Alex Akampurira, the headmaster at Rushakyi Primary School, was beaming with happiness when I called him to learn about the first month of the new school year. He relayed, “We are the only school in the municipality to have an increase in enrollment! I feel so proud of the porridge program. It is wonderful. I wish you could have been here to see the children on the first day of school.” My response: “I wish the donors could have been there to see the children on the first day of school” because it is you that enabled such jubilation, providing hope to the children at Rushakyi through a cup of porridge.
The increase he is proud of: 32 children (enrollment increased at Rushakyi from 332 pupils to 364). The significance of that number is not easy to grasp until you consider what happens in rural African schools that don’t have powerful programs that enable impoverished children to remain in school to learn.
Imagine the real alternative: The story in the neighboring schools is that enrollment dropped by 50 to 80 children, mostly in the higher grades. You may wonder what happens to those children that drop out of school? They disappear into the hilly Kabale terrain as boys herding cattle, street boys begging, underage mothers, livestock thieves, family field workers, stone crushers in quarries or simply staying at home to take care of family. They won’t ever know how to read or write. Living in such impoverished conditions with illiterate parents means these children oftentimes will find it hard to return to school, and, if they do, they are unable to assimilate.
School conditions are tough too - walking miles to school on an empty stomach without the guarantee of one meal a day, parents who cannot afford scholastic materials, under-funded government schools, unpaid teachers, leaking roofs and no running water at school. All of this means many children are often sick or cannot perform well due to reduced brain function.
However, we are changing that! Alex managed not only retain his numbers but to increase the enrollment due to the powerful programs that the Mpambara-Cox Foundation has provided in the school since March, 2010. To provide an enabling and encouraging education environment for the children, we have installed clean drinking water, planted fruit trees, hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. day of writing pen-pal letters to U.S. children, provided backpacks with scholastic materials and started a women’s microfinance program to increase household incomes for mothers who pledge to keep their children in school.
Our signature school feeding program provides the only guaranteed meal the children can count on. Breakfast in Africa is a luxury that the children do not take for granted! Serving it at school has led to the increase in enrollment that Alex is so proud of.
Your contribution is significant because for every day children remain in school, they gain knowledge that will help them escape poverty – they learn about how to remain healthy, they open their minds to ideas, they learn to read and write and more importantly they are able to reach for a better tomorrow.
The Mpambara-Cox Foundation is working to ensure that children remain in school for 7 years of primary schooling. According to the Millennium Development Goals aimed at ending poverty, finishing a primary education is the first step on the ladder out of absolute poverty. We are aware that there is a dignity that comes through education that no one can take away. We are putting their future in their hands and you are a partner in helping us shape that future for a better tomorrow.
Please help us spread this program to more area schools. A one-time $40 payment feeds one child for an entire year! We can bring dignity to more children with your help. Thank you!
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