The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program

by Business for Better Society
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
The Small Acts of Kindness Fund & Learning Program
SALEHO Leading The BBS Adult Literacy Program
SALEHO Leading The BBS Adult Literacy Program

When BBS started the project on GlobalGiving called Small Acts of Kindness, it was to highlight some of the projects we support and equally the incredible local non-profit partners that we work with globally.

In this update, we’d like to introduce you further to our Afghan partner SALEHO.

Shortly work on the first women's centre will begin as we are close to reaching the necessary funding target and we're delighted to continue working with our dear friends at SALEHO. 

SALEHO (Strengthen Agriculture, Livelihood, Environment and Hygiene Organisation) operates primarily in the Zebak, Ishkashim and Wakhan districts of Badakhshan. They are a local NGO and registered with the Ministry of Economy since 2015.  Their goal and objective are to "empower women and girls in rural Afghanistan and strengthen women's roles in social and economic lives by facilitating livelihood opportunities."

BBS first started working with SALEHO in late 2018 when they delivered our adult literacy program in six villages in the Wakhan Corridor.  Their role included conducting the Master Training sessions for the chosen local facilitators, serving as coaches to the trainers through in-class observation sessions, and measuring program effectiveness.

SALEHO's professionalism and expertise to deliver high quality training programs coupled with their systems to measure impact will ensure we're again able to achieve all deliverables on time and budget.

While SALEHO will take the lead regarding program delivery, the UN Mission in Badakhshan will continue to act as the interface with the local authorities who have signed off on all plans and project deliverables.

The first centre will be opened in the Zebak district and will feature a library with capacity of 150 printed books and some audio resources that will provide female university graduates access to learning materials. The learning center will also serve as the "host" for workshops and information sessions under the life skills category and all of these will be delivered by SALEHO. When this library opens, it will be the seventh SALEHO has completed for our donors.

With so much happening in the world today, we want to thank everyone for their kind donations to this project and the hope it will bring girls and women in Afghanistan.  We're excited and confident that with the efforts of our partners, the UN Mission and SALEHO, that we will create a centre the brings tremendous value to all those that it will serve.

Thank you again and best wishes.

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Sserinya Primary School Headmaster Francis Kiweewa
Sserinya Primary School Headmaster Francis Kiweewa

For the last few months the focus of the Small Acts of Kindness Fund has been the Sserinya Primary School and their incredible teachers.

While the school is currently closed due to COVID restrictions, the Ugandan government has stated that schools will reopen in January 2022 to in-class teaching.  Teachers, and the schools, are currently facing two challenges. The first is a significant gap in funding for salaries due to government cutbacks and secondly is what to do until January to have some income coming in.

Through the generous support of our donors, we have been able to raise (to date) the funds to support the salaries of two teachers for the entire upcoming scholastic year.  This campaign and your commitment to the concept of the Small Acts of Kindness Fund, impacts on the ability to keep teachers in the classroom and in-turn on educating the children of the community.

For this update, we wish to introduce you to Mr. Kabanda Joseph Mukasa, one of the teachers that you are supporting.

Mr. Mukasa was a born in Villa Maria, located in the Kalungu district of Uganda. He studied at Byana primary school; King David high school; St Joseph S S Villa Maria; Mummy’s Institute of Beauty, Design and Commercial Studies and Kabukunge Primary Teachers College.

He teaches several subjects including social studies and the humanities (origin of man, his social, political and economic life and the interdependence between man and the environment) to the upper primary classes of P4 to P7 with students aged 10 – 15.

When BBS asked Mr. Francis Kiweewa, the headmaster, why Mr. Mukasa is a teacher, he shared "he loves teaching the youngsters because of the passion he has of sharing knowledge, the zeal of wanting to know more because the children also share knowledge. He wants to pass on life skills and knowledge to the young generation to help mould their future. He wants to be part of a child’s future, part of their transformation process as he transforms the community."

What has Mr. Mukasa been doing during the school closure due to COVID 19? During this time, he has concentrated on his craft work skills and especially making shoes. Despite this, he is ready to get back into the classroom and when he does to pass on the skills of shoe making to his learners and spark the desire to become an entrepreneur.

While we have shifted our focus of the Small Acts of Kindness Fund to a new UN project that has local government approval in the Badakshan province of Afghanistan, individuals can still give to the teachers of Sserinya Primary School through the fund by selecting the "make a donation of your choice" option as opposed to one of the pre-set donation levels.

We're delighted to have had the opportunity to introduce you to Mr. Mukasa and our most sincere thank you for ensuring that these passionate and dedicated teachers will be in the classroom in January!

On behalf of Business for Better Society and the Sserinya Primary School, our best wishes to you for a happy, healthy, and joy-filled new year.

Mr. Mukasa Mastering His Craft Work
Mr. Mukasa Mastering His Craft Work
Shoe Making Will Be A Great Skill For His Students
Shoe Making Will Be A Great Skill For His Students
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NY DINA College Founder & The School Harvest
NY DINA College Founder & The School Harvest

When we created this appeal, it was to help address the needs of some of the projects that we support and to also demonstrate the impact of small donor gives. The focus of this report is to provide an update on several projects and share some of our next steps.

For the past 12-months, BBS spearheaded a school garden project at NY DINA College in rural Madagascar.  The objectives of this project were to create gardens to produce a variety of fruits and vegetables for student lunches,  provide a “hands-on” experience for the students to learn new agriculture techniques, and be an important revenue stream for NY DINA College.  As a new source of revenue, we've helped ensure the stability of the school’s operations and for an important shift to occur away from the school's founder as the primary source of funding. Through this fund, BBS received donations for the purchase of gardening tools such as shovels and hoes which the school has now acquired. We have now wrapped up the work and the teachers have taken over the gardens continued development along with the students.  A team of local agronomists will continue to play a role by acting as a resource to share best practices in water management, crop rotation, etc.

In July, BBS shipped much needed teacher resource workbooks to Sserinya Primary School in Uganda.  The resource books are for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grade one teachers and provide a range of exercises and activities that will support early education such as sounding out letters, numbers and counting.  The teachers will be able to re-use the materials and resources for future classes. These resources along with English/French dictionaries have arrived in Uganda’s capital. We anticipate they’ll arrive in the village in the next couple of weeks as a postal service truck is only dispatched to this region when they have a full truck of items to deliver. The materials will arrive in ample time for the teachers to review and plan lessons for the upcoming autumn term. This fund supported the purchase of the resources and when the shipment arrives the headmaster will take photos for us to share with everyone via a short update and on our social media platforms.

The other update we wish to provide is from the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF) and their on-going need for oxygen tanks for the children that need extensive physical therapy. TCDF’s school and medical support program is closed because of the current COVID wave the country is experiencing.  The lockdown it is anticipated to last until the beginning of September and it is the hope of TCDF that they’ll be able to welcome the children back in the autumn and resume their school operations. When they reopen, the team there will send new photos for us to share. 

This week, BBS updated the project page for this fund to reflect some new priorities that organisations are in need of support to receive.  This includes: 

  1. Funding internet costs at the Heart of Asia Society.  This Kabul based think tank is involved in the peace building process in Afghanistan.  They currently have several projects running which have operational costs and if we can support their internet costs this will free up their resources at a critical time.
  2. Teachers’ salaries at Sserinya  Primary School.  The current lockdown in Uganda has meant a cutback of government funding and as a result there is an ask for help to pay for teacher salaries, which equates in US dollars to 65.00 a month.
  3. Mobility for Africa continues to expand their work to more rural e-mobility sites in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.  Their focus right now is on continuing to develop their lithium battery technology.

Moving forward, we will continue to update this project page to reflect new needs from a diverse range of projects that we support and may be of interest to individuals. The other benefit of our update strategy is that we believe this is a great way to build awareness for impactful work being done on a grassroots level through some very difficult times.

We wish to extend our deepest thanks to everyone that has supported this fund and we look forward to sharing with all of you what's next!

Heart of Asia Society Conference
Heart of Asia Society Conference
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Books Arriving for Sserinya Primary School
Books Arriving for Sserinya Primary School

This BBS project is all about the power of small dollar donor levels and the impact they make on non-profits and their constituents.  In this report, we’re pleased to share what we’ve been able to accomplish because of your shared belief in small acts of kindness.

The first update is regarding the delivery of books to a small primary school in a village in rural Uganda.  Gumdrop Books, a small education book publisher in Canada, kindly donated books to the Sserinya Primary School to support the children's English language education.  The books are a much-needed donation because of a lack of resources at the school and through the Small Acts of Kindness Fund, we were able to quickly get the books into the hands of the children!

Several donations have also been made for the NY DINA College's purchase of gardening tools for their vegetable gardens in Madagascar.  Having the proper tools made the planting process efficient and will make the on-going maintenance much easier.  These gardens are now providing nutritious lunches for the students, valuable skills development and are a new revenue stream for the school through the sale of surplus vegetables in the local markets.

Our third update is on the webinar series for the non-profits that BBS supports globally.  These non-profits identified their top professional and personal development needs and one of the topics consistently asked for was stress management techniques.  Like so many others, the global pandemic has seen many non-profits trying to do more with less funding, balancing multiple hats within the organisation plus in many cases being the only source of support in the small communities where they work.  To address this request, on February 25th a mindfulness webinar was facilitated by the firm Bearapy, who kindly donated their time, and our fund supported the technology cost for the platform used to deliver the session. The overall seminar feedback was excellent, and everyone found the tools and techniques practical and immediately applicable to their own situation.

Finally, several donations have been made for the Vale do Javari region of Brazil and the indigenous people that call that area home.  Unfortunately, the current COVID situation in Brazil means the teams must wait to return to the region but as soon as any timeline updates are available, we will communicate them immediately via a short project report.

In closing, we wish to say we’re truly grateful for the donations we've received and to be able to share how your support is having a huge impact on children, families and communities in some very remote regions of the world.

Thank you again!

The Mindfulness Webinar for Non-Profits
The Mindfulness Webinar for Non-Profits
Planting Fruit Trees at NY DINA in Madagascar
Planting Fruit Trees at NY DINA in Madagascar

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Photo of The Garden Project Team in Madagascar
Photo of The Garden Project Team in Madagascar

As we begin 2021, we're pleased to be able to reflect and share some of what has been achieved through our Small Acts of Kindness initiative.

Like so many around the world, the global pandemic has paused much of the work being done by non-profits but it also created an opportunity to address one of the key requests from the groups that BBS supports globally. Namely, to provide professional development for identified learning needs such as effective communication strategies with key stakeholders.

BBS along with The Credibility Institute (based in Montreal, Canada) provided two one-hour learning sessions via Zoom on "Strategic Communication Planning" and "Reconnecting with Your Key Stakeholders During (and After) the COVID Crisis". For each program, two sessions were hosted to cover the broad span of time zones where the BBS supported initiatives are located. Each session was led by Mr. Stephane Prud'homme, Founder and CEO of the Credibility Institute, and included a Q&A session.

A range of topics were addressed throughout the sessions including:

  1. An understanding of public relations (PR) versus marketing;
  2. Identifying key stakeholders, stakeholder influence and strategy mapping;
  3. Effective tools and measurement;
  4. Your reputation as an organisation and introduction to a reputation matrix;
  5. Authentic communication;
  6. Responsible communication and CSR reports. 

Participants represented nearly every corner of the globe including Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, United States and Canada.

BBS is appreciative to The Credibility Institute for volunteering their time and expertise to create and deliver programming that addressed the special opportunities, and challenges, of the non-profit sector on this subject.  The Small Act of Kindness Fund supported this project by covering the costs associated with delivering the programming via Zoom as well as the follow-up learning materials on PR for the participants. 

Several other learning opportunities have been identified and BBS will continue to host these learning sessions starting in early 2021.

One of the other items that the Fund supported in late 2020 was the need for gardening tools for a school garden project in rural Madagascar.  NY DINA College is providing an education to 150 rural village children that otherwise would not have had an opportunity to receive an education because of the village's remote location.

One of the key priorities of the school's founder is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the school.  To achieve this end, NY DINA decided to create school fruit and vegetable gardens that will feed the children, provide skill development and be a new revenue stream with the surplus produce sold in the local markets.

The team in Ambohimader, Madagascar, has crafted the garden project in conjunction with local agronomists, built the needed wall around the school property, dug a trench system for watering the property and of course planted the first round of saplings. Through the Small Acts of Kindness Fund, the gardening tools and some of the fruit tree saplings were provided as seen in the pictures included with this report.

Several other projects also received support through this initiative and our current timeline is end of Q1 to be able to report back further.  The noted projects are medicine for the villages in the Javari region of the Amazon and secondly is oxygen tank delivery to the special needs school at the Thai Child Development Foundation in the Paksong region of Thailand.  For now, the on-going COVID crisis has limited travel to the Amazon in an effort to protect the Indigenous people throughout the region. It has been reported that the new variant has now been found in Brazil so time will tell what impact this could have on the region.  The Thailand Government has decided to keep all schools, including the Thai Child Development Foundation school, closed until January 31. The Government has stated that "the closure applies to all education institutions and both informal and formal, public or private, schools".  We are in close contact with our partners on the ground in both regions and will continue to share any updates as we receive them via further reports.

In closing, we wish to say we are beyond grateful for the support received in 2020.  We recognise that 2021 will continue with many hurdles but we are hopeful because of strength we've received through your belief in our work. 

Purchased Gardening Equipment courtesy this Fund
Purchased Gardening Equipment courtesy this Fund
Mr. Prud'homme, Founder, The Credibility Institute
Mr. Prud'homme, Founder, The Credibility Institute
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Business for Better Society

Location: Hong Kong - Hong Kong SAR
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Project Leader:
Kelly Brantner
Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
$2,927 raised of $9,100 goal
 
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