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Losing Our Way Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing. --------------------------------------------------------- Arundhati Roy (Indian author, advocate, activist)

Join The Global Village (Mi & Ive)

UGANDA | Sunday, 19 July 2009 | Views [1569] | Comments [1]

Three boys who had no visitors on Visitors Day -- Ive spend the day playing catch with them.

Three boys who had no visitors on Visitors Day -- Ive spend the day playing catch with them.

Our time at St. Paul KAASO School in Kabira, Uganda has come to an end. We have left behind our co-volunteers and new friends from New Zealand who will continue to offer their time and energy for many months to come. We left behind 600 beautiful, bright students who depend on the school to provide them with a transforming education, and also with clean water, food, and care from adults.

And we tearfully left behind two people, School Director Dominic Mukawaya and his wife, Headmistress Rose, who, with their actions as we observed them over the past month, their history of life decisions they told us about, and their vision for the future, have earned our deep respect and given us a determined purpose to continue to help them, even as the miles between us grow. Let us tell you about them – and why we are asking you to help us help them – with your books and/or your computer supplies.

Dominic and Rose Build St. Paul's KAASO Primary School
Ten years ago, Dominic and Rose found themselves seeking out and caring for a number of children in desperate circumstances. As their bevy of children grew and their hopes to help them all within their home became more untenable, they made the audacious decision to take the two buildings on their plot of land and start a primary school with which they could reach more children. In only ten years, their disciplined efforts have yielded a campus of nine classrooms (with three more under construction), dormitories for 300 of the children (many of them orphaned) to board at the school, and two kitchens to feed the children and staff. They didn't accomplish this alone. With their honest mission and high accountability, the interest of charitable organizations grew speedily. Thanks to local and international Rotary Clubs, they gained piped water and three water filters to provide clean drinking water – and during our stay at the school, they remarkably added around-the-clock electricity from solar panels. With the help of an organization started by a former volunteer, they have constructed a sick bay and are filling it with needed materials.

The work of their hands is unique, as these basic resources they now have at the school are not available to most of the people in their village. But in the spirit of African community that pervades so much of what they do, the Director and Headmistress see their work as integrally linked to their neighbors. KAASO also provides several community programs, including an adult education program, support for local women making and selling handicrafts, a maize mill to help local farmers produce the cornmeal that is a staple of the local diet, and a highly successful piggery program that provides piglets to local women to help them develop an ongoing source of income.

A Library and Computer Lab
But the current situation is not enough for the Director and Headmistress. They continue to cultivate visions for the future. In fact, they now want to realize a very big dream – offering the first library in the sub-county to their students. Imagine, an entire sub-county lacking such an important resource! Their school library would also improve teacher training and be open to local villagers who have no other access to books. Libraries are such a basic foundation for knowledge and advancement – a library in Kabira would open up worlds for its users.

They also dream that their library will provide access to computers. A recent statement by a local government official – the Chairman of Rakai District – at a school fundraising event we attended might best explain why: “Very few of our schools in Rakai District have computer training facilities. You may ask: Why do these people in the developing world need computers? Computers are now part and parcel of life...I appeal to you passionately, please help our children to move forward...The world is now a global village, help us to join it.” Your Old Books and Computers Can

Make a World of Difference The library and computer lab building has already been constructed. It will be available for use as soon as the students temporarily residing in it can be moved into a new dormitory. Our co-volunteers from New Zealand are working to make this new dorm a reality. As a result, offers for donations of books have begun, and a Canadian Rotary Club is working to help access some computers. But for their dreams for this facility to be realized – or maybe even exceeded – more is needed.

What kind of books do they need to fill their library...what kind of computers? As Dominic would tell us as he drove around in the school car with almost 200,000 miles on it, “What is old to you is new to us.” So, with just a little effort, you and some of things you no longer need can lend a very big hand.

* Because Ugandans speak both Luganda and English, your English-language books are incredibly valuable. You can find all of those extra books laying around your home that your children (or you!) have outgrown – picture books, children's literature, novels, non-fiction, dictionaries, encyclopedias, other resource books - really, any book about any topic at all – and you can put them in a box and send them to the school (address below). There is a special need for an encyclopedia set – if you have a set you can donate, please let us know and we will let the Director know it is on its way.

* When you buy a new laptop, you can send the school the “dinosaur” you are replacing. And if you have other computer technology (printers; USB ports; hard drives; etc.) that you are not using, throw them in the box, too. We have pledged to send our two laptops when we get back to the US – every additional computer means that more people can be served.

To mail books and/or computer ware, please send them to the address below. Please include a note that you heard about KAASO from Miral and Ivan. Dominic and Rose give so much of themselves to their volunteers; we were nurtured and educated by their efforts - it is good for them to know that their investment with us will continue to bear fruit even after we have left! And even though the address below looks a little wonky – we have confirmed that it is correct exactly as written!

St Pauls KAASO School
c\o John M. Mpagi Equator Technical Agencies Ltd
Jetha Building Plot 4A
Market Square
Nakasero Kampala
PO Box 9508

As supporters ourselves, we take seriously the issue of accountability, and we would not ask you to give to KAASO if we were not 100% confident that your donations will be used as intended. When we reviewed past donation records and watched Dominic work with new donations while we were at the school, we found that his integrity is matched only by his deep gratitude for everything the school receives. Any offer you can make will be of great service to the children of KAASO and the people of Kabira. We are extremely grateful that you would consider giving to a community that has earned such a big place in our hearts.

Thank you!

Ivan & Miral

Comments

1

Hi Ivan & Miral,
You two are doing so many wonderful services for people - you're both awesome. I'm definitely going to get some kids books together and send them. All is well here at CSTC - having wonderful weather & no rain for weeks. Take care my friends!! Jane

  Jane Brazell Jul 25, 2009 6:59 AM

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