2017 Wrap up

Hello, my fellow Ugandan family and friends,

I am not even sure what to say in this, my eighth year of writing this thank you letter to all of you who have supported the ongoing work of FOYA Uganda.  I can only say that the mission and vision of FOYA Uganda is stronger than ever.

This summer our team was comprised of three Otterbein teacher education alumni, one mother of an alum, one student in early childhood and one student from the University of Virginia Tech along with our many Uganda counterparts.  The team was very diverse and they bonded and worked together amazingly well alongside our Ugandan partners.  We collected $8,000 thanks to all of you and used $8,500 in our projects (I can never stay within budget, hence, I will never be a wealthy NGO director!).  The money that you donated was used to help children in Northern Uganda and Central Uganda. We separated our work into three locations; Naguru Nakoosi in Central Uganda, four schools in Arua and Maracha district; Galia, Oluvu, Arua Hill and Atratraka, and one school in North Western Uganda, Bethel Jr. School.

The goals of the trip continue to focus on literacy, girl child education, and health and wellness.  We did take a huge step in going beyond delivering basic supplies. Based upon feedback over the past two years, we learned that even with pads, girls were missing school because they did not have a safe and private place to wash the reusable pads and clean themselves during the school day.  Many were still missing school.  So, we not only delivered 1000 reusable pads to six schools, we also built a Menstrual Hygiene Hub at each school so girls would stay clean and the pads would stay hygienic.  We also realized that delivering pads every year was not sustainable so we purchased three sewing machines to be situated in schools and community so that local tailors and the girls themselves could sew their own pads.

We also realized that education is the only way that change will happen in Uganda especially around the sensitive topic of Menstrual Hygiene Management and Sexual Reproductive Health.  We made 7 presentations at schools on Menstrual Hygiene Management and Sexual Reproductive Health and 5 parent and community presentations.

We continue our work with literacy and updated two libraries that we constructed in 2014, and 2015;  iRock Library/ Rainbow Library.  We brought over 1000 books with us and continued to train and educate librarians, teachers, and students on good library use.  Our other ongoing literacy work continues to be working with getting literature that is locally written, relevant and empowering.  Worked with one set of girls at Galia Primary to write personal narratives

The goals of this trip were truly realized…it is not just about assisting and partnering with others in Uganda to improve their opportunities and access but it is about Americans learning about a different culture and about ourselves. As my team said in their reflections.

I learned that Uganda is a place unlike anything I’ve ever seen, I learned about culture and human decency.

In order to be a successful and effective change agent, we need to first understand the culture, values, and norms of Uganda and work within the context of their society.

Being in Uganda and working with the girls felt so right and so purposeful, and I’m glad I got to do this before graduating because now I’m sure that this type of work is what I want to do after college.

Thank you from the FOYA UGANDA TEAM 2017: Diane Ross, Carly Shepherd, Christian Shotts, Deb Shotts, CC Fisher, Zac Hamilton, and Gargie Nagarkar