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Before and After – Solid Rock Christian Preschool is Open!

When you decide to get your hands messy serving the poor it’s just that– messy! You get in to address one need (in Zozu’s case the need for elementary education) and before you know it you discover so many pitfalls and holes around you that you realize your one shovel just isn’t enough. That was the case two years ago at Solid Rock. The 1st graders at Solid Rock were coming into class with a severly under-prepared, and the teachers were working overtime. While nothing was really going wrong, the impending risk of burn out was real.

So do you throw in the towel and only take the 1st graders who have already been to school?

No. You pray hard, and set to work building a preschool.

It’s with great joy that, three years after the opening of Solid Rock Christian School, Solid Rock Christian Preschool is officially open!

For some students, this is the first time someone has read to them from a storybook.

 

Isn’t it amazing that where there used to be nothing but dirt, there are now teachers teaching and students learning in a four-classroom building? The desks are still being built and the bookshelves have yet to be filled, but thanks to your generosity, that’s all happening as you read this. Well, actually people in Uganda are probably asleep while you read this, but you get my point.

 

Before…

…After.

 

 

If you gave to the preschool, you made this happen. You made a place for children who used to be wanderers to be students.

 

On behalf of them, thank you.

Want to spread the love? Share this post with your friends! I mean, maybe I’m biased, but I think this is pretty cool.

 

 

 

Want to spread even more love? Giving to the “Where needed most” fund helps cover the school fees for these little ones until they have permanent sponsors.

 


The Year 2065

Oftentimes when we are moved to help people who are victims of struggling and suffering, it’s because of an eye-opening experience. A photo or video strikes out, or we read an article, and the abhorrent conditions ignite a previously dormant spark of compassion. But those abhorrent conditions, so shocking to the new eye, are the day-to-day experience of those who live in them. Long after the picture fades from our memories, that child is still living in that hut. That mom is still working that farm. That baby still has those flies swarming around its lashes.

Poverty is more than just lacking food for today. It’s your family lacking food for two generations. Your father has never known the dignity of stable work. Your mother has never had the security of a loving husband. You’ve never been expected to finish school. What does it feel like to live like this? How can we possibly develop the empathy necessary to love from so far away?

Immersing in their culture is a powerful gateway to experience a bit of what the poor experience every day. Yes, the students we serve are up against material poverty. But the hardest obstacle is not a poverty of things, but a poverty of hope.  This is a poem by Ugandan poet Peter Kagayi, and in it he unpacks what the poverty of hope feels like in an erudite, eloquent, and challenging way. He, a native of poor Uganda, imagines what life will be like in 2065, roughly 50 years from now. It’s not an easy read, but then again, neither is the life of the poor easy.

In 2065

Nothing will have changed that much,

Except I will be over 70 years

The roads will be the same

The politics will be the same

Kampala [the capital city] will be the same

In 2065 nothing will have changed that much,

Except I will be over 70 years

 

And I will go to Mulago [hospital] to cure my rheumatism

And the doctors will say there is no cure

And the boda- boda [motorcycle taxi] man at the stage

Will recommend to me a West-Nile witch doctor

And I will go to my grandson’s school like my grand-father did

And I will be turned away, for old age will be something forbidden.

 

The president will be the president we have today,

And in a wheel chair he will give the Nation Address

Only his son, then a field Marshall, will read it on his behalf

And he will talk on his behalf

And he will rule on his behalf

In 2065, nothing will have changed that much,

Except I will be over 70 years.

 

And Makerere [the university] will be on strike and Major- General ‘Something’

Will order open-fire on the students

Because their demand for fried beans

Will be a threat to the security of the State.

And U.R.A [political party] will be taxing the air we breathe,

The many times couples kiss,

The fart we excrete,

The words we speak

And the way we die

And will determine those who go to heaven

And those to hell

And tax their corpses differently

 

In 2065 nothing will have changed that much,

Except I will be over 70 years,

 

And teachers will be begging on the streets to feed their families

Their wives will sleep with tourists to make a decent living

The syllabus will be the same shadow of what colonialists left behind

With systems too archaic and too alien to offer anything essential

And the students will remain cabbages and potatoes

And the ratio of the jobless to the job-hopeful

Will remain nine to one

And like that life will move on,

And like that nothing will change.

 

In 2065 children of eight will be using contraceptives

Children of eight will be going to night clubs

In 2065 children will not be children

They will be eating fellow children for breakfast and for break at school

And they will not wash their hands and will offer you a hand-shake.

 

And we will be the people in that future

Built from a present that promises not much

Except ageing

We will be there hoping to die soon.

 

It breaks our hearts that this is the mindset that many of these students grow up in. Poverty is hopelessness, but thriving is hope. This is what we stand against with every child that is welcomed into Solid Rock and every dollar that is raised. We stand against hopelessness. Yes, the children and families we serve can use a new bed or a bag of beans, but more than that they need hope. Stumbling, imperfect though we are, we want to be a participant in ending hopelessness.

“…if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday” Isaiah 85:10.

Our sacrifice of money or time or prayers can, and does, create hope. The encouragement of a teacher builds hope in each student that they really can graduate. Education for children builds hope in each mother, that one day their child will be able to provide for their own family. Our dream is that in 2065 the students who graduate from Solid Rock will be 55 and still be able to say “I have a full life ahead of me.” Most of all, it will be them who will look around and say “how can I bring hope where there is none?” If poverty is believing that in 2065 nothing will have changed, thriving is believing that the best is always yet to come.

 

 


The Sacrifices of Service… Stories of the Solid Rock Teachers

 Teacher Sunday grew up in the Arua district, not far from Solid Rock Christian School, with a love of dancing, serving the Lord, and playing games with children. She dreamed of a profession and a calling where she could shepherd and mentor children in a meaningful way, so Sunday went to a local teacher’s college and pursued becoming a lower primary teacher. Along the way she met her husband, got married, and at 24 found herself living at home as he went to work. As she says: “At first I was staying at home but praying to get a school that will make me a role model in the community and teach me how to develop a child socially, physically, spiritually, and mentally.” She knew that she was meant for more, and had more to learn, but didn’t know where to look. Then, Sunday got wind of a new school opening up for the poorest children in her community, started by a local church. She decided to apply, and was one of the first teachers hired when Solid Rock opened in 2015. This is now her fourth year at the school, and over the last three and a half years she has grown into the Senior Women’s Teacher, the Class Teacher for 1st grade leading the other two 1st grade teachers, and the Sanitation Coach for the students. As she says “It is now my fourth year since I started working.  I enjoy the services I am offering to the children and also enjoy the services given to me.” 

Every day, Teacher Sunday gets up at around 5, before dawn, so that she can make it to class on time. She walks over a mile to get to school and often arrives tired. After teaching all day, she then has to walk back home along the dusty road. It takes away time from grading papers, spending time after class with her students that need it, and getting to spend time to recharge with her husband Philip. Time management is a struggle for her, but she’s committed to continuing to serve these kids despite the challenge.

 

Teacher Jimmy also grew up in the same tribe as many of the students. He studied at the local teacher’s college, and also gained a certificate as a Peer Instructor in Computers. Says Jimmy- “I started working with solid rock Christian school immediately after completing my studies at the college. But before that I had been praying to be teaching in a school that will also develop me spiritually so after learning about Solid Rock Christian School being under a church (Arua Community Church), I had to join the School and as for now I feel am in the right place and I really enjoy the service provided to me and I feel free to work with the children under such environment.

   Every day, Teacher Jimmy also gets up before dawn. He’s one of the lucky ones who has a motorcycle to use to get to school, but fuel prices are skyrocketing, so he has to be careful in how much he rides. He frequently stays later to play football with the kids, or help set up for Sunday school that weekend. Like fuel prices, rent prices are also rising with the influx of middle- and upper-class South Sudanese who are fleeing their country. Closer housing provided by the school will make a huge impact on his ability to mentor his students and be present with them.

 

 

 

Teacher Godfrey in one room of his two-room house.

Teacher Godfrey never thought he would be a teacher. He thought he was cut out to be a lawyer. But after completing his education, he found that the kind of mentorship and leadership that teaching would give him the opportunity to do was what he was really called to. Like his father and grandfather before him, Godfrey became a teacher. He is also married, with two daughters of his own, but for the last two years, he has not lived with them. Rather, like many working professionals in Uganda, he has come to teach at Solid Rock on his own, until a suitable housing situation can be found for his family. As of talking to him last, he hadn’t seen them in three months. Every day he gets up before dawn, prays for the day, put on one of his four shirts, and goes to school. As an upper primary teacher, he often stays until about 6 or even 7 at night, teaching the children who need extra help to prepare for their first exams this November.

     These teachers have never had a Teacher Appreciation Week. There’s no PTA planning a luncheon for them, nothing like that. But WE haven’t forgotten their hard work. We see it, and we want to honor them.

For those of you who have already contributed to the Teacher Housing Fund, THANK YOU! If you want to appreciate these teachers and help them as they serve these students, you can…..

Write an encouraging letter to a Solid Rock Teacher here 

Contribute to the Teacher Housing Fund here!


Cracking Open the Floodgates of Hope

The campus was bustling with parents, children, and staff bright and early in the morning last Monday. Moms and dads greeted each other from across the halls as they walked with their students of various grades into the classrooms. Teachers jogged from office to classroom, stopping to greet each other, parents, and students every ten feet. The principal himself strode around the field, here and there shaking a parent’s hand or patting a student on the head. Slowly first and then with more and more volume, the families came, all carrying some sort of school supply to contribute– a roll of toilet paper, a ream of printer stock, a broom or the like. Bit by bit, the campus slowly filled.

Most families were old hats who had been bringing their kids here for two years. Their kids eagerly ran ahead of their parents. The most noticeable ones were the assorted new moms with little ones in tow. They wandered around or stood pivoting in place searching for a classroom or teacher. Inevitably, they found this one corner of the far building, where a dozen moms with nervous-looking 6 and 7 year olds were lined up outside the classroom door, school supplies in hand, as the smiling first grade teacher unlocked the room. The little students had brand-new pen cases, and were wearing their best dress or shirt for their first day of class. Together, parents and children filed into the classroom, and it began to crowd up fast. Parents sat at the too-small desks squeezed in with their little ones and the teacher’s desk was crowded with people, all giving their names, and showing the school supplies they had brought to contribute to be checked off. It was a bustling, nervously energetic, and happy place to be.

moms hanging out after dropping off the kids.

However, as you look around you can’t escape the reality that this is no ordinary classroom. For these students, their best first-day of school outfit is a dirty t-shirt and the only pair of intact shorts they own. Many girls have dresses that are a size off, or maybe missing a shoulder. Almost all of them are going to wear the exact same thing the next day, and the next. No one has arrived in a minivan, let alone a car. Many have walked over a mile and bear the dust up their legs to show for it. For half these first-graders, this is their first time in a classroom. They have had no preschool to speak of, and their parents who hadn’t finished middle school themselves are unlikely to have prepared them at home. The arm muscles of many of the girls, still so young, look weathered from carrying water, charcoal, or a baby for hours on end. The have no toys, no backpacks, and no lunches. These families are not competing against anyone for status or reputation–they’re competing against their own circumstances just to get by another year.

Moms and kids outside the P1 (first grade) classroom.

Over the course of the week, I’ve been able to speak to many parents, most of whom have no idea why I’m here. If they speak English, they each have told me something interesting about where they come from and what this school means to them and their students. The mother of one of the new first graders said that her little boy was the one who convinced here to apply for this school. At just 6 years old he had heard about it from his friends and desperately wanted to go. One dad said that he was so thankful that his daughter had somewhere to go during the day where she wouldn’t be pursued by strange men and persuaded to marry. The conversation that sticks with me most is one that I had with the dad of a new student. I was outside the school gate as he picked up his son, his only child, and he made a point of walking up and shaking my hand. He told me that his son, Elvis, had been in preschool and had received low marks during his penultimate year. When Elvis heard that he was next to lowest in his class, he told his dad that he was going to work so hard that he would be fifth in his class by the end of the next year. The next year, Elvis finished sixth. The pride that shown from this father’s face as he told this story of his son was like a burst of sunshine. He said he was so proud that he had somewhere the would nourish and encourage his hardworking son. I told him that I worked for Zozu Project, the organization that supported Solid Rock Christian School, and he said “We are so excited to create this opportunity for our kids in this community. I am thankful for your help also. We are all of us working together for these children.” His enthusiasm reminded me of the ownership that this whole community has over this school, that they’re in this struggle of hard work to provide for their kids.

Elvis and his dad

This is a land of struggle. Mothers struggle against starvation, fathers struggle against unemployment, farmers struggle against draught, children struggle against diseases, and everyone struggles against abandonment and loneliness. Most of them own these struggles. They pray and they work and they fight hard, even though they don’t even have bootstraps to pull themselves up by. But as this father showed me, there is passionate faith here in this hot and dry place that one day it will be better. It’s like there is a heavy flood of hope stuck behind huge gates just waiting to be unleashed. Over the last two years, Solid Rock Christian School has cracked open the floodgates of hope. These parents are experiencing the first fruits. But there’s so much more to be let loose! There’s so many more children to sponsor, so many more jobs to create, so many more classrooms to build! Just this year we had to turn away over 80 students because we don’t have the physical or financial capacity. Let’s join with these hopeful, struggling families, for as Elvis’s dad said “we are all of us working together” for the streams of hope to flow in this dry land.


“Do the people where you come from know?”

Richard, the social worker at Solid Rock, and I were going to visit the houses of two brand new P1 students: Fibi (pronounced like Phoebe) and Jackson. We walk through the hot, dusty bush to get to Fibi’s house first. I don’t think I can stress hot and dusty too much. The wind is gusty today, giving the whole arid place the feel of an impoverished western frontier town, but in Africa. It’s the kind of hot and dusty that makes your eyes dry and water at the same time. We approach Fibi’s house followed by the usual smattering of village kids curious to see what the white person is doing there.
As soon as they see us coming, members of the household pull out plastic deck chairs in bright blue for us. Plastic deck chairs in bright colors are a staple around here, ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice from even the most meager of households. I have never met people with such a capacity for sitting with guests. These bright plastic chairs make any guest feel quite honored to be visiting.

Fibi and her sister outside their hut home.



Settling ourselves into these two bright blue thrones, Richard and I look around for Fibi. Her mom emerges from the hut and settles herself comfortably on the ground at our feet, as is the custom with respected guests and a limited number of chairs to go around. The assorted women of the household–whether they are sisters or aunts I can’t tell–sit under the eves of their grass-thatched hut to watch and listen. With respect, Richard begins to ask in Lugbara all about Fibi’s family and her household. Aside from the singular english words like “toilet” and “mattress,” I don’t understand a thing. As I’m trying to follow along from the questions on the questionnaire that Richard is holding, I see a small baby, just barely able to walk, emerge from the hut. She’s wearing a neatly made, slightly too-big bright orange dress. Toddling quickly yet clumsily towards her mother, she reaches out her hands and climbs into mom’s lap. Then, mother reaches under her shirt, takes her breast out by her hand, and the baby, with determined grip and thirsty lips begins to suckle. I’m so taken aback at this exposed moment of a completely natural thing that I hastily avert my eyes, but I don’t think the mother minds. It’s amazing how accustomed you get here to things that to us are totally out of the ordinary.         Richard asks to see where Fibi sleeps, so we walk into their hut. As all the houses are, it’s very dark, and as clean as dirt can be. Fibi sleeps behind a curtain that divides the hut in half, on a thatch mat next to her family. No mattress, no pillow. It’s a testament to the poverty here that I look at that and think “not bad.” Richard starts asking about Fibi’s medical history. Though she is but 5 years old, she’s had malaria and parasites. Fibi herself doesn’t smile or cast more than a glance at us. She sits on the ground looking at our feet. She looks sad, lonely. Nothing like her older sister, who has been at Solid Rock for two years and is all smiles and posing for the camera. I wonder if her sister also used to be sullen, and if Fibi too will come out of her shell and be happy at Solid Rock. Their mother is, by what I can tell, beyond thankful. She is so attentive to us, so welcoming to Richard, and eager to accept when he offers to pray for her and her family. I wonder at the fact that people who have so little, and rejoice at the mere chance to send their children to elementary school, can often have so much faith.

Bidding farewell to them, we walk about 100 yards up the road to Jackson’s house. We are greeted in a similarly respectful fashion, and bidden to sit on the one bench outside the door. Jackson’s sister runs up, topless, with some dirty leggings on, wrapping a soiled scarf around her bare chest. She looks at us, and goes inside. A little later, she emerges in a dress. Or, what once was a dress. This dress, in America, would have long ago been destined, not for the thrift store, but for the rubbish pile. The upper layer of the skirt is totally missing from the front and right side, and hanging on by a thread to the left. There is a long rip from the belly button to the back around the middle, so she ties a scarf to keep it up. There was once a white collar that is now the color of red, dusty dirt succumbed to by everything here that once was white. This is the most sorry excuse for a dress that I have ever seen anyone wear, and it was what she rushed hastily to put on when guests came.


The mother of Jackson turns to me and says something in Lugbara. Richard translates: “She is wondering if the people where you come from know what our life is like, how vulnerable we are?” With nothing else to say, I answer, camera in hand, “That is why I am here. To tell them.” As I write this now, I realize that I can’t sponsor all of these children. I can’t donate thousands to build their classrooms that will hopefully be in use long after we are gone. But just like Mick and Elaine a year ago said to me, “come and see,” I can take my camera and in a small way say to those I know “come and see.” $35 a month may not seem like much. But even if you never write a single letter, there is a mom and a child out there whose lives are impacted forever by that gift. The hope that Jackson’s mom has–he is the first child of hers to be sent to school– is palpable. Sometimes I look at these circumstances, and don’t see much hope. But thanks to Solid Rock and Zozu Project, she does, and that hope is worth everything in the world.


To Raymond, from Mick, your sponsor

We met Raymond during our first trip to Uganda in 2013. He came across as a bit of a prankster to be honest, full of energy and always with that infectious smile. Our third trip was in 2015 and was to celebrate the opening of Solid Rock Christian School in February of that year. Joy and excitement abounded as 200 new children were starting their first year. That smile of Raymond’s that was so evident on our previous trips was absent during this visit. The reason, we learned, was that Raymond wasn’t going to be able to attend the school because he lacked a sponsor. As we had developed a relationship with Raymond, our family made the decision to sponsor him. I’ll never forget that moment where we had the privilege to express to him our intent. Tears filled our eyes as he sprinted off to tell the news to his parents. Those tears flowed even more freely when he arrived at school the next day to begin his first day at Solid Rock Christian School.

Raymond in the yellow collared shirt, sitting proudly beneath Mick.

We just returned from a trip to Uganda last week and once again our relationship with Raymond has dominated my thoughts. I no longer saw him as this mischievous prankster that I knew from our earliest trips. Nor did I see the forlorn version that I witnessed before he received a sponsorship. And I didn’t even see the unfiltered joyous Raymond that I enjoyed after he was notified that he could attend SRCS. This version was one of hope and confidence. It was one that read books with ease that he previously couldn’t have hoped to comprehend. It was one that confidently stated “I dream of becoming a pilot so I can care for my family”. It was a version that was just chosen “head boy” which is the Ugandan version of being chosen school president. He is seen as a leader and is looked up to by his classmates. He is a young man who is on his way to fulfilling his dreams.

I had the opportunity to chat with Raymond and look back on our relationship that has developed from that curious young boy joking with the missionary doctor. It has developed to a friendship that led him to look me in the eye and state, “I will always remember that day I was sponsored. It was my best day”. To have the privilege of being a part of someone’s “best” day is the most humbling of feelings. I say this not in a self serving way, as I too count this opportunity as one of my “best” days and an unending privilege. I say this instead as encouragement for those of you who may be considering sponsorship. It is a life changer and one that I now know profoundly effects both the child and the sponsor. I thank my friend Raymond for this honor. I look forward to the day he lands a plane with him at the controls. Go chase your dreams Raymond.


The Vision

Now that we’ve been in this for a few years, it’s about time we started to think bigger. Shana Reiss, a fabulous architect, has generously donated her experience to contribute to this vision of Solid Rock as it expands. Her artistry has put the dreams of our leaders, both here and in Uganda, into concrete goals. While there’s always potholes and bumps in the road when you’re working in the third world, we’re excited to have a road before us to begin walking down together.

Here’s the land as it currently looks. The buildings are the current classrooms.

With orientation picture:

 

 

What started as a vision for a primary school has, by necessity, grown. The church has become so big they now spill off their little concrete pad on a Sunday, so we include a larger church building. There are young children who walk by waiting to be old enough to go to first grade, so we add a preschool. The current students long to have sports and more space to play, so we add a football field. There’s a lot going on!

 

Right now, the preschool is underway, as you can see here:

Not only is your support and contributions building a preschool, you’re also providing work to local men who are in the construction business.

 

Not included here is the plan to add housing for teacher (a necessity for a rural school in Uganda. Teachers there see housing much like we see healthcare- as a basic employment benefit). Also, in the long-term, a secondary school. That would take a considerable amount of land purchasing and fund-raising, but with the blessing of God, and the work of us both in America and Uganda, nothing is impossible.

Thank you for supporting this journey.

If you would like to see how you can be part of the next step of the vision, outfitting the preschool, please check your options out here: Next Steps Giving Catalogue


Preschool Developments (with Commentary)

The land for the Solid Rock Preschool is being leveled and the foundation is being laid!

Much as the preschool itself is preparation for further education, the plot of earth just adjacent to the current school is now in preparation for a building. Here are the latest photos, (along with my tour-guide commentary)

 

“And here to your left, we have a lovely patch of level dirt. Take note that this is not the natural habitat for level dirt. This is typically the territory where the uneven dirt resides.”

 

 

 

“To your right, we have another patch of level dirt. Note the bricks in the corner, indicating that building is soon to come. Also note the tracks on the earth. Some wild tractor must have been tamed for the creation of this patch.”

 

 

 

 

“Ah, there it is! It seems a local tractor has been tamed for use in leveling this field. It’s species is uncertain, but it seems to be on the older side judging by the dirt-colored markings on its tires and shovel.”

 

 

 

 

“And here we have some strapping young men hard at work digging trenches. Not being a contractor, I cannot provide more context for the trenches.”

 

 

 

“In the distance, notice the current buildings of Solid Rock Christian Academy to the right, and the tarp under which the church gathers on the left.”

 

 

“It should be noted that the construction upon this field is commencing quite rapidly due to the hard work and efficiency of these workers. They are local men, experts in their craft, and certainly hard workers.”

Ok, that’s all I have for tour commentary, and we’re all out of pictures! If you have read this far, you can check out our catalogue of items to fill the preschool with here 

Thank you to those who have already decided to outfit our teachers and classrooms!


“Girl Child Education is a Wasteage of Time”

I still remember when I first went to Uganda, and I visited the classroom on debate day. The 4-6th graders all get together and have a full-on debate, with moderators, score keepers, and formal statements and responses. For those who aren’t familiar with debate structure, there’s a given statement that one side “affirms” and the other side “negates.” Walking into the room, I read the statement on the board: “Girl child education is a wasteage of time.” I was shocked. To my liberal, educated, western mind, this topic was so clearly negated that it seemed taboo to even be up for debate.

I sat down, and proceeded to listen to what the children had to say. Over the hours of hearing these 4th-6th graders talk, I came to understand. This is a very real battle for these girls. While Solid Rock School firmly teaches that both genders are equally valuable, that is not the predominant message of the culture around them. Were they not in school, they could have been “married off” for a bride-price by 16. I don’t believe that the students arguing the affirmative side believed their arguments (it was a class project, after all), but I do think that adults in these students lives do.

One student, Lenia Leaneda, was on the “negative” side. Passionately, she argued for her own equality, and for the right and value of her and her sister’s education. I was in awe. She, a 6th grader, stands up for herself in a powerful way. Being at Solid Rock Christian School gave her the language and the platform to articulate exactly why she was worth it. To know that we who are a part of Zozu Project are a part of breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality, and to see evidence of it standing before me, was humbling. And there are over 100 girls at Solid Rock, with, God willing, many more to come in the future.

Lenida Lenia singing at chapel on a Wednesday

We are so proud and blessed to educate the young people of Uganda, boys and girls alike, to learn that they are all made individually, lovingly, and for great purposes. So while I’ve been told that people’s attention spans these days are short, and no one reads long things, I think that this poem is worth sharing:

For Every Woman
By Nancy R. Smith

“For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong,
There is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every woman who is tired of acting dumb, There is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of ‘knowing everything.’

For every woman who is tired of being called
‘an emotional female’
There is a man who is denied the right to weep and be gentle.

For every woman who feels ‘tied down’ by her children, There is a man who is denied the full pleasure of parenthood.

For every woman who is denied meaningful employment and equal pay,
There is a man who must bear full financial responsibility for another human being.

For every woman who was not taught the intricacies
of an automobile,
There is a man who was not taught the satisfaction of cooking.

For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, There is a man who finds that the way to freedom
has been made a little easier.”

 

I personally sponsor Winnie Letasi. In her bio, I read that she wanted to be a police officer when she grew up. That’s bravery right there, police officer in rural Africa. I cannot wait to meet her in person, tell her how beloved she is, encourage her in her dreams, and see her grow into who she was made to be.

Elsie

Interested in sponsoring a young girl, or young boy, at Solid Rock?  >>> Check it out Here <<<


The Preschool is Finally Happening!

 

We are so excited to announce that construction on the Preschool extension to Solid Rock School has officially begun!

It’s hard to overstate the need for this expansion. Our teachers were putting in hours of volunteer time on the weekends to bring incoming first graders, who had no foundation, up to speed. Some of the first graders speak some English, but most don’t. Trying to teach a classroom in multiple languages is taxing! Also, many incoming first graders are malnourished, already hindering their cognitive and physical growth.

Solid Rock Christian Preschool will provide meals, community, and instruction to 40 new preschool students this year, with the vision that we will one day serve over 100 3-5 year olds at this facility! We are so excited for not just the kids, but the families that will be reached and blessed through this expansion.

Thank you to all of the supporters of this project for making it possible. You’re making a difference!

Surveying the future location of the preschool back in April, 2017.

 

Overview of the building and latrines nearby that will go in on that plot of land.

 

Artist’s rendering of the front of the preschool building, ready to be filled with kids!

 

Plans for the classrooms, layout and construction, produced in collaboration between Shana Reiss with Reiss Design Studios and a local Ugandan architect and contractor.

Layout of the land

Now that construction has begun, it’s time to get this preschool ready for the kids. That means filling it with desks, notebooks, games, and everything else needed to successfully welcome 40 new students and their families. Read more about how you can help here, or sign up for the email newsletter to get more pictures and updates in the future!

We can’t wait to keep updating you as the project comes to fruition.

Elaine, Mick, and Elsie.

 

 

 

Our Giving Tuesday Campaign is going to provide shoes for all of the incoming preschool students. It’s really simple, a pair of shoes is $25, and it all goes straight to the kids. Learn more here.

 

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