We received a letter from Okello Kelo Sam this week:
I am writing today because Hope North is facing some very challenging circumstances. I believe there may be a way to help NOW even while we prepare to close the school and reorganize activities of Hope North.
COVID has had a devastating impact on the Ugandan economy, with every sector struggling to get by. Unpaid teachers are selling tomatoes on the streets for small change to feed their families; kids who have studied -- already in hardship contexts, are doing whatever it takes to continue their learning. Many are idle, and just waiting.
Hope North and the staff have done the best they can in these times -- equipping a portion of the students with laptops, and asking them to share among those who live near each other (students were off-campus for 5 months); sending curricular materials via WhatsApp to the few students with access to smartphones, who then share with peers in near-by areas, topping up students' data so they can use these digital resources. These efforts are mostly unpaid; what few resources Hope North has right now are allocated toward technology and data to the dispersed students; and some small amounts toward their upkeep in their respective locations. Teachers have gone unpaid for more than three months.
Despite this -- the senior level students are preparing to sit for exams -- even though the Government has provided NO SUPPORT to schools or teachers at this time, and when giving exams itself costs money. These students are fiercely committed to achieving more for themselves.
Hope North is preparing an urgent appeal. We want to raise $15,000 in the next 2 weeks. This is so little to some, but it will make or break the lives of 150 HN students. Remember that these kids have already overcome tremendous obstacles in their lives, all the more reflecting their fortitude and inner resilience.
(A $3,000 donation has already been received, so $12,000 is still needed)
We are appealing to a close group of former donors, or might there be people in your circle, that you'd like to tell about this opportunity? These kids have fought against all odds to get to where they are and deserve whatever chance they have of completing their education.
I'd love to hear if there is a way you could help support this appeal. I have exhausted my personnel resources and had to turn to my close friends.
Thanks, in advance, for any help you can offer.
In solidarity, Okello Kelo Sam
You can check out the website for HOPE NORTH in Uganda here:
(100% of your donations will be sent directly to Hope North and Okello to use for the stated purpose.)
Kelly Dennis Kimuli