Thea Gudonis wrote -
This past fall I had the unique opportunity to travel to Masaka, Uganda, to intern for the Foundation for Sustainable Development's Procorps program. During this time I collaborated with a local women-led NGO to construction rain water harvesting tanks and energy efficient stoves. These projects were very valuable to the community, yet I still felt overwhelmed and inadequate in addressing the vast degree of challenges I witnessed, such as poverty, illness, and environmental destruction. However, I was also inspired by the efforts of certain individuals and organizations in promoting long-term and sustainable change.
One such organization was the Excel Children’s Care school and orphanage in my local village of Kitofaali, Uganda. The majority of children, ranging from age 3-16, come from families inflicted with disease and poverty and thus cannot afford the more expensive government schools, which cost approximately $50 per year. Despite their circumstances, each one radiated with laughter and joy! With the opportunity to go to school, the children discovered newfound hope.
The Excel school has made great progress, yet it is still in great need. Many of the children’s families cannot afford to feed them, so the school provides as best they can while growing their own food. Eager to get involved, my fellow intern Tyler and I teamed up with the school’s director, Fortunate, to build a chicken coop. Today, the school has 12 free-range chickens that provide the students more nutritious meals of eggs. This simple venture launched the beginning of a great relationship and a desire to do more.
Now back in the U.S., I am raising funds to promote the long term success of the Excel Children’s Care program by launching a new sustainability initiative. The first step in this project is to complete the construction of a school building. As seen in the images, the younger children learn underneath a tree and cannot attend school during the rainy season. In order to achieve long-term success, the school must also design a system to generate income without relying on foreign aid. This is attainable by expanding the organic farm and installing methane gas cooking stoves and a solar pv system. With a new business model, the school will be able to earn income while selling crops and using the solar system as an appliance charging station. These projects will also provide the students an opportunity to learn new technical skills in agriculture, renewable energy, and business management.
Despite the many challenges threatening sustainable development worldwide, change is achievable if we provide populations with the right tools. This is only achieved through education. Please help support this cause; any and all contributions are greatly appreciated!
For more information about Excel Children’s Care in Uganda, please visit their website: http://www.excelchildrenscareuganda.com/