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Mar 27, 2018

Success at Lisuka

Classroom
Classroom

I have just returned from my first visit as Executive Director to the Global Interfaith Partnership's Umoja Project in western Kenya. The effects of the work were apparent in every child I spoke with. Every teacher and Head Teacher who has worked with the project extolled the hope it has given the orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in the area. Repeatedly we heard, a school lunch keeps children coming to school, improves the likelihood of finishing primary school, and improves a child's perfomance.

On March 5th we visit Lisuka Primary School, a school that is close to Lake Victoria. In this area there is a high rate of HIV/AIDS and many children drop out of school early to do casual jobs around the lake. The school has an enrollment of 410 students and 155 are Umoja Scholars. Umoja Scholarsh are supported with school lunch, home visits, solar lamps, uniforms, and blankets when needed. In 2017 there were six students who scored over 300 on their KCPE and three of those children are part of the Umoja family. Out of the top 20 children who took the exams, 12 were in the Umoja Project. The Board of Managers of the school have been so moved by the results of this project at Lisuka that they found some support from other donors to expand the school lunch program. They now feed the entire Class 8 in hopes of boasting scores for the whole school.

Schools who are supported by the Umoja Project see an increase in enrollment, and surrounding schools see a drop in enrollment as OVC children move to the project school. The government does not provide sufficient support to run most schools, so an increase in enrollment puts additional strain on these boards of management. The project has over 100  letters of request from schools to join the Umoja Project.

As you read this report, think about people you know who might be interested in our story. Share Lisuka's story with them. I met with a member of the county assembly for the district that Lisuka resides in. He presented with me a letter to the board requesting that more of the schools in his district be added to the Umoja Project. There were 18 primary schools and 8 secondary schoools.  $3,875 feeds a primary school the size of Lisuka for an entire year. We would welcome the resources to expand this successful program to other schools, providing more orphaned vulnerable children with nutritious food to perform well in school. 

Head Teacher and Chairman of the Board of Managers
Head Teacher and Chairman of the Board of Managers
Jan 8, 2018

Healing my wounded heart

Georgina
Georgina

Each year we fund 25 new students to attend primary school. This year we were able to increase that number to 35 due to efforts in Kenya and in Indianpolis to raise additional funds. Our Umoja Scholars work hard to do well on their KCPE exams. This year we had 60 students qualify for secondary school. Even with our increase to 35, we fall short of providing support for every student who comes up through our project. As we continue to support these children through all 4 years of secondary school, we will have 135 this year in secondary school.

The attached letter is from Georgina, she shares what the Umoja project has meant to her. From her letter, one can realize the scope of the Umoja project. We do more that support secondary tuition. GIP feeds, clothes, and provides psychosocial support for these orphaned and vulnerable children. Georgina says "little by litle my wonded hear was healing because I came to realize that I was not the only one who was going through that kind of life."

"Every child deserves a chance." Jim Lemons

Help us give these children a chance.


Attachments:
Jan 8, 2018

Empowerment a Powerful Weapon for Life

Winnie
Winnie

The GET UP program was designed to aid girls that struggle because of the cultural norms in Kenya. Winnie is an alumnus who had the door opened to a new world because of the Umoja Project. Winnie benefitted from our early program when we provided support for girl children but before we formally called it GET UP. Her letter clearly outlines the intention of GET UP and the impact we hope to have on their future.

Winnie October 31, 2017

In my last two years of Secondary (high) School, 2008 and 2009, I received tuition support from the Umoja Project. In January 2010, I began a one-year contract as Administrative Assistant, a position offered to one of the Umoja graduates each year once they finish secondary school. Through the post I was able to gain skills and experience that have enabled me secure different posts in the job market. The post also provided me an opportunity to give back to my community through psychosocial support programs and other programs offered by the project especially targeting the girl child and even the OVCs generally. After serving as an Umoja Project Assistant, I was privileged to visit the USA, Indiana for 4 months, to represent the project in different stakeholder meetings and also share my stories. The opportunity helped me gain an experience that contributed a lot to strengthening my desire to work hard, dream and turn the dreams into a reality. Through the visit, I was also able to gain college sponsorship through North Minister Presbyterian Church. They paid for my entire college tuition and through that I was able to complete my undergraduate program in Business Management, Marketing Major. I have explored different field of the job market, while still a student an even after graduating from college. I am currently working as a research consultant, a job that exposes me to different environments and creates opportunities for me to network and grow professionally. My experience with Umoja Project has given me an upper hand in securing most of the jobs I get, since the skills I gained are always relevant. The project has done so much for me that I could not possibly explain. I have gained empowerment, a weapon that allows me to survive any environment. In my day to day life, I am able to interact with people from every background, most of whom I would never have come close to. I stand tall each day knowing that I have gone through a process; I have seen love, grace, peace and unity and I have been able to come out strong and of great value to my community and my country.

 
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