Tag Archives: Education

Hope for Life Breakfast

Breakfast Invitation 1Come join us for breakfast, while we hear from our guest Nkurunziza Francis (Co-founder & Director of Hope for Life Katanga) as well as the rest of the Hope for Life team from the UK.

Francis will share a little about his background growing up in Uganda, before talking about the exciting work we are currently doing in Katanga (& beyond?). Francis, Megan and Mark will be sharing stories, pictures and videos throughout the morning.

There will be a time for Q&A at the end too, all while you enjoy a cup of coffee, croissant and perhaps a Ugandan chapati.

There will be a crafts area in the hall, as well as lots of outside green space if the children (or adults) want to run about.

Please register that you are coming to the breakfast by ‘purchasing’ free tickets from our event page.

We would love to see you there.

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Jessica’s Story

My name is Jessica*. I live in Katanga and I am 17. I live with my elder sister because my father died 12 years back and my mother runs a small kiosk deep in the village therefore she couldn’t cater for my basic needs due to low earnings.

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I am a mother of one son in the above photograph, I became pregnant in primary 7 and before completing my primary leaving exams I had to drop out of school due to stigma from fellow classmates and school staff. The father to my son is a senior four student in a village in western Uganda and since he’s a student I do not get any help from him or his family. My sister who works as a waitress in a local bar is the only one who tries to provide some basic needs but due to her poorly paid earnings my son doesn’t eat the required diet like other children; my son eats anything available in order to survive.

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While in Katanga my neighbor, a pupil at CLC, informed me about hope for life Katanga and she took me to the hope for life office and due to my situation I was immediately recruited and I was taken to their Creative Learning Center at Kampala Baptist since I loved studying, I have got to walk approx. 2km every day to go to the CLC class, I walk there with other girls from Katanga, there are about 13 of us who walk to Kampala Baptist church.

I love this organization because it has taught us how to read and write and my teachers are so nice because they like us so much and are always ready to teach us. I am so happy because I have managed to meet fellow children with the same problem like mine they are friendly and very willing to study.

Jessica ~ “This has given me the hope of studying in order to become a nurse which is my future dream.”

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 HFL Social Worker ~ “As soon as Jessica fell pregnant, the school no longer wanted to support her in her education. She has been out of education for over a year being supported by her sister. We want to be able to provide Jessica with the necessary education, skills and training to help support her family and become the nurse she would love to be.”

Jessica and the other girls in the CLC are now looking for sponsors to take them to a school in the city, for £20/month, to further their education. If you are interested in sponsoring a child with us then send us an email at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com.

* We have changed names and edited the written story for child protection reasons, otherwise the story was either written by Jessica or transcribed by one of our social workers.

Desire’s story

My name is  Desire* and I am 7 years  old. I have lived in Katanga for 7 years to date. I live  with my father and mother, who are the sole bread earners  of my family. My father works with a bus company and my mother fries samosas. I have six siblings, five girls and one boy.

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I was a primary three pupil at a primary school in the city but due to lack of school fees I dropped out.  I am now getting formal education from CLC (Creative Learning Centre). I got this opportunity through some lady who works with Hope for Life Katanga who came and briefed my mother about Hope for life and the following day I was taken to the Hope for Life office in Katanga where I was registered.

“This has given me the hope of studying in order to get a bright future.”

I love this organization because it teaches children how to read and write. I am  so happy because I  managed to meet other children with the same problem like mine, they are friendly and very willing to study. This has given me the hope of studying in order to get a bright future. I walk 2 kilometers from Katanga every morning before nine o’clock to the CLC to study.

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Purple is my favorite color and I like it so much because it looks nice, my best dish is chips and chicken plus rice, I like playing games like running and nobbling but I love singing and therefore I would like to become a singer one day in future .

HFL Social Worker: “At first Desire was shy and could be so quiet in class but the Hope for Life staff have managed to catch her up in class and help her to relate with other pupils. Now she has settled into class we are so pleased with the progress she is making.”

Desire and the other girls in the CLC are now looking for sponsors to take them to a school in the city, for £20/month, to further their education. If you are interested in sponsoring a child with us then send us an email at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com.

* We have changed names and edited the written story for child protection reasons, otherwise the story was either written by Desire or transcribed by one of our social workers.

Creative Learning Centre

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Starting today (10th June) these six girls, plus six more will be starting at the Creative Learning  Centre (CLC) for the next step in their education.

We are partnering with Viva (an international charity focused on creating a network of organisations to create lasting change) and Kampala Baptist Church, to help run this education program, adopting the students into the wider vision we have at Hope for Life Katanga. Originally the CLC accommodated each class for 3 months, educating them in all things creative.

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Adopting this project and its students into our wider education program, practically means overseeing the selection of the children from Katanga into the CLC, as well as providing follow up support in each child’s education, following the 3 months in the CLC. We will also be supporting the current teaching staff in the fantastic work they are already doing.

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 The Creative Learning Centre aims to get marginalised girls back into school by offering non-formal, innovative education in a wide range of subjects – with an emphasis on numeracy and literacy.(You can read the full blog about the CLC in Uganda from Viva here.)

A few of the girls have children which they bring with them to the CLC. As soon as schools in Uganda realise a girl is pregnant they will exclude her, offering no other option of continuing her education.

After their 3 months in the CLC we will be looking for sponsors to take these children to a school in the city for £20/month. For those who are too old, have children or it is otherwise not suitable to go back to a mainstream school, we will still be looking for sponsors to take them to a vocational school, to further the practical skills they learnt in the CLC, bettering their opportunities to finding a job and earning a sustainable income for them and their families.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child into either a school for the next 5 years, or sponsor a child into vocational school for the next 2 years then let us know by filling out the form below. We would love to hear from you.

 

#MatchitMay is now over

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#MatchitMay is now over, 31 days of matching money spent on your chosen item. Megan and I (UK co-founders) have just donated our matched money to our online fundraising page…

If you have been taking part in #MatchitMay then head on over to our fundraising page to make your donation.

Thanks all for taking part, your donations will really benefit the lives of many in Katanga Slum, Uganda

https://www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/MatchitMay

Livelihoods trainings

1912426_612963828799362_7887867242914372173_oOur Livelihoods team have been busy in training many classes of people in both tailoring and soap making.

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Sharon, our tailor trainer, prepares the machines we sent out last year from the UK, before one of her classes.

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Not only do we run classes specifically for those in our Livelihoods program but we also hold regular open workshops throughout the week that general Katanga residents can come to and learn from.

What’s great about this is it opens up education to Katanga residents of all ages, most of who never received a schooling education whilst growing up and on top of that, it’s free.

We at Hope for Life are so committed to resourcing the local community of Katanga, helping them become self sufficient families.

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Some men in Katanga have built a reputation for themselves of being jobless, alcoholics or just simply having a lack of motivation. Women on the other hand seem to have this resilience in life and are much more open and motivated by new opportunities of learning and progressing.

So with that understanding, we are so happy each time a new man wants to increase his prospects of earning a better living for his family, and decides to join our Livelihoods program.

10257440_612963695466042_3130321883809790481_o We will soon be introducing trainings in craft making, candle making and cookery into our Livelihoods program.

Keep posted for more pictures and stories…

 

Child Sponsorship… good or bad?

I have have just finished listening to a 30 minute radio program on child sponsorship, it looked at the positives of child sponsorship and also the negatives. It is definitely worth a listen too yourself and you can do so clicking here (this may only be available for people in the UK, so sorry if you are trying to listen from around the world).

There were a number of queries raised about how different charities ran the child sponsorship program and I though I would write a little post to explain how we run our sponsorship program at Hope for Life. You don’t have to listen to the radio show to follow the post below though.

The issues raised were:

  • Is the admin cost of running a sponsorship program really expensive?
  • Does it really help change the individuals future?
  • Surely sustainability is helping to change a community not just an individual?
  • What happens when the sponsorship comes to an end?

So here’s an insight into how we differ from other charities…

Is the admin cost of running a sponsorship program really expensive? 

This questions is definitely aimed at huge charities as opposed to localised charities like us. Big charities need to consider staffing costs to maintain the program, including the links back and forth to the western sponsor. There are also transport and other admin costs involved.

We don’t hire any additional individuals to maintain the sponsorship program (not that this is a problem, if child sponsorship is such a benefit to the individual/community then it is worth hiring more people), although it is part of our Education Officers job description to oversee that all the children’s school fees are paid each term and they are progressing well in school.

Our costs to maintaining a sponsorship program is extremely minimal.

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Does it really help to change the individuals future?

One of the co-founders of Hope for Life, grew up being sponsored by one of the charities mentioned in the radio show. He testifies to how that sponsorship program changed his and his families life, explaining how he got an education as a result and how he now has the life to be able to support him, his wife and his family back in the village.

There were things that he noticed, whilst growing up in the sponsorship program, that he would change/alter how specifics were carried out. It is invaluable to have his insight on the team and we have implemented/are implementing these thoughts into ours.

I have heard a number of testimonies from people who grew up as a sponsored child, of how their life has been transformed as a result, escaping severe poverty and now in a position to get a well paid job.

We are into the 2nd year of our sponsorship program and are already seeing the change in individuals that have been sponsored. This has of course been backed up by the few years they have been attending our catch-up program, instilling the basics of education. If you compare these children to how they were before they attended our catch-up classes, or even to other children the same age, which currently don’t go to school, it is unbelievable how much they have progressed. Throughout the year our staff send us report cards of the children sponsored into school are getting on. It is always a joy to read them, thinking back to Sept 2011 when we first started teaching them in our catch-up classes.

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Surely sustainability is helping to change a community not just an individual? 

Well yes and no.

This has been a big criticism of charities who are only focused on child sponsorship but as it was reported on the radio program, “One way of changing the community is to empower and change individuals, which then in turn changes the community” (I paraphrased slightly as I didn’t write the quote down).

We however differ in that alongside our education program we run our Livelihoods program. This link is huge, something that we focus most of our time and energy on, working with the parents of the children in our education program in helping them to earn a sustainable income for them and their families.

This means that we hope each child will be sponsored for approximately 5 years, by which time, we have given a loan, training and/or other support, to the parents to earn a sufficient income to then go on and pay for their own child’s education.

Because this is how you change a community isn’t it? By empowering families to look after themselves, free from poverty.

So if you sponsor a child with us, on year 4 of your sponsorship, we may ask you to reduce the amount you give, this is because we have hopefully empowered the parent of the child in such away that they are now in a position to be able to start paying a small amount towards the school fees. In this way the parents slowly adapt to paying for their child’s education as their income increases.

We feel this gets the best of supporting an individual as well as, supporting the family, all the while boosting the micro-economy within Katanga, helping to change the community.

Other ways we support the community is providing education, healthcare, support in their businesses and jobs, guidance and counselling. We are also continuing to look for a sustainable way to provide clean water and better sanitation.

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What happens when the sponsorship comes to an end?

There is a feeling that sponsorship creates a sort of financial dependency. As you have read a few paragraphs ago, we hope help the parents slowly adapt to paying school fees for themselves. After that the child should be in a family that is now able to support their needs sufficiently. 5 years later, both the child and the family will be in a better position to be able to maintain a lifestyle free from poverty.

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So I hope that gives you an insight into how we run our sponsorship program. It was quite a long but hopefully worth reading.

Perhaps it’s a dangerous thing for a charity to talk about the negatives of child sponsorship but I would be interested to hear your views, ideas and concerns about such a program. You can leave a comment using the comments section below this post.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child with us for £20/month then send us an email at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com.

Just to finish, I love that line from the little girl from Ghana (on the radio show), “I am surprised that someone so far away loves me so much”.

2 years and counting…

It has now been 2 years since Megan and I first went to Uganda, met some Ugandan friends and started a little project; teaching 15 children, aged between 4-12, in a Slum that is home to 20,000 people.

With an amazing team of Ugandans, we sought to think about our vision for Katanga, working out what it would take to help this community to get out of poverty and live self sustainably.

Fast forward to November 2013 and we have bought buildings, hired some people, continuing to provide education, giving out loans and see many families take their next steps towards getting out of poverty.

We feel like it’s time to have an evening filled with videos, pictures and stories from the past 2 years, talk about where we are currently and our aims and vision for the next coming couple of years.

We understand that we have lots of friends and supporters who are in various countries around the world but if you find yourself in or around Nailsea (near Bristol, England) on the 25th of November then why not come join us.

The event will be at Nailsea school (BS48 2HN) from 8pm.

If your on Facebook, why not RSVP on our Facebook event page. You don’t need to RSVP to come along but if you do it would be very helpful. If you are not on Facebook then you can fill out the little RSVP below.

Hope to see you on the 25th.

A few pictures from Katanga, Uganda so far.

Just wanted to share with you all a few pictures from my time in Katanga, Uganda so far. I upload quite a lot of pictures onto our Facebook page, so if you want to keep up to date with what we are doing in Katanga then check it out. Be sure to ‘Like’ the page.

Can you Sponsor a Child?

In Uganda, education is not free, on top of school fees, families must pay for uniforms, books, stationery and more. This is simply not feasible for many families in low income areas like the community of Katanga.

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We currently run catch-up classes throughout the week, for the children whose parents can’t afford for them to go to school. All of the children we work with, either have never been to school or have been to school for a term or two. As a result we work with children who, for example, are 13, 14, 15 years old but intellectually they would go into a class of 5/6 years olds because they have had no real previous education. So we work with these children, getting them to a level where they are able to pass the entrance exams and enter school.

We have set up a sponsorship program to help our children move into a school in Kampala. The program is based on the premise that every child has a right to an education and a hope for a better future.

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Sponsoring a child costs £20 per month and includes:

  • School fees to enable them to attend school.
  • School uniform including sports wear, shoe polish and a school bag.
  • School essentials: pens, pencils, ruler, maths set etc.
  • School lunch fees.
  • An emergency medical fund to help pay for emergency hospital fees and other necessary items e.g. Mosquito nets.
  • Sending letters to the sponsor.

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What we at Hope for Life Katanga will continue to do with the children who are sponsored:

  • The children will join us at our weekend reading and homework club where they will have the work space, the light and atmosphere to concentrate.
  • As the child continues to attend the weekend reading and homework class, we will continue to assess how each child is getting on in and out of school life. As a result of this assessment we will be able to support them efficiently. This will also be a time they can write to the sponsor to tell you how they are getting on themselves.

Our child sponsorship program will hopefully only last 4 – 7 years per child (this does not mean you need to commit for this amount of time). This is because, alongside providing children with education, we will be training and resourcing the parents in money-making skills and money management so in the future they will be able to support their own children. Click here to find out more information on family work.

Livelihoods

If you feel you are able to sponsor a child for £20 a month then please fill out the form below…

  

Journey of the Sewing Machines to Uganda – Part 1

Megan and I spent a solid day and a half packaging the sewing machines and then driving them to London, ready to be flown to Uganda.

They are due to be arriving in Uganda this afternoon (7th August 2013); we can’t wait for the women in Katanga to start using them for their businesses.

Keep an eye out for pictures of the sewing machines out and being used in the next few weeks.