The Big "Giving Tuesday" Reveal
Musician John Legend says education was his “connection to the world” and Oprah Winfrey said that it is “the key to unlocking the world… the passport to freedom.” We agree. These two incredible individuals overcame tough odds to become luminaries, inspiring countless others. In order to change the trajectory of the lives of the Batwa tribe so that they may also have their own inspirational leaders, education must be at the forefront.
A minority Indigenous tribe, the Batwa comprise less than 1% of Uganda’s population. Most still live in extreme poverty and experience daily hunger, far beyond what most other Ugandans experience. Due to stresses, many drop out of school in primary grades. Few go on to secondary schools. Only a handful have ever attended university, and only one in the entire country has received a 4-year college degree. They face enormous odds, tougher even than Legend or Winfrey did.
We are a small nonprofit with a huge heart. Among other projects on community development and sustainable agriculture, we support 2 dozen Batwa children through school from the village of Kalehe, at the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, their ancestral forest homeland which they were evicted from in 1991. We know that education involves more than just paying school fees. The Batwa have endured several generations of trauma and injustice, leading to intractable poverty at home, hunger, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and more. To change their trajectory involves addressing everything from health and food security to hope that things can change.
Education not only provides our kids three square meals a day but also a bed to sleep on, clothes to wear, and a classroom to learn about the world. Education also creates opportunities for more jobs in the future, more power in society, and for more awareness of the social injustices the world has inflicted upon their people in order to save endangered mountain gorillas — and what they can do about it.
Education provides hope with wings to fly and feet to run. It gives them practical solutions, which ultimately must come from the Batwa themselves. As Bob Marley sings in the song that inspired our organization, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. Only you can free your mind.” It’s time to set things right.
Redemption Song Foundation (RSF)’s annual Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign is “Passport to Education” — funds to provide holistic education for all the Batwa children in Kalehe village and support for their families at home. Help us raise the full funding needed to support our Education Program through 2023, $10,000:
* General support for our After School Tutoring and Educational Soup Kitchen programs.
* Improvements to the RSF Community House, a safe space for the Kalehe village Batwa to play, and to get food, emotional support, health advice, advocacy, and mentoring.
* Smartphones and tablets for older kids to learn and gain access to external news.
* Internet costs.
* Start-up funds for our Voices of the Batwa publication that will help the Batwa speak to the world and gain valuable experience for secondary school and college, which is not far off.
* Child sponsors can donate $45 or $25/mo; you get to write your child and receive replies.
* Program costs to pay our amazing Ugandan staff salaries, without whom we could not do what we do.
Five Batwa children at Bishop's Primary School - Kinkiizi: Confidence, Evidence, Jonas, Edgar, and Beckham. Conf, Jonas, and Andrew (not shown) are in primary 7 and about to graduate and will attend secondary school starting in January. We need sponsors for them, as secondary school costs double from primary.
Zane and Treasure at nap-time at Victory Primary School. What precious souls!
Confidence lost her mom Joy several years ago, who personally asked me (Wendee, RSF Director) to watch her after she passed. She's been living in the RSF house, cared for by our staff when not in school or at her dad's in Kihembe village. We are so proud of her!
Friends make the world go round. This is Zane with his cousin, Isaac, two Batwa children we sponsor in school. We need your help to get these kids to the next level of education!