Pearl Project- Transforming Lives

My name is Sue, 
I am a teacher by trade and after visiting Africa as a tourist in 2012, wanted to go back and help in a teaching capacity or any other way to improve the basic needs of the people in these Communities.

The following year, while planning where I was to go in Africa, I met some Ugandan students at a party and decided, along with my daughter Mary, to go and teach in Uganda and work at a Children's home.
We visited a few different communities and were overwhelmed by their many basic needs that we, in Australia, often take for granted.
We could not help getting involved with these communities, and, while respectful of their simple ways, were shocked at their inability to break out of the poverty cycle due to the lack of life’s basic necessities.

So my daughter Mary, a friend Crystal, and myself formed a not-for-profit association called                          'The Pearl Project'

After returning from our 2014 visit from Uganda we arranged a fundraiser, and as a result, were able to fund some new classrooms and establish a micro financing program through the local priest Father Stephen. This enabled the growth of various income generating projects owned by members of the community. 

To shorten the story, as fortune would have it, the village received a new maize mill from the Caritas organisation but found that their existing electrical trasnformer is too small to operate it...........
AND that’s where you all come in.

With a new transformer from Kampala, the maize mill will be operational. This will improve the lives of all in the Kibanga community by reducing the high costs of transport and fees currently incurred. In turn this increases the value of their maize, and creates opportunity to establish other income generating projects. 

We often talk about 'game changers' and this Transformer is one. When an opportunity arises where we can enable some fellow humans to improve their standard of living, we need to grab it with both hands.

The big opportunity for Kibanga (pronounced Chi-bunga ) is the transformer, and we need to raise  $20,000 to fund this item.

With Christmas coming, “The Gift of Power” is an ideal gift to give all your friends and family. It only takes 200 gifts of $100 each to raise the total amount.

We would like to encourage you to pass this message on to all your family and friends, and they in turn, pass it on to their family and friends, so they too have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of this Ugandan Community.

Nothing can be achieved unless WE get involved. 

100% of funds raised go to Kibanga as all admin costs are voluntary or donated. 

In the new year we hope to develop a website where you can read our Ugandan story in more detail. Stay tuned. 

Thank you,

If you would like to find out more about our journey and The Pearl Project, keep reading on.....

How 'The Pearl Project' came to be:

After visiting Africa as tourists in 2012 with my husband and friends, I decided I would like to go back and do some volunteer work.
My husband and I visited a township in Capetown called Khayelitsha. Here we saw extreme poverty and an opportunity to go back and support this community in a teaching role.
Our youngest daughter, Mary, decided she would like to join me.
We emailed our contact person in Khayelitsha without success, so our plan then moved to working in an orphanage in Mombasa,Kenya.
However, after attending a friend's 60th birthday in Sydney and meeting a couple of young men from Uganda, and hearing the needs of communities there, we have ended up heading to Uganda. Funny how life takes its twists and turns.

Of course we didn't know what to expect, but here is a brief of what unfolded from there.

Our first visit in November 2013:
•In Kampala we taught in a school , visited a medical     Centre and Childrens Kindergarten school, visited a Vocational girls school and spent time in a Children's Home in Kankobe (a long way from Kampala heading West).
•In the school Mary taught the year 5's over a period of 3 weeks and I had a small group of year 6's helping them with English.
•We discussed the needs of the medical Centre and future plans to help them with the building of a Midwifery Wing.

•In the Vocational School we discussed their needs and ways we may be able to help. We bought 2 sewing machines and fabric for the girls. They were using used concrete bags to make dresses etc.
•We also supported Father Stephen in his work with young men in their 20's and their interest in soccer by supplying a new uniform and soccer ⚽️ for the two teams. They were 'over the moon'. 

•Crystal, a young friend from Melbourne, joined us to visit the Children's Home.
•In the Children's Home in Kankobe we were acting as mothers, just being there with the children, helping them with their homework and playing. Such a treat to be with these beautiful children.
Their needs were discussed: purer water, better development of their food producing land, new mattresses, mosquito nets, sponsorships for secondary education etc.

We visited a second Vocational School in Kankobe which is teaching young girls, (many who have children of their own to support) catering, tailoring and hair styling skills. We discussed with the Principal ways to support them operating their own income generating business.
I was seen as a grandmother figure, so the girls wanted to have some very serious personal chats with me, while Mary and Crystal were their peers and danced and laughed and generally had a great time together.

Our second visit in June/ July 2014
Mary and I returned to visit the school, children's Home, Vocational schools, Medical Centre and Kibanga, the rural Community Father Stephen had been assigned. Wow!! Lots to do here. Fr. Stephen himself was overwhelmed.

•We had decided not to support the school in Kampala as we did not trust the Principal;
just a gut feeling, but proven to be correct on this visit.

•With family and a few friends we provided The Vocational School with funds for more fabric and 8 small individual sewing machines so those graduating from the 2 year course could start their own income generating business.
This practice we hope to continue into the future.
•Still working on plans for Midwifery Wing
(Delay caused by change in Medical Centre's Community Council Members and Canossian Sisters change to new Mother Superior for their Order). 

•In Kankobe we bought 50 new covered mattresses and had the mosquito screens in the windows of the dorms replaced instead of purchasing mosquito nets which proved to be impractical as bunk beds are 3 tied and the kids just don't use them properly (they are also pretty easily torn).
We spent more time with the kids and helped The two German girls (who were volunteering for a year) with teaching skills in an effort to help the children who we're really struggling at school. Class numbers are big in these schools 60+ children in a class.
The cane is prevalent.

•We visited Father Stephens Kibanga Community and discussed the many needs here.
•We met the primary School teachers and students and heard their need for a Secondary School as safety is a huge issue for the girls walking long distances to and from school. Also when the rains come, the attendances at school fall dramatically as the long distance and conditions are a deterrent.
•We talked about a Fundraiser Event back here to raise money for the various needs of the community.

2015, March 22nd,
'Supporting Uganda Fundraising Event 

We formed 'The Pearl Project' Association, a not-for-profit charity. 

•We raised $12,000

Our third visit in June 2015
• Mary,Crystal and I Returned to Uganda

•$4,000 was used to complete 3 classrooms at Queen of Peace School in Kyenjojo, a rural area in west Uganda approx. 100 kilometers from The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
This was in support of a project other Australians were working on in Uganda.
•$8,000 was to be spent on a maize mill. After speaking with both the teachers in the Community and then The Community members themselves, the consensus was: need for a maize mill.
•Just prior to sending money for maize mill, Caritas, a charitable organization, visited the Kibanga Community and provided the needed funds for the maize mill.
•Our funds then turned to:
•Micro-Financing Loans for income generating activity.
•Father Stephen and two Community Members have set up the loan process with the help of expertise from personnel from Kampala.

Father Stephen just visited us in July this year.
We are all very excited about what is happening in his community with the Micro-financing Project. The results have been awesome with 100% repayment from the first group of 21 borrowers. He, and the Community Project Development Committee have done an amazing job. They have lent money to 58 applicants so far, each having to pay back in 6 months ( on 26th of the month) from time of borrowing.

Because of such a great result with the Micro-financing Project we are very confident and excited about continuing our support of this Community.

Apart from injecting more funds into the Micro Financing Loans Account in Kibanga,

•We have two future Projects in the pipeline:

1. Transformer - one that is big enough to power the generator for their water pump and the maize mill which has been funded by Caritas.
This is all set to go but the transformer they have is not large enough to power both machines. Estimated cost $20,000 AUD

Community members will be charged a small fee to use the maize mill and those outside the community will pay a higher fee.
This money will be used to pay the operator of the maize mill and cover any necessary maintenance required.
THE USE OF SOLAR POWER IS TO BE INVESTIGATED through contact with Engineers Without Boarders.

2. Building of a Secondary School with an Agricultural emphasis starting with one classroom and looking to provide training in Improved Agricultural methods for members of the local Kibanga Community and surrounding Communities. Still on the drawing board.

We hope to continue supporting the young women from the Vocational Schools with sewing machines at completion of their 2 year tailoring course.

This is our journey in Uganda so far.
Still lots to do.

  • Nolene DSouza 
    • $10 
    • 37 mos
  • Jas Lipska 
    • $10 
    • 41 mos
  • Ash Vienna 
    • $40 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 46 mos
  • Graham O'Rourke 
    • $200 
    • 46 mos
See all


The Pearl Project Association 
Melbourne VIC
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