This year we have so much to be thankful for! Over one hundred people attended Jajja's Kids' fundraising event on Sunday, October 28, and the music, dance, food and conversation flowed all afternoon. To make sure everyone had a great time, a wonderful team of volunteers worked before, during and after the party. And we are one third of the way toward our fundraising goal for 2013! We will be able to rent a four room home for a year, and purchase beds, mattresses, and medical care for fifteen children who a few months ago were living on the streets of Kampala. Funds are also available for an additional five or six street children to be returned to their families. Additional funding is still needed; more on that shortly...
Zorkie Nelson and Friends Performing
Kuumba Dance and Drum Group Performing
Spread of East African Food
Ugandan Friends-- Medi, Ronnie, George and Peter
Ronnie Sseruyange has had wonderful opportunities during his three months in the U.S. As you may know, Ronnie--a former street child himself--has dedicated his life to helping other children living on the streets and in the slums of Uganda. For most of his time in the U.S., Ronnie volunteered at Heifer International's demonstration farm in Rutland, Mass. He learned farming and management skills that will be of great value upon his return to Uganda. Meaningful connections were made with many who now have a strong interest in Ronnie's work, including meetings of returned Peace Corps volunteers, members of the local Photo Center, SUNY Albany students, students at Saratoga High School, and even the UN.
We are immensely grateful for the coverage Jajja's Kids has received in the local media. Two wonderful news articles were published--one in the Times Union (click here to read the full article) and another in the Gazette (click here). Jajja's Kids was also the inspiration for a commentary on WAMC public radio station (click here for commentary). These articles brought awareness of the life of street kids to a much larger audience, and brought additional donations to Jajja's Kids.
For the coming year, funding is needed for the Friday Program. Operating in the slums of Kampala and focused on children who mostly live on the street with no opportunity for formal education, this program brings lessons five days a week in English, math and art. On Fridays the children also receive a meal, shower and haircut.
- With a $75 donation, fifty children will receive a meal every Friday for a month.
Funding is also needed for the fifteen former street kids who will soon live together in a newly rented home. We will first direct funds to provide food for all the boys, followed by funding for school fees.
- With a donation of $27 a month or $320 a year, one child can be fed three meals a day.
- With a donation of $21 a month or $250 a year, a child can attend school.
Sponsorships are greatly encouraged. Relationships between sponsors and children will be fostered by Skype and other communication tools.
We are also thankful that starting January 2013, future contributions will be tax-deductible. Jajja's Kids will be under the wing of Operation Unite, a wonderful organization whose mission is to help inner-city children in Hudson, New York. Directed by Elena Mosley, Operation Unite also does humanitarian work in Uganda and operates Kuumba Dance and Drum (which performed at our fundraiser) in Hudson. They will provide administrative support to Jajja's Kids while we establish our own non-profit organization in the next year.
So we have a great many things to be thankful for! The multitude of contributions we've received in time, money and caring make it abundantly clear that people have very big hearts and want to make a difference in this world.
Thank you for your interest in Jajja's Kids!
And Happy Thanksgiving!!
With Much Gratitude,
Diane Reiner and Ronnie Sseruyange