Former Squash Standout in Uganda
I was sent this note from Jane Afleck, OPC 02. Jane was one of our top squash players when she was at PC. Since graduating from college she has dedicated much of her time to helping others in need. This note was sent to many of her PC classmates and describes her current work. While it is not the usual post for this page, I thought it was interesting and worth sharing. Enjoy reading about Jane's efforts and possibly you will want to provide some support.
Greetings from Uganda!
As many of you know, I'm spending the winter interning with the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Masaka, Uganda. FSD is a non-profit organization based out of San Francisco (www.fsdinternational.org). They place volunteers with organizations in various communities around the world, addressing root issues such as youth and education, public health, women's empowerment, human rights, micro finance, etc. The goal is to enhance an organization's ability to support community-based development, ultimately contributing to alleviate poverty. Volunteers are asked to work with and learn from their organization, then take a two hundred dollar grant given by FSD, and implement a project that is useful and sustainable.
Masaka is located approximately 85 miles from the capital Kampala. It is a big town with amenities such as banks, a post office, electricity (although commonly out), running piped water, etc. Masaka suffered most during both civil wars, and has been hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a result, many children were orphaned, and many roads and buildings destroyed. However, with peaceful and aspiring people, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and the support of non-government, aid organizations, development in Masaka is on the rise. Primary industry in the region is agriculture, and small villages, tending to plots of land are scattered throughout Masaka’s neighboring hillsides.
For my internship I'm volunteering at Child Restoration Outreach. CRO is a center, where children living on the streets come to bathe, wash clothes, eat and receive schooling and counseling. Its goal is to meet the basic needs of street children, while simultaneously preparing them to return to school and their families. Once resettled, CRO provides funding for school fees and counseling to parents. If a child is without parents, or a suitable home to return to, CRO finds other family members or guardians to care for the child. When I first began with the organization, I thought the mission seemed overly simple and optimistic, but CRO in fact meets a critical need in this community. I've found that most commonly children have left their homes to find work on the streets, because of the poverty the family faces and lack of school fees.
For my required project, I’m focusing on families and the life of children post resettlement. Currently, in addition to paying school fees, CRO is able to provide several families each year with various income generating materials, so they can support their child better. For example, CRO might empower a family with livestock, so they can consume and sell the product, while simultaneously reproducing more livestock, making the effort sustainable (much like Heifer International). With my project, I’d like to increase the amount of families receiving economic empowerment from CRO. With the two hundred dollars given to me by FSD, I am helping to provide three families with income generating materials. I am then starting a fund at the center; to which assisted families will be requested to contribute a small portion of their earnings to. With each submission, CRO will match the amount, allowing the fund to continue to grow. The goal is for the fund to be constantly revolving, always generating money to go toward new families and projects of children who have been resettled from the streets.
Travelling throughout Masaka and neighboring villages to visit families, and witnessing the various levels and indicators of poverty, has given me the opportunity to see how great an impact the smallest contribution from CRO can make. Most children’s homes are one-room structures, housing more than five people. Clean water is limited. Babies don’t wear pants and most children do not have shoes. In most instances, one parent supports an entire family by selling vegetables, digging in gardens, weaving papyrus, etc. Money goes toward paying rent, cooking food and feeding the family, and school fees. It is scarcely enough to provide adequately for a family, often leaving members hungry, dirty, uneducated, and without proper care if someone is to fall ill. With additional income and CRO’s contribution to school fees, a family won’t go from rags to riches, but at least a parent can properly feed and clothe their child, keeping he or she in school and off of the streets.
When I leave CRO and Masaka, I want to empower more than three families. Common requests are: seeds to grow, charcoal and wood to sell, materials to weave mats, meat to roast, chickens to produce eggs, etc. If you would like to support families to generate income in Uganda by donating money to my project, the CRO Empowerment Fund, I’m asking you give $10 to $20 (or more!). I’d also like to provide CRO with extra funds to pay secondary school fees, which the organization is currently in need of. I am impressed with the mission of CRO. Knowing that it is a stable NGO with three other branches throughout Uganda, who will be accountable, my goal is to raise $1,000. I would truly appreciate everyone’s support in this effort, but respect people’s decision to support other causes. I am short on time, so if you would like to make a contribution, please make your donation before April 23rd.
Here is the link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=VXDXKLD58UNWY. You might have to copy and paste it to your web browser.
Thank you in advance for your help. I feel truly grateful to have such caring family and friends, opportunities to see other parts of the world, and live a life where there is so much to be taken for granted.
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