We send you warm greetings from the children and grandmothers of Nyaka and Kutamba schools in Uganda. We are grateful for your investment that has brought 10 years of improved conditions into the body, heart, mind, and soul of hundreds of children and thousands of grandmothers. This year over 70 secondary school students are excelling in their studies and passing their exams. Over 300 primary students study intensely so that like the 2010 graduating class they can place in the top 3% of all 220 schools in the district. Meanwhile, 60 preschoolers walk many miles on very short legs, eager to learn English and their ABCs and 123s each and every day.
Statistics show that children who attend pre-school enter primary school with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not. To get children started on this positive track to becoming well educated citizens, 60 of some of the youngest orphans are now enrolled in kindergarten classes at both Kutamba and Nyaka Primary Schools. These students, ages 4-5, are studying English (Uganda’s national language) to complement Rukiga, their native tongue. Like the elder students, they have been promised an education all the way up to university as long as they pass their national exams.
For students of Nyaka who are less academically inclined and wish to pursue an income generating trade, vocational training is now being made available. Nyaka realizes the importance of building a strong vocational program for these students. Tailoring and computer skills are now being offered and there are plans to add more workshops and training for construction jobs in the near future.
Hannington attended driving school and is now employed by Nyaka as a driver. This means that despite suffering as an orphan, he has a steady income which he uses to help care for his elderly grandmother nearby. All things tend to come full circle and on a recent visit he drove Director Jackson around!
This year, because of The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project’s generous donors, more students than ever are being supported – over 530! However, as we look into the future, the need to build a secondary school is becoming increasingly clear, as it costs $500/student annually to send the students to outlying boarding schools. As more young students graduate primary school the need for this initiative is becoming more urgent. Please watch for more updates on this project soon.
The best is yet to come!
Last month The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project happily announced primary student Justine’s pending trip to the United States. You may recall that a few years ago Justine was badly injured in an accident with a paraffin lamp. The purpose of this trip was to undergo surgery on burns that were inhibiting her ability to smile and move properly. It has now been a few weeks since her first in a series of surgeries, and the doctors are very pleased with her progress. In addition to the work done around her chin and mouth, her doctor would like to do another surgery around her nose and collarbone, but must wait a few months in order for her to heal properly.
Justine is taking full advantage of her recuperation time in the United States. At first, she was a little wary of the food but has now become more accustomed to the large variety of choices. Eating properly is very important as her body continues to heal. Even though Justine’s primary job is allowing her body to heal at this time, she is not missing out on her education. She’s been working with a teacher on decimals, adjectives, verbs, comprehension, and improving her reading skills. In Uganda, children must pass a national exam annually in order to advance to the next level of education. It is critical for this young girl to remain engaged. Luckily, Justine (like all The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project students) is fiercely dedicated to her education, as she knows it is her ticket to a successful and prosperous life. Most recently, an increased interest in reading has caused her to devour every book she could get her hands on. Including a copy of “A School for My Village,” written by Executive Director Jackson Kaguri. Justine has also begun writing in a journal, easing the pain of the surgeries by keeping hilarious accounts of her new experiences.
However, Justine isn’t spending all her time studying. She enjoys doing arts and crafts and making jewelry. Her host, Ruth, is always finding little gifts left around the house. Justine has exhibited courage, strength, and optimism throughout her travels, surgery, and continued recovery. Soon after she heals, Justine will return to Nyakagyezi, with her injuries well on their way to being healed, to be reunited with all of her friends and family at the Nyaka Primary School.
Thank you for your support of The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in this initiative to provide yet another HIV/AIDS orphan with a healthy future, free of poverty and full of potential for success.
This month we received some tremendous good news! You may recall that one of our students, Justine, suffered from a heartbreaking accident in 2007 that has left her with many burns and disfiguring wounds that impede the ability for her body to grow as it should. Justine’s mom had given her a paraffin lamp to light, and unfortunately it caught her dress on fire. The dress was made out of nylon and the fire enveloped her body quickly.
Today, 3 years later, the burns continuously collect water and swell up, and water comes out in a puss-like substance. Justine’s scars have made her skin so tight, that the simple movements like smiling and closing her eyelids have become arduous tasks. Today, however, we are so pleased to report that Justine has finally received a visa to travel to the United States for surgery on April 26th!
Boston Hospital’s Shrine Center has very generously offered to provide these necessary surgeries and follow-up care for little to no charge. She will need several surgeries and will need to stay for a few months to recover. Generous supporters like The Riverside Church in New York have helped make this possible through a generous grant; however, we are still seeking additional support to cover her travel and accommodations while Justine recovers in the US.
With this scheduled surgery, Justine will have the opportunity to renew her life, give back to her community, and use her experiences to improve the lives of other people facing incredible odds in Uganda. We will continue to update you on Justine's status as she recovers. Thank you again for helping us change the life of yet another child. We could not continue our work without the support of people like you.
The groundbreaking ceremony for our medical clinic was held in December 2010, just after our fourth graduating class of Nyaka School had accepted their diplomas with pride. Every week we recieve new photos documenting the process of building a clinic for the people we serve in southwestern Uganda. Today, that piece of land has transformed into a foundation with walls reaching halfway to what will be the ceiling.
As he wrote in The Price of Stones, building a school for orphans of HIV/AIDS was a concept that was foreign and a path that was uncertain for our Founder and Executive Director, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri. As the organization grew and we started providing fresh clean water and nutritious vegetables from Desire Farm for the community, we began to wonder where this holistic approach would guide us next. When we opened the Blue Lupin Community Library with the support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, we knew that the idea of a library in rural Uganda was revolutionary. We also knew that increased literacy and education were powerful weapons against poverty.
We continue to watch for the barriers that stand before the orphans of Nyaka and Kutamba schools so that we can knock them down, stone by stone.
The need for a clinic is great...
“When I visited Nyaka in October I was going as an Advisory Board Member. However, when people learned I was a physician, people simply showed up to seek treatment - upwards of 100 patients per day! I was overwhelmed by the need. I invited a Ugandan physician to assist me, and he was strongly impressed by the need demonstrated by patients. In this area of Uganda there is only one physician for every 250,000 people.” ~Dr. Paul Deweese, Advisory Board Member
Please join with us as we celebrate the progress of our new medical clinic by making a donation to the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project on Global Giving. On March 16th, 30% of your donations made on Global Giving will be matched up to $1000!
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Dear Nyaka Family,
Thanks to your ongoing support, we have so much to celebrate! Over the last 10 years, The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project has seen incredible growth and change. This growth and change can also be seen in all of our students, their Grandmothers and our surrounding communities. Please join me as Nyaka kicks-off a year's worth of our 10 Year Anniversary Celebration by sharing with you what I consider to be some of the 10 most important things we, as a family, have accomplished in our 10 short years.As we celebrate the joyous past of growth and giving, we are also soaring into the future - with many plans to make our programs even better over the next decade. We are counting on you stay with us and invite others to join us on this journey.10 Reasons to celebrate being a part of Nyaka:
1. We welcomed the first class of 56 students through the doors of The Nyaka AIDS Orphans School in January of 2003. Today we have 547 students in two primary schools and several graduates in two secondary schools.
2. We launched the Nutrition Program, a new program that set Nyaka on a track of becoming a holistic program, the only one of its kind in Western Uganda.
3. We established Desire Farm, a full-fledged farm that provides two meals a day for all our children and jobs for the community.
4. We successfully graduated 76 students. That's every single student for the last 3 years.
5. We built Kutamba, our second primary school using the same Nyaka model, to expand our reach in a different village.
6. We launched a clean water system for the entire community that provides clean water for more than 25,000 people.
7. We started the Grandmothers Program in support of their economic empowerment. It began with one group and has flourished to 91 groups with over 7,000 Grandmothers.
8. We opened The Blue Lupin Library, the first community library in Western Uganda.
9. We published The Price of Stones, the story of Nyaka, which is now being told around the globe.
10. We broke ground for a new medical clinic which will serve the health and wellness needs of the entire community.
These things would not have been possible without your support. Please stay tuned for more 10 Year Anniversary news and events throughout 2011, including features on our students and Grandmothers. The best is yet to come!With my deepest gratitude,Twesigye Jackson Kaguri,Founder and Executive Director P.S. – Please go to our brand new websitewww.nyakaschool.org to learn more about the programswe offer our children and their Grandmothers – thanks to you!
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