. Alleviating short-term hunger is the first step to helping them achieve regular attendance and increased concentration.
For the 326 school children that have gone through an entire year, MCF together with you would like to remove the provision of porridge next year from their long list of ‘ifs’. Will you support MCF again this holiday season as we continue to put a smile on the face and hope in the heart of a school-child through a cup of porridge?
We cannot do it alone, we need your support!
This summer, my children and I spent 5 weeks in Kabale, Uganda, learning about the impact of our programs, visiting schools, volunteering in classrooms and meeting some of the people that MCF is benefiting. While the poverty landscape remained largely unaltered, the difference in our partner schools was very obvious; the children looked better; they were happy and more astute. Whole schools and communities have been transformed, the impact is hard to imagine unless you see it yourself, but through song, dance and poetry, the children told the porridge story and how MCF has changed their lives.
At one school, I met a mother that has a lovely daughter with an interesting name - Sincere. Sincere's school has been part of our porridge program for almost 3 years. We feed the entire school during school days. Her illiterate mother told me how a few years back, the decision to send her then 4 year old daughter to school had been very easy. She added that she intended to keep her there, the reason: the availability and consistency of a daily cup of porridge!
It is difficult for a person that cannot read and write to comprehend the benefits of completing an education even at a basic level. I encouraged her to leave Sincere in school for the whole 7 years by asking her a challenging question. What would it mean to her to have an educated daughter? She simply stood silent; it was too bold of a dream to imagine. She broke her long silence to say something that impressed me the most: "Of all of my 5 (older children), little Sincere is the most driven to succeed, she is also the healthiest, she doesn't get sick as often, and she loves school." "If you stay with us", she added "Sincere will finish school". She is the only child this woman has that has known a guaranteed meal 5 days a week for almost 3 years!
Sincere’s family lives in absolute poverty. Her only chance to escape the cycle of poverty is simple yet complicated. She needs to remain in school to avoid being a mother at 14 like her own mother was, or end up working in the fields for the occasional 25 cents a day like her mother currently does. NOTHING CHANGES THE FORTUNES OF THE POOR LIKE EDUCATION.
Our strategy at MCF is to ensure that the poor children in the free but very under-resourced government-aided schools will have a shot at a better future by remaining in school through programs that enrich their environment - we feed them, provide text books, volunteer to give them hope and skills, equip them with shoes and uniforms, provide microfinance to their mothers and most of all, give them a lot of love!
The children in the schools we are partnered with now know that we have their backs as we have been consistent in our delivery THANKS TO YOU, OUR DONORS.
This poem below was recited by students at Kasinde Primary School when I visited their community on Friday, July 20th. It captures the true essence of our program and demonstrates that the children now get the reason we are providing porridge. It is a lot more powerful when the entire school recites it, but watching and listening to this footage shot from my iPhone will give you a better understanding of the impact of your gift to MCF and the fact that we have to remain committed to changing lives through this simple yet very powerful porridge program.
Please continue to support us; donate today or become a recurring donor to help us maintain our programs and to meet our goal of adding one more school to our program by December 2012. It costs $40 to feed one children in school for one academic year. There are 380 students in the school that awaits porridge - Bugomora Primary School.
TOGETHER WE ARE CHANGING LIVES!
PORRIDGE APPRECIATION POEM - recited by students at Kasinde Primary School (July 20, 2012)
Ohhh Mpambara Mpambara Mpambara
How happy we are!
Both pupils and teachers whom you save from hunger
By providing breakfast
How thankful we are!
The bell goes
We pray to thank God
Running quickly follows
A cup I get
I dance and I play
Oh what a smile!
Long live Mpambara!
For long we have been surviving on what you have provide to us
How grateful we are!
Oh Mpambara what can I talk about you?
We are always bright and active because of what you provide to us
Now academics we have improved; no hunger, no thirst!
Oh Long Live Mpambara!
God reward Mpambara for what they have done for us
For God and My Country.
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