It’s almost Thanksgiving, that time of year when we Americans stuff ourselves with turkey and pie and get the creeping guilty feeling that there is probably someone out there who is not as lucky as we are. The time of year when we look around for charities to donate to to assuage our guilt. Well, your search is over.
The Net For Hope Foundation is an organization that educates and employs underprivileged Africans in Uganda. There are quite a few organizations that do things like this, but most of them, to their dismay, end up failing. Uganda is a relatively new country, and it’s been a hard shift between village life and modern life. Habits that work in villages don’t necessarily work in cities. For example, time management is a really difficult skill for these people to learn. You arrange a meeting for 8:30 in the morning, and they trickle in around nine or ten, without thinking much of it. Maybe someone will have some free time at 8:30, and come in relatively on-time, but it’s not a priority the way it is here. Also, someone will manage to get a job, get in relatively on time, and then spend the whole day chatting with the people next to them and expecting the paycheck at the end of the month even though they haven’t done anything. Net For Hope focuses on helping to change that mindset, so that their students can thrive.
There are many small working parts under the banner of Net For Hope Foundation. The EmNet primary school, for kids who can’t afford the expensive uniforms and tuition fees of the average Ugandan primary, which provides hot lunches that may be the only meal the kids get all day and the education so that they can be what they want to be. Thrive Training, the life coaching program that helps people with skills like time management and work ethic, so that they can be successful in the area they want to go into. Bukaya Community Development, which is running a fish farm as a commercial business to help support the school and provide employment for people in the community, and eventually hopes to branch out into a piggery and agriculture project.
Currently, the thing they need the most help with is the S7 Skills Empowerment Center, which, to quote their website, provides academic/vocational school training in carpentry, restaurant catering, secretary skills, graphic arts, computer programming, and arts. The S7 program is a two year long school, with students being taught theoretical and practical worksmanship the first year, and running small businesses in the lots out front of the school during the second. They help conceptualize, launch, and run the businesses, with limited help from teachers, and if the business is successful, the business and the students involved both “graduate.” The students continue running the businesses at a different location, as full-blown professional businesses, so that they now have education, experience, and employment. The businesses feed a percentage of their profits back to the school, so that, in time, the foundation will become self sufficient. For example, a Mexican restaurant called The Little Donkey is currently up and running in Kampala.
However, they’re not there yet. One of their main sources of funding is drying up and they need money in order to continue the program. That’s where you come in, dear reader. You can donate here, and help all of those starving children in Africa that your mother told you about to make you eat your vegetables.
(P.S. My grandfather is the one who started the foundation, so I have lots of insider information. )