The groups have chosen their businesses!

Since April, we have been meeting with two groups of vulnerable individuals. In total, there are 24 people representing 24 different families. These particular people were chosen because of their extreme state of poverty. For example, there are 7 grandmothers struggling to take care of their many grandchildren because the children’s parents (their own children) have died.

In a span of 14 weeks, participants learned about how God views them and how they should view work. They learned basic life skills. Then we did a deep dive into matching their passion and assets with what can make a profit. Finally, the participants chose their businesses! And we are getting ready to fund their start up!

Individuals have been divided into teams of 6 to run the businesses as a group. The group members currently make between $0 - $8 a month off their petty businesses. These businesses will be run alongside any ventures they are pursuing now and generate around $40 a month per person!

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The first group, Obanga Awero “God is Able” chose Produce Buying and Selling then Grinding Machines.

The second group, Obanga en Mera “God is Love” chose Produce Buying & Selling and Oxen Plow.

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Produce Buying & Selling: Groups will be buying produce from farmers in bulk at a low rate. Then sell both small quantities in a shop in their local community and sell large quantities to local factories at a higher rate.

Grinding Machines: People can come with their peanuts or sesame seeds to grind into a paste. They use this paste to cook chicken, beef, fish, vegetables - pretty much every dish here can be served “pasted”. There will be an additional machine to grind corn into flour. Corn flour here is used for both breakfast (porridge) and lunch (posho) in schools and homes.

Oxen Plow: Tilling large acres of land here can take a long time and be exhausting. Many families chose to rent a pair of oxen to come plow their field instead. This saves them time and energy that they can use for planting and tending the garden after. These Oxen will be taken to people’s gardens and plow their field for a set rate.

If you would like to sponsor a business, please click here!

Sickness to health

“Sickness has become history in my life and my family members’. The knowledge I have acquired made me know that not only meat is considered diet which was the case with me for so many years and as a result, I was lacking a balanced diet in my life. I have benefited a lot from the various lessons covered and ever since I started attending the lessons organized by Ignite Change, I have never fallen sick. I used to visit the hospital nearly every week. In addition to that, the trainings have had a very significant impact on me and my family at large since I can now eat a balanced diet with nutritious food and am now healthy.

Concerning the business, my mindset has changed because before the training on business ideas, I used to think of only one business which was pancake selling. Since then, I can think of other businesses like I am currently selling millet flour and brooms among other small-scale businesses. Now, I can save something for the future.” -Apil

 
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What is Community Outreach?

Recently, we hired a new Community Outreach Manager to begin working in the community of Kamdini. But what exactly is Community Outreach?

Community Outreach is our main activity where we work alongside families to help them develop life and business skills to be able to provide for their families. At Ignite Change, we value self-sustainability and want to work WITH the families instead of giving them a handout. This was the first focus of Ignite Change back in 2016 with the goal of helping these families send their kids to school to be able to feed them and get proper healthcare when needed.

Once we enter a new community, we go to a few churches to identify vulnerable families. These include widows, orphans, and disabled persons. We then visit their homes and conduct a survey to determine what assets they have, how large their family is, are their children in school, how many meals they eat in a day, etc. From this, we choose those with the most immediate needs and form groups.

In Kamdini, 70 families were identified and surveys conducted at their homes. A chart representing the sizes of the families is found below. [There is a large population of (18) elderly individuals living by themselves who are disabled or widowed. Their needs are different since most cannot do physical labor. We are going to work with the churches or another nonprofit in order for them to get the tangible resources they need.]

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Out of the 70, we made two groups of 12 people to begin conducting classes. The first classes are to encourage the participants by learning about our identities in Christ, that we have been given gifts and talents from our Creator, and sharing dreams for the future. The next sections of classes are on basic life skills that many people may have never received. These include family and community, hygiene and healthcare, nutrition, infant care, importance of education, and budgeting.

After about two months of weekly classes, the participants now have a more open mind on how they can identify work to make an income. We work with them to see their natural talents, passions, and assets then see if these choices can actually make money. The profitable choice that most aligns with each individual is then created into a business plan. We help them launch their new activity (or a better version of something they had been doing previously) by giving them goods (seeds, cloth, etc). After the activity is launched, we continue classes with the groups, monitor and get feedback for the various activities.

We are exciting to begin sharing stories with you! Classes will continue over a span of approximately four months before businesses are launched. It is a slow process, but changing the mindset of people can be the most difficult task. Helping them look at themselves not as poor, but as capable, hard-working individuals with plans to change their lives.

If you have not joined our monthly giving team to become a Change Maker, this is a great time to do so! Families are working hard to make a better life for their children – making a bright future.

Why can't so many children read?

Many students arriving for the first time at Nimaro Education Centre had never held a book in their hands. Some were trying to read the books upside down and others were memorized by the pictures. The teachers’ excitement was similar to the children’s - they could not get enough of the pictures and information these books had to offer.

Access to education globally has improved yet literacy rates have mostly stayed the same or even decreased. How can these children, that have been in schools for years, not read?

There are multiple factors that contribute to low literacy rates beyond lacking access to reading materials. Many students have to walk a long distance to school. They may get tired along the way and decide not to go to school that day. Teachers may also decide to not show up to teach due to the fact they have not been paid and have to find work elsewhere or they may be unmotivated and take advantage of a system with no oversight.

The ratio of children to teachers is very high in many developing countries. In the BBC Podcast referenced below, the ratio is 80 children in a classroom of 1 teacher in Kenya. Here in Uganda, it is common to find upwards of 200 children in 1 classroom! Imagine how lost a child must feel in this sea of children.

Teachers only lecture from the front of the classroom. There is little feedback or participation from students. The classrooms are filled with nameless children who are expected to sit, listen and take notes for the whole day.

Beyond literacy, comprehension rates are even lower. Teachers frequently only ask surface-level questions and do not challenge children with critical thinking or problem solving. This education system is setting up the children for failure.

How is Nimaro Education Centre different?

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Children and teachers here have hundreds of books to choose from. Books and pictures can take a person to a different place. When teachers talk about an octopus, students can see an actual picture of how it looks!

Classroom sizes are limited to 35 students per class and teachers have been trained to use hands-on learning, class participation and group work. Some of these students receiving this quality education still walk quite a distance to come to the school, however, when they arrive, they are fed breakfast and lunch so they do not have to go through the whole day hungry!

There is a completely different atmosphere when one visits Nimaro versus a Ugandan public school. Our children look forward to coming to school to learn! Our teachers are invested in the lives of the students and want to build them up to be successful. We are happy to provide these children with a solid foundation and start to their lives!

Here is the BBC Podcast: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3cswqvk

2 Hours to Change Lives!

What can 2 hours really do?

Well here in Uganda, 2 hours worth of your wages can do so much!

We have launched a campaign called 2 Hours where we are asking you to give 2 hours worth of your wages every month to Ignite Change. Watch the video below to hear Emily talk about the campaign.

To learn how much impact you can have and to sign up, click here.