In 2011, I was in Uganda when South Sudan became the world’s youngest nation. The Sudanese who had fled to Uganda as refugees celebrated in the streets and excitedly explained their plans to return home. I don’t think that anyone anticipated how much pain this young nation would have already experienced less than 5 years later. Returning to Uganda in 2014, I had the privilege of living among the Ugandans of Katulikire and the refugees they hosted from several surrounding countries including South Sudan. Tens of thousands of Southern Sudanese had fled to Uganda in the past year. Thousands have resettled in the Kiryandongo refugee camp just down the road from NETwork’s home base in Katulikire. Meeting these refugees, the women and children told stories of profound violence and great suffering: rape, starvation, murder, mutilation. In Uganda, they are safe from the battling armies, but they experience all the problems surrounding those who are relegated to great poverty. These people who have escaped unimaginable suffering arrive particularly vulnerable to sickness, especially malaria. The Southern Sudanese refugees arrive in Uganda with hope. Their children have enrolled in local public schools in numbers which have surpassed their capacity. We are working to protect every single one of these children who have already overcome so much against malaria. Now that they are safe and are attempting to achieve an education, we want to help them by protecting them against malaria. With your support, we have already covered 2 schools, but we are currently working to protect an additional 2,000+ students against malaria.
Tony is a P3 student at Opok Primary School. He goes to school during the day, and he helps his family around the fields when he is not in school. Tony is providing a good example for his younger brothers and sisters encouraging them to follow in his footsteps. His parents are dedicated to keeping him in school even if that means there are less hands in the field with the same number of mouths to feed. Tony's parents know that his education is key for a better life.
Tony is the future of Opok. He has the potential to change his future, elevate his family, and influence the wellbeing of Opok Village. Thank you for helping Tony. Tony received a net through NETwork Against Malaria. He has not since gotten malaria. Tony's good health is keeping him in school. His strength is improving that of his family. Please help us continue to help children like Tony including his siblings.
Thank you for making 2014 our most successful year yet.It is difficult to articulate the life changing nature of giving a child a mosquito net. it provides them with the opportunity to stay healthy. It helps ensure that they can stay in school. They have the opportunity to study and to help with the crops. It helps with food security, saves the family money on medical costs, and makes the family's finances more secure. It truly changes a recipient's life and the life of their family. Children who receive the net sleep under them what their siblings multiplying the effectiveness of this intervention. It also changes their future and the future of their family. Educated children elevate the status of their family. How can we begin to thank you?
Perhaps the best thank you comes from a mother. On hearing that I had arrived in Opok Village, this woman wanted to thank me for the net we had provided for her children. She doesn't speak English and did not know how to convey her gratitude to me. She took down the net and brought it to me. Through a translator she said, "Thank you for this net. I am bringing it to you to show you that my children are using it, and it is protecting my family."
In 2011, I travelled to Katulikire for the first time. A met a group of students who sang for me for four hours, and I learned their names. Among them was Sandra. She was the youngest but full of self confidence. There were probably 15-20 children in the group, and at age four she was brave enough to sing a solo.
When I was there, I promised myself that we would ensure every child in the group received a net. After I left Uganda, we contniued to fundraise and were eventually able to provide nets to Bweyale Primary School, the public school Sandra was supposed to attend. Our volunteers looked for her, but she was not there. I worried that she had fallen ill or had never started school. We next returned to Katulikire Primary School, perhaps she instead attended this nearby school. Sandra was not there.
When I returned to Uganda in 2014, I visited St. Monica Primary School. The school costs students $17 a semester. Parents send their children to St. Monica to have class sizes of 20 instead of 120 at the nearby public schools. I visited St. Monica during my stay, and Sandra was there.
She has benefitted from our work in Uganda and now sleeps under a net. Sandra is not just staying healthy and in school, but she is studying very hard. She is the first ranked student in her second grade class. Pictured not in uniform because she came to school to study on her day off! She remains self-confident. I am sure that if she can stay in school, she will do great things. Children like Sandra are the future of Uganda.
Thank you for helping children like Sandra and making NETwork Against Malaria possible.
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