Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema recently returned from an extended visit to Kenya to meet with Phyllis Keino, our international spokesperson and founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, to evaluate its progress and conduct a needs assessment.
From there Beth visited Uganda where she evaluated forming potential new partnerships with children’s homes and brought Phyllis with her “because she knows how children’s homes should be managed and can quickly evaluate whether there is a good standard of care at a children’s home.”
While she was in the country, she also visited our current partner Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder) which Bread and Water for Africa® has worked with to support its education program through the donation of books.
In the past two years, Bread and Water for Africa® has provided 44,000 books to Bega kwa Bega which distributed them to 120 impoverished rural schools benefiting more than 15,000 students.
In addition, Beth visited its organic farming training center and the farm manager who is very well educated in organic farming methods and is a strong advocate for food sufficiency at both the family and community levels.
Beth came away very impressed in the training center, which is used by Makerere University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in all of Africa, as an organic farming internship facility.
And she was equally impressed with the model farming sites she visited where she met farmers who are being trained in the best ways to make use of their very small plots of land utilizing every spot possible and learning to plant and harvest throughout the year using crop rotation among other things.
“The Bega kwa Bega program is a great example of how food self-sustainability at a grassroots level benefits family and, eventually, whole communities,” Beth commented. “It is always true that when every family’s needs are met at the grassroots level, the whole community changes.”
Earlier this year, we were able to ship a 40-foot container (approximately 22,000 books) to Kampala, Uganda, where they were distributed by our partner there, Bega kwa Bega to dozens of schools.
Those textbooks and reference books will be used to educate tens of thousands of children and youth in a country where going to school is a privilege that most parents, who being uneducated themselves, cannot afford.
The students who attend these schools fully understand how fortunate they are to be in school and savor every moment in the knowledge that without knowing how to read and write they have little hope for anything more than a subsistence way of life ahead.
These books will be treasured by these children who will first use them to learn simply how to read, and later to expand their vocabulary, and ultimately their mind.
Do the math: 567 boxes + one 40-foot shipping container holding 35,000 pounds of books = 50,000 Ugandan school children in 150 rural schools given the opportunity to not only learn to read, but also develop a lifelong love of reading and learning.
This summer, thanks to our supporters, we were able to do just that. Through our partnership with Books for Africa and Bega kwa Bega (BkB) (Shoulder to Shoulder) for Uganda Orphans, these 50,000 children will have access to more than 20,000 books, including picture and story books for the youngest, and science, math, social studies, health and art textbooks for the older students.
“Most children find it difficult to learn and master reading skills in English due to a lack of books,” says BKB Founder and Director Conche McGarr, who added that the storybooks with colorful pictures will attract young readers “to develop an interest in reading at an early age.”
Conche also noted that the books will benefit the teachers as well who will be coached on how to use the books to the help their students improve their literacy in a country where half the adult population is illiterate.
“Our schools rarely get such an opportunity,” she told us. “Therefore, this donation will be unforgettable in the lives of the beneficiaries and who will be forever grateful for this kindness.”
Bread and Water for Africa® has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the Neilom Engineering for Social Change Fund to build a water well in Sierra Leone.
The grant is being made available through the Neilom Foundation and the Center for Engineering Concepts Development in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in partnership with the Center for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland College Park.
“Our name reflects our highest priority to bring clean water to families, clinics, schools and entire communities,” stated Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Bethelhem Tessema, who noted that Bread and Water for Africa®, through partnerships with grassroots organizations in Africa, has provided water wells for tens of thousands of people in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia and Sierra Leone.
The $10,000 grant funding will go towards building a hand pump water well to serve the Hill Station Primary and Secondary Schools as well as the surrounding community in Freetown, Sierra Leone. We will commit matching funds of $5,092 to fully meet to the total project costs of $15,092.
In 2015, we established a goal of building three wells in Sierra Leone, a country still recovering from the Ebola outbreak of 2014, by June 2016. The first of the three wells, in the community of Waterloo, is soon to be completed.
Bread and Water for Africa® has established a goal of building a total of three wells in Sierra Leone, still recovering from the Ebola outbreak of 2014 which continued into 2015, for FY 2016. The first well, in the community of Waterloo, is soon to be completed.
The Neilom Grant money, combined with the matching funds contributed by Bread and Water for Africa®, will make it possible to complete the second well early in 2016.
We will administer the grant with its partner, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), of Freetown , Sierra Leone, which have worked as partners for more than 10 years. Weather permitting, the construction of the new well could begin as soon as January and be completed by the end of March.
The need for such a well in Sierra Leone is great. The vast majority of the population does not have access to safe and clean water and nearly half of the population uses unprotected water as their primary source for drinking, bathing and washing.
We are extremely grateful to the Neilom Engineering for Social Change Fund for recognizing the need for a well in this community that will benefit thousands and literally save lives.
On behalf of these thousands, we say “Tenki” (“Thank You” in Krio, the national language of Sierra Leone).