There's a wonderful primary school in Ntenjuro, Uganda, and it's home to 50 orphans and 150 day schoolers. If it weren't for their delapidated van, 90 children would have a dangerous and very long walk to and from school, putting them at risk for getting hurt or being abducted. If they weren't driven to their remote villages, many wouldn't dream of attending school. Up to 38 children and Festus Bazira cram into a 14-passenger van so he can safely get them to and from school. There's always room for one more! Anyone who's ever visited Africa knows that to fit as many as possible in a vehicle is common practice. These children feel honored to attend school, and it would be impossible without this van. Many of the children are 2-year-olds attending the preschool.
The school van is truly on its last leg. I recently visited them for seven days, and the van broke down and/or had to go into the shop (one hour away) seven times. Once, after we got the fuel pump repaired, we drove away from the mechanic's and the sliding door fell off into the street. We spent one hour trying to fix it, ending up tying it to the van, and back to the mechanic's. Creative jerry-rigging is evident all over the van.
These children desperately need a new preowned 14-passenger van. The van is an invaluable service for all 200 children. Only one vehicle is needed for the two directors, the 10 teachers (who live at the school), all 200 children, and the occasional volunteer. It's the only way to get them to decent medical facilities, the bigger markets, etc. The main road to this village will soon be paved, so wear on a van will be easier going forward. I saw the government start to bring in the heavy road equipment while I was there.
A new van also will stop the constant, expensive police pull-overs when driving about. I witnessed three this past visit. The police often fine a driver because their vehicle is bringing shame to a town as it passes through. Seriously. Three times in seven days.
As a long-time volunteer, I've seen the operations of many international and local NGOs, schools, clinics, etc. at work in many countries. I volunteer only my time, and no funds, when I see that those funds are not going to where they were intended. On the other hand, my husband, Ben, and I personally fund small projects when I can bear witness to their development.
Then, I spent time in Ntenjuro, and that truly changed our family. We fell in love with this school, where education, medical care and safety of the children are the first and foremost goals of the directors, Lydia and Festus. We started sponoring children there, collected donations, and we see it all at work.
Please join us in helping to get these wonderful, spirited children to school safely every day for years to come. A preowned Honda or Toyota is what we'll be looking at most likely, and we feel we can find a solid one for U.S. $13,000. All funds collected here will go directly to the purchase price. Every little bit helps. Thanks for your time and help. Weebale nnyo, Gwen and Ben
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