Greetings From Barbara...
|Coordinator and CEO |
The New Year has begun with a bang. Even before 2012, life in Bududa was very exciting for me as my four children traveled all the way to the Bududa Learning Center to join me for Christmas. All the kids would agree that the trip was a huge success and they loved it; they particularly loved the happy, friendly children in Bududa, who have nothing.
My Wybars left on Jan. 2, and within a few days, we had five more volunteers from the U.S. and Canada: Janet and Bill L'Heureux, long-time friends from Toronto; Malia Paulmier (16), a young member of my Quaker meeting in Philadelphia; Thomas Connolly (19), the son of some old Metis friends from Montreal; Daphne Wilson, from Vancouver; and last but not least, a lawyer from South Carolina, who is offering his legal expertise as well as his technical ability with computers.
Our focus this year is the new campus. We've shifted from our present site to a new location, in Bududa, two miles down the road in the center of town. The District has guaranteed us a 50-year lease on the land. We've completed the buildings necessary to run our programs, but the new buildings still need glass in the windows, final electrical wiring, painting, lightning rods, landscaping and I am sure many other things. To see images of our progress, jump to our Step Up article.
Thanks to all of you who continually support our work here We have pushed hard to complete the move by the start of school, and, with all hands to the pump, we did it! A heartfelt thanks to everyone for your support and very hard work. The students are so very proud.
Barbara Wybar, Coordinator and CEO, Bududa Learning Center
|Step Up |
Whew... We did it! The move to the new campus took place yesterday, Monday, Jan. 30., and was well coordinated with the first day of the new school year.
It is tremendously exciting to be in our new home, in the heart of the Bududa community. It's a much easier walk for students and staff, and we can now, for the first time, plug into an electrical grid. This enables us to use superior machinery for our vocational students in carpentry, cement practice, dressmaking and tailoring, not to mention running our computers and being able to light the classrooms. The villagers are looking proudly on this great new asset to the community that is providing jobs for many of its residents.
We've come so far, but we still need new classrooms. Right now, we are using the new Girls Residence as a classroom and are renting a facility off campus until the next new set of workshops and classrooms is built. But one step at a time.
We hope you're as excited as the students are about their wonderful new facility.
Stay tuned ---- we'll keep you updated.
New Girls' Residence
Cookhouse & Storeroom
Jephcott Three Classroom Block
Bududa Vocational Academy
Today is the first day of the 2012 school year.
It is too exciting. There is lots going on. We are still unpacking. We are still setting up. The solar panels have been reinstalled on the new building, and the solar is working.
The new classrooms are big, beautiful, clean and fresh with new paint everywhere and big glassed-in windows on both sides. The porch is in deep shade, which is such a blessing in this hot African sun.
We're adding the finishing touches on the Girls' Residence, which will take a few more days to complete. Until we have enough money to build our storied building for the workshops and more classrooms, we will be using three of the rooms in the Girls' hostel for classrooms and an extra office.
The site needs landscaping and we have the plans, but it's not yet top of the priority list. Once the rainy season begins, we can take a small step by planting a hedge around the property.
The new buildings are of the highest quality and finest buildings in Bududa. The locals are proud to have such quality construction in their town, and so are we. Our biggest donor, a U.S. business executive, asked that we construct buildings of excellent quality ---- so that is what we have done. We have used the best materials available in the area, and the finished details are, of course, the product of our own students and graduates. The new buildings draw much attention to our facility and organization, and the students, staff and local residents are very proud.
|CoP Director, Hellen Kabuni |
CoP Bududa Sponsorship Program
This year, for the first time, we sent out Christmas letters to each of the children's sponsors. As we sat next to each child, listening to their stories and writing down their words, we couldn't help but marvel at the fortitude and resilience of these young, innocent Ugandan children. They warmed us with their smiles and touched our hearts with their gratitude.
As we reflect on your generous offerings this past year, we'd like to acknowledge some of the year's highlights:
- A large donation of blankets from the Germantown Friends School third-grade class. You've warmed some shivering little bodies ---- hungry children who often sleep on just a dirt floor.
- Fifteen high-quality solar lamps from the Hudson Grannies of Quebec, with the special help of Gunther Arnold. These solar lamps are used to recharge cell phones and provide light to an entire room, a tremendous gift to families trying to function in the dark each evening. We hope, eventually, to supply all of our students with these much-needed solar lamps.
- A fantastic field trip to Sipi Falls for older CoP students, funded by Barry and Leilani Rigby, the parents of Sabia Rigby, our Peace Corps volunteer and CoP Coordinator. For most children, this was the first time they traveled away from home. The bus ride alone (complete with piped-in music) was a big thrill.
- New Counseling Program designed to provide teenage girls with emotional support, life goals and friendship. With regular meetings, we can help these vulnerable girls stay in school; avoid the danger and shame of unwanted pregnancies and HIV; and, learn to self-advocate for equal rights.
- Sponsorship Program school lunches. The parents and guardians of our sponsored children are perhaps most grateful for school lunches, which are funded through your sponsorship. For nearly half our children, lunch is the only meal of the day.
We are grateful to our sponsors and welcome any additional support. If you know someone who would like to sponsor a child, please contact Lizette Gilday, International Coordinator at email@example.com.
|A volunteer helps a child write a letter to his sponsor.|
|Women's Microfinance Bududa DirectorBetty Bigala.|
Women's Microfinance Bududa
We began 2011 with the first group of 20 women. They succeeded in repaying their loans, and we have now taken on two more groups of 20 women. So far ll women have repaid their loans, allowing them to take out new ones.
Head Administrator Betty Bigala has been networking with local Bududa women to build awareness around the program. Through word-of-mouth communication, the Microfinance Program is quickly gaining traction, and women are seeking out Betty, hoping that, they too, can begin to change their lives through financial independence.
By George Trask
I am here in Uganda as a volunteer as far out in the country as one can imagine. Nothing is the same here as in a city ---- no electric lights, no running water, no supermarkets, no paved roads, only a few motorcycles for transportation. But there are people everywhere. With the highest birthrate in the world, this area is teeming with children, more and more born every day. There are no wild animals, but subsistence farmers are everywhere. They live with their families on steep hillsides in mud huts. When night comes, there are no lights, just the stars and the moon. But these people have the same problems as people back home ---- how to educate their children and help them get a job, how to get medical care when a loved one gets sick, how to deal with government regulations. They are the poorest of the poor in a very poor country. This is where Bududa Learning Center comes into the picture. Without Barbara Wybar, her staff and her volunteers, hundreds of poor Africans would continue to live here without hope for a better future. I am astounded by the energy she brings to this place. We volunteers help by coming here for several weeks or even for months.
You who read this but cannot come, can help by contributing money to this worthwhile effort. Of all the charitable efforts I have seen in my life, this is the most meaningful and the most needed.
|Allison Neumeister, Volunteer|
Profile of a Child: Barbara's Story
By Allison Neumeister
Each day, Children of Bududa volunteers make home visits to survey the living conditions of children in our sponsorship program. As a volunteer visiting Bududa, I made several home visits and would like to share a story about one of our sponsored children, Barbara.
We started a long trek into a eucalyptus forest along a very narrow path winding around streams and gorges. Because we are entering the rainy season, the red clay soil that makes Uganda's land so fertile, turned to muck, and we slipped and slid in our mud-caked boots. (I slipped on my rear and covered myself in mud.) An hour later, we reached our destination, a muddy-wall, with two goats tied snugly to a tree.
As Barbara and her siblings peered outside with curiosity, we announced ourselves and entered one room of a three-room hut. With children swarming around us in a room the size of small cell, we sat in the dark and talked. Barbara and her siblings lost both their parents; their auntie now cares for them. The kids are warm and loving, but destitute.
Barbara's aunt indicated that 17-year-old Barbara is getting headaches. When we discovered how little she was eating, it is no surprise.
Barbara rises at 5:30 to begin her chores. Nearly two hours later, she walks more than a mile to school, without any breakfast. When she returns home, she commences chores and searches for scraps for dinner. The house is bare, with no food visible to us, and the children have only the clothes they're wearing.
Thanks to Barbara's sponsor and those of her siblings, Barbara can attend school, where she gets beans and posho (maize mash) each day. The story is similar for Barbara's siblings ---- all of whom rely on little more than one meal a day. During our home visit, we evaluated the conditions and supplied the family with beans and posho to last them for several days. We will return as often as possible.
As Barbara and her brother accompanied us to the food storage locker, they shivered in the rain. To warm them, we collected clothes from generous visitors at the Guest House. After dressing the children in sweaters, fleece shirts and shoes, we sent them on their way back up the mountain.
Barbara and her siblings, like all orphans and vulnerable children in Bududa, have worked their way into our hearts, and thanks to your generous sponsorships, Barbara will eat today.
Barbara Some of Barbara's Siblings and Cousins
Thank you for all your generous and loving support.
The Bududa Staff