The following photos are from St. Mary’s School’s student service trip during summer 2013. The students partnered with Educate for Change and helped with many hands-on tasks, while creating wonderful memories and building life-long relationships.
Our new Program Coordinator and Development Director, Kristine Aber Sullivan, will be starting work full-time in Uganda and the US beginning June 23, 2013. Kristine, one of the co-founders of Educate For Change is excited to be working hands on with Sister Hellen Lamunu, Director of Mother Teresa Nursery & Primary School, to further our mission of providing continuous educational opportunities for the most vulnerable children in Northern Uganda. Kristine will be living and working in Gulu.
by Guest Author, Beth Kruziki with TEX & Meomore, LLC
I am a teacher. I am also an artist, teaching art and collaborating with secondary students is utterly satisfying. I own a small design and photography business in Eugene, Oregon called, Meomore. (www.meomore.com) Finally, I am a Mother. I nurture, care, and adore educating my son and students.
In 2012, I was accepted with Invisible Children to venture to Gulu, Uganda to be a participant with the 2012 Teacher Exchange Program and furnishing the beginnings of sustainable education in the war-torn country. I was elated. This was a dream come true – not only for me, but also my Mom who at one point in time had wanted to teach in Africa as well. I was determined to take the Pentax my Mother handed down to me, my own personal, artistic ambitions, and capture my viewpoint of Uganda. Below are my photos, capturing my film/digital creativity, education, community, and a personal dream, while teaching at Keyo Secondary for six weeks.
Keyo Secondary was several kilometers outside Gulu. The boda ride there was beautiful and breath-taking. I always arrived about thirty minutes before school began, checked in the staff room, and planned my day accordingly.
I worked with three secondary teachers and taught those matching subjects – Economics, Art and English. I worked mainly with the S2 and S3 classes. Art was spectacular to teach – project oriented and creative. I enjoyed collaborating with the instructor and students. I also met some students after school for the Girl’s Empowerment Club – they taught me how to make paper beads. Next, I taught basic grammar in English. I had students work in groups and make presentations. The teamwork between teacher and students was fun and enjoyable. Economics was business focused. Those students were advanced, learning at a university level. The courses at Keyo were aimed at students moving onto university; the classes are challenging, but great.
While teaching at Keyo, I met and befriended both male and female students. I played games, talked with them during lunch, and conversed about my life in the U.S. I made close friends with both teachers and students. Keyo is great, and I loved being there. My heart remains there due to close relationships I formed. The students and staff value each other, and consider themselves close to God and one another. Keyo Secondary is like a family.
Written by co-founder Laura Anderson
Change does not happen because we wish it, or pray for it, or donate a room full of computers to a school with no electricity. Change happens because we set an example, we educate, and we work within the cultural norms to make a personal connection with other human beings on the planet in the hope that we can learn from each other.
Educate for Change is taking a small group of students to Uganda this summer to make that connection. Simple human to human contact is how we will truly become the change we want to see in the world.
“Why do I have so much? And why have I always had so much? Why do my family and friends have so much? And do they even know that far, far away from the luxuries of the western world, a little songbird of a girl is fighting for her life? The roles could have so easily been reversed.
I knew God wanted me to care for the poor, I had been doing it as best I could for a long time and it had become almost all I did with my life… It happened so naturally, I was simply caring for those around me out of an overflow of love… I had never thought I was doing anything different or unusual, just simple what He had asked. But… I realized that what I was doing was not simply my choice— it was a requirement. I wanted to give even more! I wanted to do more for the people who needed help and I wanted others to rise up and do the same. I didn’t want to simply care for these people, I wanted to advocate for them. I wanted to raise more awareness for these voiceless, unseen children. I was exploding with a new enthusiasm not just to care for the orphaned and needy children but to encourage and help others do the same.
I knew we couldn’t all just pack up and move to Uganda, but I so desired to make a way for others to help, to care for these children, to do what Jesus requires. I wanted to tell them all about what I had seen and experienced so they too would know.”
Mother Teresa said it best: “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Upon our return from Gulu, Laura, Josh, and I knew that we wanted to do more. We needed to do more. The summer flew by and we loved a lot of people along the way. The Acholi are so resilient, so peaceful; but they’ve experienced so much pain. Even still, the people of Gulu and its surrounding villages embraced us with more than their arms, but their hearts. Their hearts had been broken and mended thousands of times before, but they gave us the whole thing. We became apart of their family. And family takes care of each other. So we had to act.
We are so excited to bring you a piece of northern Uganda through our organization: Educate for Change. Throughout our time spent in schools through Invisible Children’s Teacher Exchange, we experienced first hand the necessity, but difficulty, of funding education in Uganda. Without
universal secondary education, something we often take for granted in the United States, students are more likely to dropout of school than they are to complete their studies. The most vulnerable children, those who have been orphaned, abandoned, or who are suffering under extreme poverty, are significantly less likely to attend school at all. The kids we played with in the villages and at Mother Teresa’s Primary School and Orphanage are those children. Their amazing intelligence, wit, leadership, and energy will not fund their school fees. Their heart, faith, and resilience will not purchase their uniforms and supplies. So we had to act.
Moments really are much bigger than we realize. Looking back on it now, the moment I stepped foot onto Mother Teresa’s compound and in the minutes it took to follow Stella and Wilfred through the mud to Layibi village, I was changed. I was humbled by what Sister Hellen’s already doing with 250 kids in her care at the center and how one family can support so many beautiful children in the quaint, immaculate village. My unspoken fear of being inadequate does not matter. Being sad simply won’t help at all. I simply have to learn how to love until it hurts. That’s what we’re doing. We hope you will take the time to learn about our cause, read about our beautiful children halfway across the globe, and do what you can to support us. Share our stories, pictures, and videos. Try it with me and just love until it hurts.