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It’s Not Too Late to Make a Difference

Join us this March as we bless widows in Uganda

Between International Women’s Day on March 8th Women’s History Month for wrapping up on March 31st, this time of year is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our Legacy Program and to give toward female entrepreneurship through ROWAN in Uganda!

ROWAN has been empowering widows in the region for 14 years now. This year, every dollar you donate boosts our four-year Legacy Program to empower widows through financial literacy, so that they can open their own businesses and support their families!

When a widow enters the program, they first gain free access to our ROWAN medical clinic, weekly meals, and emergency care so they can focus on the trainings and courses. These include Literacy, Health, Business 101, Land Rights, Women’s Rights, and SO much more.

Learn more and give here!

Post Author: Micayla Jorgensen

Hope Makers

A woman and her family by their home in Uganda

On Wednesday, we shared stories of what life has been like over the last year for Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence – members of our Ugandan ROWAN community.  Today, we want to share some year-end thoughts from Robina and Anet.

A woman and her five children in front of their home in Uganda

Robina shared that 2021 was a ‘unique experience in my life, the family, and the community at large.”  She felt a great deal of fear about the COVID virus and all the unknowns surrounding it.  Robina wrote that COVID lockdowns imposed by the Ugandan government caused her business to come to a standstill, making it impossible to purchase basic necessities for her family.

A woman and her daughter in Uganda

Anet shared that she struggles with increasing poverty due to COVID lockdowns.  She also worries greatly about the children, especially the teenage girls, who were sent home due to school closures.  Anet wrote that she hopes that schools reopen soon and that when they do, they will have special programs to help the children get back into life as they knew it before the pandemic.

Like Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence, Robina and Anet shared their gratitude for the help they and their families have received from ROWAN throughout the last year.  Both women wrote of the difference ROWAN’s provision of food, safety equipment, and other necessities made for their families. They also shared their thanks for ROWAN’s educational materials, virus education, and counseling services.  Each time ROWAN was able to step in and help, it gave Robina, Anet, and their families hope, a much-needed commodity in times of struggle.  

This Christmas season, ROWAN has chosen hope as our focus.  Our Blessing Basket campaign is all about giving hope to our Ugandan families.  Hope in the form of having their immediate needs met with food and educational materials and hope for the future in the form of seeds to plant. Once planted, these seeds will become crops that can help each family start 2022 on more solid ground.  Christmas 2021 One Act of Hope Campaign

We are so excited and grateful to say that we are now over halfway to our Blessing Baskets campaign goal!  Our goal is to provide 400 families with a Blessing Basket and, as of this post, we have received enough donations for 230 baskets!  If you are interested in purchasing a Blessing Basket or learning more about this campaign, click here.  

Thank you to all those who have donated to our Blessing Basket campaign!  You are hope-makers!  In a world that can feel cold and lonely, you are spreading love – one act of hope at a time.  

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

One Act of Hope

Woman in Uganda holding a basket of food on her head

“If you can’t feed 100 people, then just feed one.” – Mother Teresa

Christmas 2021 One Act of Hope Campaign

The need for food is something all of us share. For some, however, this basic need is often in short supply. This is why, for our Christmas campaign this year, ROWAN has selected Blessing Baskets as our focus.  

 

Each Blessing Basket contains:

40 pounds of food

A Frying pan

Sweet treats

Seeds to plant

Educational materials for children

 

These items will help our Ugandan ROWAN families meet basic needs and give them a solid start to 2022.  

 

By donating $85 for a Blessing Basket, you are helping sustain an entire Ugandan family through lockdowns, weather catastrophes, uncertainty brought by a global pandemic, and the political chaos that continues to plague the region.

 

Our goal for the Blessing Basket campaign is $34,000, which, if reached, will allow us to provide 400 families in Uganda with a basket of much need supplies along with a huge dose of hope.  To purchase a Blessing Basket for a ROWAN family, click here.  With your help, we can reach our goal of helping 400 families by December 20th. 

 

Let’s make this Christmas one of abundant blessings – one act of hope at a time.  

 

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

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

News of increasing violence in Kampala

Police in Uganda behind crime scene tape

The end of October saw Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, under attack.  On the evening of October 23rd, people in Kampala were out enjoying an evening meal when an explosion rocked the city center.   Then less than 48 hours later, another explosion targeted a bus traveling from the capital to western Uganda.  Investigators believe both bombings are the work of rebel Allied Democratic Forces, a known affiliate of the Islamic State.  After the Islamic State released a video claiming responsibility for the bombing on the 23rd, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called it an act of terrorism.  

In an interview with VOA News, Fred Enanga, a Ugandan Police Spokesman, said that three men with ties to Allied Democratic Forces, the ADF,  had been arrested on suspicion of setting up the attack in the city center.  Police say that three men entered the eatery with a bag containing an improvised explosive devise, set the bag under a table, and left shortly before the explosion. This explosion killed a 20-year-old waitress and caused several other injuries to people within a 5 square mile radius.

The bus bombing on Monday, October 25th occurred as the bus was leaving the city.  This blast caused one death and several injuries.  Police say that the death was that of the young man who carried out the attack.  While there have been no clear claims of responsibility for this bombing, Ugandan police believe it to be another attack by the ADF.  

The Allied Democratic Forces strongly oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his government.  They are based in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and have been slowly expanding into other countries in the region.  In a press conference following the bombings, Fred Enanga told reporters that investigators believe an ADF sleeper cell exists in Kampala and that prior to the bombings, police had arrested 13 suspected ADF members.  

We at ROWAN are standing with the people of Uganda in praying for peace in the nation and for comfort for those affected by these bombings.  

Photo by Associated Press

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Believe in the goodness of people

A woman holding a baby in Uganda

We are nearing the end of October and, here in the US, that means one thing – the holiday season is fast approaching.  We at ROWAN have been busy putting things together for this year’s Christmas campaign, and we can’t wait to share it with you over the week of Thanksgiving!

A smiling little girl in Uganda

Your generous donations during our annual Christmas campaigns have made a difference in the lives of so many.  When Uganda shuttered schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  your contributions to our 2019 campaign – Education Opens Doors, allowed Rowan to continue our children’s educations through the learning center.   And when Uganda went under lockdown due to the pandemic, ROWAN was able to get much-needed food and supplies to our members with the bus your donations funded during last year’s Christmas campaign. 

A happy woman smiling in Uganda

With the lockdown in Uganda in effect through the end of January, this Christmas will look a little different for our ROWAN members.  While they may not be able to gather together to celebrate, we are hoping that with your help, we will be able to deliver baskets of joy to each of them.

A woman holding a small child in Uganda

We at ROWAN believe hope, faith, and love can prevail – even in chaotic times.  Helen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  We are so grateful for the love shown by our sponsors and supporters.  It is because of you that we have had the privilege of witnessing the power of love in action – a truly wonderous sight to behold.

 

All photos by Bob Ditty

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

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