Budimo Nursery School
Near Budimo Village, there was a nursery school that worked with children who had HIV-AIDS. There they could also get medical care from an elderly doctor. People lined up for hours, waiting for their child to be seen. For all these children, there were only three teachers available to teach the alphabet and little songs. At the time, the teachers were purely volunteer.
When asked how many of these children would be back to attend next year, the teachers predicted about 4%. The rest would have succumbed to AIDS by then.
We believed in the mission of this nursery school. We provided funds so the teachers could start making a decent wage, and the doctor could have safe transportation to the school. We also provided basic supplies and learning materials.
It was important to these parents to provide normal life experiences for their children, no matter how sick they were. Like any parent, they wanted their kids to laugh, make friends, and enjoy life. The school had been facing immediate closure, but was able to stay open for several more years.
As an organization, Child Reach Uganda believes education is the most important step out of poverty. The most impactful effort of CRU lies in its student assistance program. We provide uniforms, tuition, and meals for Ugandan primary school students. This allows them to develop valuable skills, find employment, and build a better future for their families.
This work provides tremendous value stateside, as well. Through programs like pen pal correspondence, students in the US learn firsthand how precious education is to children in Uganda. This helps them appreciate their education and engage with it more deeply.
Tatu is an artisan. He has been teaching the women and men the art of sewing for over five years. The women he teaches are often widowed, or come from abusive relationships. This kind and gentle man teaches them how to use and repair a sewing machine, cut fabric using pattern pieces, and sew clothing. It provides them with valuable skills and a sense of independence.
CRU pays Tatu regular wages so he can continue to teach the women in his village these valuable skills. We also donate fabric, thread, and other supplies. This enables the women to make and sell school uniforms to help support their families.
Students in the US learn about the experience of these women as well. In learning about pedal-powered sewing machines, for instance, students are introduced to concepts like resource scarcity. In seeing how people live without regular electricity, they can begin to understand how luxuries they take for granted impact major aspects of their life.
Help for Hearing Impaired
When we were in our local office in Lumino, two young girls and their mother came to talk to us. Their mother was desperate. Her daughters had severe hearing impairments as a result of high fevers they had as infants. This mother wanted her daughters to hear again. She asked us for help. We didn't know if we could help her, but after discovering dozens of people with similar needs, we sought out Starkey Technologies when we returned to Minnesota.
We went to Starkey Technologies without an appointment - essentially a cold call. We were able to talk to the director of Starkey’s charitable foundation. She had been in Uganda just recently. After discussing the struggles of these people at length, she took the contact information for our local director in Uganda. Four months later, 47 hearing impaired people were on their way to Kampala to be fitted for their own hearing aids.
We wanted to ensure that their transitions to hearing were successful, so we worked with Starkey to provide classes, information, and ongoing maintenance. Support groups were created so they could share their experiences with each other.
Students in the US who have hearing impairments often become deeply committed to the stories of these Ugandans. It impacts them in a dramatic way to find out that people on the other side of the world suffer from the same set of unique obstacles they encounter, despite having such different lives .
Nagabita Village Pharmacy
The people of Nagabita Village had to travel two hours by vehicle to get to the nearest medical clinic. Due to the distance and lack of transportation options, otherwise treatable ailments became life-threatening ordeals.
CRU was able to procure a building near the village, and hire a registered nurse who could prescribe medicines. They keep this medical clinic stocked with supplies that they subsidize or give away to those in need. The presence of a local medical clinic has drastically improved the quality of life for the people of Nagabita.