January 2015 News
PLE results. We’re thrilled to report that the results of the Primary Leavng Exam are in, and all of our students have passed! In Uganda, the PLE is a national exam at the end of primary school to determine who is permitted to continue on into secondary school, so it’s a very important milestone. A true testament to our hardworking teachers, staff, students, and their supportive families!
Did you get Amazon giftcards for the holidays? Remember to use smile.amazon.com when shopping at Amazon! Every purchase generates an Amazon.com donation to AAH — at no additional cost to you! Amazon Smile link
There’s still time to get a letter to your sponsored child at the end of the month! Sponsor letters were due on the 10th. We know many have been traveling and are busy, so if you missed the deadline, please send them in by Saturday, January 17th. They will be hand-carried to Uganda with travelers latter this month. You can either mail to P.O. Box 7694, Arlington, VA 22207, or send by email or email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The children will soon be back at school for the start of the new school year. The new 1st grade class has been selected, and they are full of enthusiasm and promise! The 7th graders who finished at AAH’s school in December hope to get their Primary Leaving Exam results this week, to see who will continue on to secondary school. Fingers crossed!
We’re working on tax letters for 2014 donors at the moment. If you’d prefer to get yours electronically and save the stamp and paper, please let us know!
Out of more than 1,000 organizations, AAH was just named GlobalGiving’s “Best All Around” partner in 2014! AAH was selected because “AAH was one of the top fundraisers in 2014 and demonstrated exceptional engagement, including offering multiple training opportunities to GlobalGiving’s community.” To all who helped make this happen by participating in GlobalGiving events, thank you!
- Employer matches are great! Can you increase the impact of your donation with an employer match, or employer donation for your volunteer hours worked? All the info and forms you need are right here! What a great way to make your hard-earned money have more impact and help more children in Uganda! Check out our link: EMPLOYEE MATCH
- Holiday shopping? Remember to use smile.amazon.com when shopping online! Every purchase generates an Amazon.com donation to AAH — at no additional cost to you! Amazon Smile link
- Shopping on eBay for the holidays? From now through Dec 31st, you could win $2,500 and AAH could win $25,000 just by designating AAH on eBay as a favorite charity! Feeling lucky? Maybe worth a shot! Click here: Ebay charity designation
We’re so grateful for all the support we received on Giving Tuesday! Out of over 500 nonprofits, we raised over $40,000 and came in 2nd place — earning an extra bonus of $2,000, on top of all the matching money and donations received. The competition to raise the most funds was so close that it went down to the final seconds. Every single person who donated or encouraged others to do so had an impact in getting our bonus funds for the children!
We understand that some people prefer to contribute by check or in other ways, and appreciate that too. Everything we are able to do is all because of you!
Happy Thanksgiving! Funny thing about gratitude. You don’t need a lot of stuff to be grateful. Our schoolchildren in the tiny mountain village in Uganda have few possessions. They come from humble backgrounds, and their homes have no electricity or running water. Yet people are happy, grateful for what they have and for the opportunity the children have to get a good education at AAH. When you honor them with a visit to their homes, they will share all they have with you, and might even give you a turkey or plantains as a gift. Yup. A live turkey!
Join the 2015 Teen Service Trip! EMAIL US for more details!
Many thanks to all who made last month’s Tenth Anniversary Gala a big success! Check out our Facebook page for the pictures.
Thanks to all who helped make the July 16th GlobalGiving fundraiser a success! AAH was in the Top Ten — out of more than 2,700 organizations — thanks to wonderful supporters like you! We raised over $12,000 in extra funds to help unsponsored children and the health clinic.
The June 2014 Microsoft fundraiser was a success, thanks to supporters like you! We raised over $26,000 in one day, including valuable matching funds from Microsoft which help the unsponsored children, the health clinic, and more.
BBQ. AAH supporters and friends are joined us on June 1stto launch our 10th Anniversary celebrations. We’ll be posting pictures here soon but in the meantime. see our Facebook page for photos of the picnic!
Happy Father’s Day! What a nice way to remember and acknowledge a wonderful dad than by donating to AAH in his name.
Happy Mother’s Day! We wanted to share news of our first mother-daughter day event, open to 3rd to 7th graders, and their moms. There was netball, 3 legged races and wheelbarrow races, fingernail painting courtesy of Rachael at Marina Maher Communications. (MMC sponsors many girls at AAH, thru our amazing partner She’s the First.) Moms and daughters drew pictures of each other and wrote what liked most about each other. If you want to help a mom send her child to school, donate today and we’ll send you a special message from the girls!
Happy Easter and Passover from the 1st and 2nd graders at our school n Uganda!
Microsoft Match Results, Apr 16-17, 2014
Whew! We did it!!! We raised $27k ($18k from 62 donors, and got $9k in matching Microsoft money! ) Great job and huge thanks to all who supported our efforts to let poor rural children go to school!
-National Geographic Travel ranked Uganda as one of the Top 20 “Must See” Places in the World! Come see why…
- You could be here! We have openings for Interns and Volunteers both here and in Uganda in 2014.
Mikaela from NYU had the Spring Break of a lifetime by spending it volunteering at our school. Here, third graders are teaching her to make mats from banana tree leaves.
Below, FIMRC volunteers staying at our Guest House hiked up Buskila Hill with Abunah, one of our seventh graders, and our Coordinator Marissa. Abunah and his brother Noah (a secondary school student) also taught the volunteers some traditional dances!
Shoot us an email if interested in volunteer and intern possibilities at email@example.com
2013 Progress Report
Happy New Year! 2014 is a very special year for AAH, as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary of saving lives, changing lives by through education and healthcare in rural Uganda. Here’s a brief Progress Report by Co-Founder John Wanda on the past year. As you’ll see, we’ve been busy!
2013 – A Remarkable Year. From its humble beginnings in 2004 with just 78 students, we have grown into a large primary school with 339 students, 13 teachers, 17 support staff at the school, and a great record of accomplishments. Our secondary and vocational school program this year has 280 students. And for the first time ever, AAH sponsors sent the first group of students to university – 19 remarkable students who beat the odds to gain admission to some of Uganda’s most coveted universities. We strengthened our health clinic, and continued outreach programs with local schools as well as women’s microfinance. We have provided new hope and opportunities to some of the very poorest in Uganda. That is our challenge and our calling.
AAH’s First College Students. In December 2012, when the first batch of AAH students sat their senior six exams, there was no knowing what their fate would be. Of the 22 AAH students who sat the college entrance exams, 19 were accepted into college, a remarkable 86% success rate that few schools can boast of. Our top student obtained a perfect score, earning a full government scholarship. 6 students got admission into prestigious Makerere University, and the others were admitted to various universities. Most of our sponsors decided to continue sponsoring these students into college. In just a few years, we hope to have a remarkable group of new graduates with skills in engineering, environmental sciences, business, public administration, etc. that will help them serve their community. What began as a dream for these students is now becoming a reality.
AAH Outreach. Because we can only accept about 50 new first graders (P1) a year, we try and increase our impact by sharing lessons learned and training with poor local government schools. AAH’s outreach programs continued to make an impact in Bududa and Manafwa districts. We helped complete six new classrooms in the Bumwalye primary school. With support from the Kamal Foundation and Bududa district government, AAH teamed with the parents of Bumwalye, the Bududa community based in Kampala to complete a school building that had been in limbo since 1995. I visited the school in October and couldn’t be prouder of this accomplishment. One of our biggest accomplishments was engaging the people of Bududa who live in Kampala to participate in this effort.
AAH continued its outreach program with Bulobi Primary School by partnering with Lasell College and Marymount University to provide teacher training at this school. Both universities have offered to continue the program in 2014. In addition, we started an internship program and two Marymount University grad students Dorothy a and Moussa and Uma, a Marymount professor, went to the Bupoto clinic. Moussa stayed on for a year long assignment at the clinic. Brad, a Georgetown University medical student returned for his second trip to the Bupoto health clinic. AAH also continued its program of providing secondary scholarships to the top boy and girl at each of the 6 local primary schools in its outreach program, and distributed pencils, sports clothing, soccer balls, and other donated materials to many schools in Bududa and Manafwa. 10 schools also participated in the P7 exam preparation program, to help students prepare for the all important Primary Leaving Exam which determines whether and where students will go to secondary school. We continue to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of these outreach programs and are working to strengthen them.
2013 Volunteer Experiences
In 2013, we doubled the number of volunteers who went to Uganda – over 70! In addition Marymount’s group led by Mary Gibson and Lasell College’s group led by Tom and Lena, there were volunteers from across the US who played a great part in the success of AAH, both here and in Uganda. In terms of staff, Caitlin completed a terrific 20 months of service as Volunteer Coordinator in March. Molly wrapped up a great year as Outreach Coordinator in August. (We are fortunate to have Marissa to replace them!) College grad Dana from Seattle spent almost 2 months in Uganda and has stayed involved after returning to teach in the US. Teachers Cynthia and Catherine spent part of their winter months in Uganda. Bree, a recent graduate from the University of Maryland spent a few weeks in Uganda and came back an inspired believer and supporter of our program. And in August, Joyce Wanda led a team of three adults and six young teenagers (see below) on an eventful trip to Uganda, working on programs at the school and at the clinic in Bupoto. With her on this trip was Heather, a longtime supporter, and Doreen and Bruce from the UK. In October, Christen Brandt, the Director of International Operations of She’s the First, Photographer Kate Lord, and Marina Maher Communications’ top fundraiser Rachel visited AAH for the first time. She’s the First is an outstanding donor and partner of AAH that sponsors over 60 children at AAH. Other volunteers to Uganda included George and Jean, Liz, Alex (a former student at ATS, our sister school in Arlington, VA), and made an impact at AAH and Bulobi school. Ian, a student at Notre Dame, visited the school and treated all to a rare treat – a meat meal — on the occasion of his birthday! Many other volunteers travelled to AAH on a short-term basis and made important contributions. Of great significance was the visit of a group of three young men from Scotland who were motor-biking from Edinburgh, Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa. They organized a fundraiser in Scotland that raised over $2000. During their stay in Uganda, they worked long hours at AAH for three weeks, providing tutoring and support as well as much needed entertainment and laughter to local children and visitors alike. Thank you Archie, Archie, and Chris! By the way, volunteers have lots of adventures in Uganda, from hiking mountains, riding the Nile river rapids, wildlife safaris, trekking to see mountain gorillas, and more!
Young Volunteers to Uganda. We want to recognize a special group of high school volunteers that went to Uganda this year from the US and UK. This was the second time a team of high school students went to Uganda during summer break. The mobilization began in March with the students doing fundraisers to support AAH. These activities included a water gun fight in the summer that raised $1,000, sufficient to sponsor a secondary school student. In Uganda, the group visited homes on community outreach efforts in Bupoto, distributed supplies to Albino children for Asante Mariamu, a partner organization, visited local schools and also worked in the clinic. During their time at the AAH school, they introduced the Reading Challenge and accompanying writing booklets, distributed the primary sponsor letters, and helped with the student letters to their sponsors. Heather and the high school students also assisted with classroom activities, and with math, reading and computer skills tutoring (with the university students).
US Volunteers. We often write about US Volunteers in Uganda, but there are equally compelling stories of volunteers in the US. After their successful fundraising for AAH, Sara, Amali, and Alexandra were finalists in the “Do Good Challenge” at the University of Maryland (we enjoyed meeting the judges – Olympian Carl Lewis and Actress/Activist Fran Drescher). The entire US Board of AAH serves in a volunteer capacity, often working long hours to keep things going. Carole spends many hours each week managing the Sponsorship program. JoAnn and Tracy and a remarkable team of volunteers spent countless hours planning and organizing the Gala in October. Other volunteers manned AAH booths at events, and represented AAH at functions, speaking engagements, meetings, or introductions. Without the work of these volunteers, AAH would be struggling to get noticed. The opportunities to volunteer, whether in the US or Uganda, are plentiful and we encourage you to get involved. Please shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AAH Is Bursting its Seams! Due to growth of our operations, AAH is in need of an office. Since the beginning, AAH has operated out of our basement and/or the executive director’s home. We’re now at a point where we require a fixed office space, so we can add interns and volunteers to strengthen our operations. We don’t require much space, just a room, and are flexible. It could be on a temporary basis. Please email email@example.com if you have any ideas.
An Icon Gone. As 2013 comes to an end, we remember Papa Akisoferi Wamundu. No words can describe the pain we still feel on the passing of Papa. Without him, there would be no AAH school or programs today. It was Nelson Mandela who said “when a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” We believe Papa is resting in well-deserved peace.
AAH Advisory Board and Board of Directors. AAH added an Advisory Board in 2013, a high profile team of business leaders and executives. The team includes Dr. Dan Carrucci, President, Global Health Consulting, Inc.; Cynthia Dinkins, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League; Jim Hussey, Chairman and Founder of Chapman, Cubine, Adams + Hussey; Charles “Chip” Kahn, American Hospital Association CEO; and Marymount University President Matthew Shank. These are all outstanding members of the community and we thank them for their leadership and vision.
We bid farewell to and thank Board of Directors member and Treasurer George Molaski for his service, and welcome three new Board members: Marco Fernandez as our new Treasurer and Heather Burneson and Tracy Hanafin.
Fundraising for AAH. AAH has had a successful year, especially through social media ands matching programs organized by Executive Director. In both June and December, AAH was the top fundraiser on match days, raisign more than $50,000 each day– out of hundreds and hundreds of nonprofits. She also visited Uganda and got AAH into Great Nonprofits, Guidestar, Microsoft’s Youthspark program, and Superstar status on Global Giving; all of this strengthens our fundraising ability. The AAH Gala in October raised over $50,000, the most successful gala ever. Our thanks go to Gala Co-Chairs JoAnn and Tracy, and the numerous volunteers. We are so grateful to our supporters, and were moved by donations big and small — including a little girl who sent her $2 Suduko money, another child who raised $11, two girls who raised $150 for library books, and many more. We welcomed new partners this year, such as the Claude Moore Foundation. These are welcome funds, but fall short of the growing needs at AAH. The secondary school program alone costs over $200,000 a year. While we have done relatively well to keep AAH programs afloat in 2013, we do need your help in getting all AAH children sponsored, and for us to continue health, outreach, and microfinance programs. Without your help, AAH would not have had the success it has had! As you celebrate the arrival of the new year, please consider a donation to AAH so that the children in rural Uganda can go to school and receive life-saving health care. In Uganda, families must pay for uniforms, school supplies, and lunch — and many simply cannot afford it. For a modest donation, you can make a difference. You can change someone’s life! Use the Donate Now button on the top right
We were honored to be selected for today’s Microsoft/ GlobalGiving program. AAH was the top fundraiser out of more than 350 nonprofit organizations in the Microsoft/ Giving Tuesday, thanks to our amazing supporters! We raised over $53,000. Thank you so very much! The $250,000 matching funds from Microsoft were gone in just 16 minutes! If you missed the chance for this fundraiser, you can always donate thru our AAH website by clicking on the Donate Now button to the right.
More news…Please see the Papa Wamundu page for a personal note from Co-Founder John Wanda on his father’s passing in October 2013. If you would like to share a memory or photo of Papa Wamundu, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Your messages will be shared with John and Joyce. The Wandas ask that in lieu of flowers, those who want to donate consider the Papa Wamundu Fund for Secondary School Scholarships, please use the DONATE NOW button to the right.
Thanks to you, we received funds from Microsoft to match your donations on the special Microsoft 100% Match day in September. We also came in first in the July Microsoft’s GiveForYouth fundraising challenge, earning valuable bonus money for programs in rural Uganda.
High School Trip. Co-founder Joyce Wanda and Board member Heather B. accompanied a group of high school students to Uganda. this past summer. It was a wonderful trip, opening minds and hearts!
Our First Class Enters College! Our first class of secondary school graduates did well on challenging college entrance exams last year. In Uganda, less than 1% have a college degree and there are not enough spaces for all, so it is competitive. We had 22 students take the exams. Tim scored a perfect score and just got a full scholarship from the Ugandan government, and 20 of 22 are now college students. This shows our education programs work! We are so proud of them, and hope funding can be organized to enable them to go to college. Below is Tim, getting ready for college!
Marrissa arrived in August 2013. She is a graduate of University of Pittsburgh and has experience tutoring as well as volunteering in HIV/AIDS programs. We’re excited to have her join our team!
Volunteers Liz S. and Alex J. helped AAH’s Molly Daniels distribute teacher supplies to ten poor schools in rural Uganda. It involved carrying supplies donated by Givology up mountain paths to reach remote schools. Schools were thrilled to receive paper, pencils, and other basic supplies. Thank you Givology!
- 2014 Spring, and Summer Internships Still Available! Volunteer or intern in a rural Ugandan village in the mountains, or work with us in the Washington DC area.
Meaningful work, great people, beautiful country and wildlife…No wonder National Geographic named Uganda one of the 2013 Top Twenty Must See destinations! Left, Volunteer Dana B. teaches class. For more info email: email@example.com
More news…Thanks to all who made the July 13th picnic a success. ..Uganda Program Director Thomas Kisolo Kitandwe enjoyed the intensive summer session of his Marymount University’s Masters Program…A Lasell College group of 14 provided very valuable instruction and training to students in May. Great job Lasell …AAH was the top fundraiser on www.globalgiving.org’s and on GiveForYouth recent bonus days. We still need child sponsors though. Please consider Sponsoring a Child for Less Than $1 Day
What our Sponsors Say:
Last Christmas, I sponsored a little girl for my 7 year old niece, Samantha. She has enjoyed writing to and receiving letters from Kalenda. I plan to continue sponsoring Kalenda, so that the two of them can grow up writing to each other. Long after the toys I bought Samantha have been forgotten, she will remember Kalenda. – Karen H., Alexandria, VA
Sponsoring a child is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I love getting letters from, Seera, and hearing about her progress in school and her love of reading. She is so eager to learn so she can give back to her community. Someday, when I’m long gone, Seera will be making our world a better place. – Betty L., Kansas City, MO
We Americans are so fortunate. In Uganda, people can’t take for granted basic things our kids just expect. Every child should have the opportunity to learn. The Ugandan children send me wonderful letters that show we are making a true difference in their lives every single day. - Anne F., Arlington, VA