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What happens when schools close?

An empty school building with missing windows in Uganda

“Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. “- Worldbank

 

The benefits of education on individuals and society as a whole are well-documented and many.  According to the University of the People, some of the benefits of an education are:

– It promotes a greater sense of empowerment and equality

– It improves economic growth

– It allows for the development of needed life skills

– It reduces crime rates

– It helps lower gender-based violence

– It reduces the rate and likelihood of child marriage

 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning worldwide.  While schools in some areas of the world have reopened, schools in Uganda have been closed for over 77 weeks – the longest closure of anywhere in the world according to the U.N. cultural agency.  Without resources for remote learning, the school closures mean that most students in Uganda have been without educational training of any kind for the last year and a half.  Save the Children called the prolonged school closures the “biggest global education emergency of our time” and they have identified Uganda as one of the countries at high risk for school system collapse. 

 The lack of access to education has negatively impacted students, their families, and the Ugandan economy.  According to a recent AP News report, unwanted pregnancies, child marriages, dropout rates, and the number of people living in poverty has increased.  Older children are leaving home looking for work wherever they can find it, and hope for the future is dwindling.  In an interview with AP News, Francis Adungosi, a former Ugandan teacher currently working at a mine, said that students “are traumatized. Remember they are having a lot of challenges.”  

But there is hope on the horizon.  Earlier this month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that schools would reopen in January.  We at ROWAN stand with the children and families in Uganda. We will be praying that this reopening timeframe sticks and that children across Uganda will be able to return to the safety and structure of their classrooms.  Will you join us in this prayer?

 

Photo by the Associated Press

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Meet Elisa and Wahabu

In Wednesday’s blog post, we featured two caregivers (Katherine Nabirye and Badiri Mukose) in need of sponsorship.  Today we are turning the spotlight on two of ROWAN’s sweet primary children who are waiting for their sponsors.  

Little boy standing on a field in Uganda

Elisa Mugoya is a little boy with a big heart.  He is one of 8 siblings! Elisa dreams of one day becoming a police officer so that he “can help keep people safe.”  With your help, we can support Elisa as he grows up and works toward accomplishing that dream.

A young boy standing on grass in Uganda

Wahabu Kafero is one of two siblings who live with their mother.  He is a kind little boy who dreams of becoming a lawyer one day to help “protect and defend” others.  Wahabu knows that this dream will require a lot of work, but he’s willing and ready to put the work in to make his dream a reality.  By sponsoring Wahabu today, you are showing this determined little boy that he won’t be alone on the journey toward his goal.

A young man in his school uniform in Uganda

 

A little boy dressed in a suit in Uganda

 

A ROWAN sponsorship costs as little as $38 a month.  Your sponsorship dollars help ROWAN cover the cost of:

Medical Care

Education and Literacy costs

Business training

Nutritious meals

In addition to meeting the physical needs of our ROWAN members, sponsorship builds relationships.  Once you sponsor a ROWAN member, you can write to the individual you sponsored – and have them write back.  You become a treasured part of their lives, and they will quickly become a precious part of yours.

To sponsor Elisa or Wahabu, simply click on their names anywhere in this post to be taken to their individual sponsorship pages.  

When you sponsor a ROWAN member, you are changing lives and lifting hearts.  We are so grateful for each of our ROWAN sponsors!  Your generosity helps ROWAN stand in the gap for our members, and we couldn’t do that without you.

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

“Gratitude is our foundation.”

A learning center in Uganda

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3: 5-6

A young child in Uganda

Recently pastor Paul said, “The world is in total confusion, but Uganda is confused more.”  Like so many places in the world right now, there is a lot of uncertainty in Uganda right now.  People are not sure where to turn or what to do.  Children long to be back in school and their caregivers don’t have any clear answers as to when that will happen.  The Ugandan government is saying that schools are reopening and is now demanding school fees be paid in order for children to return to in-person learning, but there is a general feeling of mistrust surrounding this.  Ugandans are worried that they will pay these fees and then schools will close once again.  For many these fees take up a large amount of their income, ROWAN would have to pay $6,000 (USD) in fees to have all of its children return to school right now. 

Pastor Paul is meeting with ROWAN staff to brainstorm ways in which the Learning Center can be used for help in continuing the education of ROWAN’s children.  You may remember that thanks to last year’s Christmas campaign, we were able to purchase an educational curriculum and now have a staff of 4 teachers in our Learning Center.  So, thanks to the generosity of so many of you, our ROWAN children will have access to education during this time of uncertainty.

A desk with chairs in a classroom in Uganda

As Pastor Paul says, “Gratitude is our foundation.  COVID has pushed ROWAN outside of its walls, outside of its programs.  What does ROWAN look like when we are outside our walls?  We rely on God’s daily bread for our direction, inspiration, and provision.  Our courage is expressed in surrender.”

A young boy smiling in Uganda

 

We at ROWAN have so much to be grateful for – even in these uncertain times.  We have not had a single member of the Ugandan ROWAN community test positive for COVID.  We have supporters whose generosity and kindness have allowed us to meet the needs of our members throughout this pandemic.  We have been on the receiving end of miracles and had so many answered prayers during this season of hardship.  And we have seen the power of love in action.  God is great.  Prayers are heard.  Hope is real.

A little girl smiling in Uganda

All photos by Bob Ditty

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Food is Life!

 

While the pandemic has brought hardship and struggle to the world, some of us have fared better than others. Many of us have been able to shop online for food and other things, with front door deliveries. We have made use of curbside pickup and Instacart shoppers. And most of us have been able to shop inside grocery and other stores as needed. I am grateful to God for the relative ease of feeding my family during such a hard time.

 

Our friends in Uganda are facing something wholly different. Due to rising cases of Covid-19 in country, Uganda began a 42 day lockdown on June 19. People may not leave their homes unless for medical emergencies. This has put people in the ROWAN villages in a dangerous situation as they have no way to get food to sustain themselves for this long period. ROWAN asked for your help and you came through! Last week, Paster Paul and our ROWAN team (under the watchful eye of Security officers) were able to distribute food to our widows and orphans. 

Maize and beans made ready for distribution outside at Mwanga Hall of Hope.
Pastor Paul and Isaac Malinga, ROWAN Board Chair, witness the food distribution process along with police officers.

Without the generosity of donors this would not have been possible. And we’re not done yet! To sustain each person through the lockdown we need to purchase and deliver more food. Please consider giving, anything you can, to our Food to Families campaign, and help us be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to our faithful widows and orphans in the villages who need to eat. All of the money raised from this campaign is going toward the purchase of food supplies during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 

Their faces! Happy beneficiaries of food send thanks and God’s blessing to donors and sponsors.

Pastor Paul just sent this message:

 

“Good evening to you all,

Thank you for your prayers, we made it.  Everyone was excited with the food given to them—God Bless you all abundantly.

 

You may wonder why we didn’t use the Bus.  The first point was that the Kilos were too many for the Bus, secondly the roads are too bad for the Bus when packed with food, thirdly the police we had didn’t allow us because when you carry people in a Bus it can easily spread the virus, so that is why we had to use the truck.

 

But the most important thing we thank God is that we were allowed to buy food and we were able to distribute it to them.

 

Thank you so much for your help.

Talk to you soon.”

 

Pastor Paul Nyende

 

Being hungry and not being fed takes a toll on the mind, body, and spirit. Thank you for continuing to help us alleviate this most basic need for our Ugandan brothers and sisters in Christ. He is the bread of life and we give Him thanks! 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

The reviews are in from our Business Training session.

At the conclusion of the Business Training Course we held in April, we had our 15 ROWAN-member participants complete surveys to help us see what sections of the course helped or stood out the most for each of them.  We recently received the results of these surveys and we wanted to share the highlights from those results with all of you.

 

Of the 15 participants, 9 of them felt that the Marketing and Research training provided within the course was the most beneficial for them.  The training on Business Start-up Ideas and Techniques came in a close second, with 5 of the participants stating that they found this to be the most helpful. 

When asked what their favorite part of the entire training course was, one of the participants said that it made them want to show more love.  A few of the participants wrote that their favorite parts of the training course were the activities that helped to reinforce the business training they had just received.  For the majority of the participants, however, it was the inclusion of a scriptural-based curriculum that stood out for them.  One of the scriptural passages that truly  spoke to the majority of participants was James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV) 

As I read through the survey results, I was struck by the sense of gratitude and hope for the future that the participants expressed in their responses.  There was one response in particular that really stood out to me as I read the completed surveys; it was an answer to the question of ‘ What was your favorite part of the training?’.  This participant wrote that their favorite part was the “idea that everyone has a legacy they leave behind”.  As I read that I realized, once again, how truly alike we all are.  We all have a legacy we leave behind and it is up to us to make sure the legacy we leave is one of goodness and hope.  

All photographs by Bob Ditty

 

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Our Learning Center is OPEN!

Like so many others throughout the world, the closure of the schools in Uganda has been detrimental to the education and lives of our ROWAN children.  In February, we let you know about the plan we were putting into place to help bridge the educational gap for our children and families in Uganda.  Today, we get to share the exciting news that our Learning Center is now open!  

   

We currently have 4 teachers working at the Learning Center and have different curriculums for each grade level.  In-person learning is done in groups based on grade level and these groups rotate weekly.  The children love being able to be with their friends and teachers again!  They also have the added excitement of being picked up for school in the ROWAN bus – a bus just for them.  

 

In addition to the in-person learning each week, students at the Learning Center are given assignments to work on at home.  Rowan staff are making follow-up visits to the student’s homes to help ensure that they are getting their assignments completed.  We are also working hard to give the families the tools they need to be able to support and help their students at home.  

 

Our Learning Center is the result of love in action and the joy we see in the eyes of the children who attend each day is a beautiful sight to see.

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

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