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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