Amy Stewart wrote -
Imagine for a moment...
You are a parent in Uganda. Your child is lucky because for the last seven years, she has been able to attend a very special school--Buiga Sunrise School-- in your home village of Banda Kyandaaza. You and other parents helped to develop and run this school. The student to teacher ratio there is 20 to 1, and with your participation in their volunteer program, the schooling costs your family nothing. Your daughter not only received an amazing education there, but also got important immunizations at the school's medical clinic and two nutritious meals per day cultivated from the school's gardens.
But now your daughter has reached sixth grade, and the school in your village does not yet have a sixth grade classroom. For your daughter to continue her education, she has to go to the school in a neighboring village. You must pay the equivalent of two month's of your family's salary for her to attend, and your daughter must travel for miles on dangerous roads to get to the school (roads made all the more dangerous because she is female). When she gets to this new school, she'll share one teacher with as many as 100 other students, sit in rooms with crumbling walls, and likely not even get to look at a textbook as there aren't enough for everyone.
What would you do?
I know what I'd want to do-- I'd want to build a sixth grade classroom. That's what the folks of Banda Kyandaaza have decided to do. And we're gonna help. Here's how:
Me, you, and my rickety knees are going raise the $6,000 that will build and outfit the classroom and pay for the teacher's entire first year of salary.
Yes, I said $6,000. That's all it will take.
In order to garner your donations, I will run the Rogue River Trail in 48 hours. That's 40 miles total-- one mile for each of my years on this planet.
Your part is to dig into the lint in your pockets and donate what you can, ask your family, friends, and even your employer to donate, then sit back and soak in how good it feels to be a part of something huge. Something that will ripple out in gorgeous undulations for years upon years.
You can do that. You can be a part of it. Right here, right now.
(Plus, your donation is tax-deductible)
About Buiga Sunrise School:
I have been helping Sunrise with grant writing for almost two years. I am constantly amazed by what they are able to accomplish with such limited funds. Their operation is unique because instead of coming in with an agenda in mind, the community drives their own development. All of Sunrise's projects have grown out of a need the community has recognized first. They have no overhead costs-- everyone in management donates their time-- so 100% of donations goes to Sunrise programs. And they are moving toward self-sustainability on all levels:
--The school's garden is cultivated by the parents and feeds the students
--The school's board positions are held by parents
--In 2011, they established a 2-acre coffee plantation which will provide coffee they can sell on the open market in order to further assure Sunrise's financial stabilty for years to come
This is truly a community-led, community- sustained endeavor.
Buiga Sunrise was started by Nicole Van Seters, her husband, Michael Mugerwa, and the villagers of Banda Kyandaaza. Michael was born in Banda Kyandaaza but has lived abroad for much of his life. On Nicole's first visit to the village, she was moved by the deep sense of community. Grandmothers and neighbors cared for orphans, and those with few resources willingly gave them to those in need. Yet people were dying of easily treatable illnesses and most families could not afford to send their children to school. Sha asked the community what they thought they needed to solve these problems, their answer was unanimous: help us send our kids to school.
With the help of donations from friends and family, Nicole and Michael built Sunrise School and enrolled sixty preschool students in 2005. Since then Sunrise has grown to include a primary school, a health clinic, adult literacy programs, job skills training programs, and income-generating projects for community members. They also perform health outreach services to more than 1,500 in the greater Mukono District. Sunrise believes in nurturing a sense of local responsibility and providing people with the resources they need to make their own positive change.