Edison (on the left) is one of two students for whom MCF made primary and secondary school possible. For four years, he and Joram (on the right) have been the pioneer secondary school beneficiaries and they just recently completed their secondary school exams! They are now headed to 'higher' or the last two years of high school. I have known and mentored both of these brilliant boys since they joined our program.
This story is about Edison; it serves to illustrate the depth of MCF’s reach as a community program committed to bringing change at many different levels through unique programs that are solving the poverty problem.
Edison was a primary six student in one of the first MCF partner schools in 2009. Orphaned an at early age, Edison moved to the village of Nyakijumba to live with his aunt and attended a government school set on the side of a road. If you or I approached the school, a first impression would be just how dangerously it is nestled close to a thoroughfare that runs from Mbarara to Kabale town with cars, buses, trailers, and cyclists all zooming past the tiny school.
Edison, as one of the beneficiaries when the program started in 2009 with the commencement of a porridge program, was part of a 192 student body. There was no running water in the school. The cooking program relied on ‘water fetchers’ to provide all the water from a stream about 1.5 miles away to cook the porridge and wash all the utensils. The water fetchers proved unreliable, sometimes not showing up when it rained for instance. On one such day, Edison’s aunt, Esther, who had been hired as a cook asked Edison to go and fetch water before school hours. He rose at about 5 am that morning and went off to fetch the water. By the time the school bell rang, he had fetched enough water for the entire cooking day and was in his uniform ready for school!
His aunt suggested the MCF pay him a stipend to provide the water. The stipend of $10 per month would help him buy books , shoes, pencils and a mathematical set. For the next two years Edison did all the water fetching for the program at his school. Edison worked, fetching water, and never missed a day, rain or shine. If necessary, he made arrangements for someone else to help him or fill in.
In 2010, Edison sat for his PLE exams and passed well thanks to his own hardwork and our help in providing him the support he needed. MCF, impressed with how studious he was, how committed he was to the program, and just how hard he had worked during the school year to pass the exams, offered him the first secondary school scholarship: the Global Fellows Program, which consists of a leadership training program. In this program, MCF works to ‘expand horizons’ and mentor fellows to help them break from their limited tribal borders and learn to appreciate the diverse country that Uganda is.
Jan 2014 Expanding Horizons Trip for scholarship students to visit Kilembe Mines in Kasese (Edison is the tallest one)
With “Expanding Horizons,” Edison has traveled to over 10 Ugandan towns since 2011, learning about 5 different tribes of peoples who differ from his own. He has visited industry centers, mines, Uganda’s parliament, historic sites, the premier University of Uganda, and will this year travel internationally for the first time.
Edison at secondary school
Today, Edison has completed his “O” level exams. Compare “O” level to Grade 10 at the end of middle school. We know his resolve and we expect him to do well. MCF will then embark upon the journey to ensure that he completes his secondary school and enter a university to obtain a college degree. Edison aspires to become an engineer.
This Giving Tuesday will you help Edison and many others like him realize their dreams? It is because of you that children like Edison have made it this far. Help us get them further. We need your support.
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!
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