Where were you… last week?
Last week I was in northern Uganda visiting projects that African Revival has been supporting to help local communities returning from the IDP camps (finally closed in 2009) to their villages. You may recall the name Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army made up of mainly 8 – 12 year olds!!! Murders, rape, intimidation etc. HIV Aids. The suffering of these Acholi people is heart breaking.
So in my governance role, I visited some of the Primary Education projects. Communities returning from the camps, where they had created makeshift schools, donating land for new schools to emerge. Thatched lean to structures, no furniture, average class sizes of 92:1 (teacher). So generous sponsors have given generously and at times sacrificially to these folk (through African Revival) to build classroom blocks, make furniture, drill bore holes for fresh water, build latrines including changing rooms for the girls etc.etc.
Just stories to us, but a welcome lifeline to help village communities begin the road to recovery. Termites had destroyed their village homes and the bush had invaded their villages. But now HOPE has arisen!! We visited 8 schools. The first solar panel is being seen together with a converter and some electric lighting. Yet with just a few teachers (one school had 1200 children and 18 teachers) the presentations of dance and song were incredible and very moving. Little material wealth but a simple faith in GOD and respect for elders.
The livelihoods projects were stunning. African Revival put an agriculture project officer into a school to get together an entrepreneurial group of children and parents. They select highly productive seeds and prepare the land around the school (some schools have up to 40 acres of donated bush waiting to be cleared).
Within 2 years, they have tomato and onion crops (2 harvests a year), banana plantations, Cassava, ground nuts and maize. In one school they have made a profit of 1,750,000 Ugandan shillings (when the capitation allowance is only 800,000 Ugandan Shillings). 50% goes to the school, 30% to next year’s crops, 20% distributed to the village so they can pay for their children to have a uniform and shoes!!! and pay for the schooling (10,000 – 20,000 Ugandan Shillings per term ((10,000 UGX is £2.50!!!!!). Also the maize is ground into flour and the children can now have food at school (at least some of the year group’s. More needs to be grown.
So they are learning entrepreneurship, land productivity and gaining HOPE for the future. Especially when we are told unemployment i.e. no full time work is 87%. So domestic gardens need to be very productive for every family to eat and produce excess to sell.
Would you like to sponsor a school? We have many communities who would love to feel your generosity. Contact www.africanrevival.org for more information.
So what did you do last week?
How has it affected (infected?) your life?
Until next time, David
PS the photo above was of 2 teacher’s homes at one of the schools. VERY basic to us, but a miracle for the teachers.