Uganda is at the very heart of the Grow Hope foundation. It’s a country with a history marred in abuse of power and human rights, political unrest, and recent economic reforms. There are 30 different languages spoken in the country of Uganda, an overwhelming amount considering that Uganda (36+ million people) is comparable in size to that of Oregon (3+ million). Poverty abounds, further compounded by a lack of education, poor hygiene practices, and exacerbated by cultural challenges deeply steeped in misinformation and generations of tradition.
There is such need in Uganda.
But the people are resilient, they are quick to learn and while there is much work to be done, they are willing to do it to better themselves and their situation. Sometimes an outstretched hand is all that is needed to give someone the education and opportunities needed to change directions. It can make all the difference in saving a life, feeding a family, sending a child to school and stopping the harmful cycle of accepting the status quo. Safe water supplies can be established, sanitary latrines can be dug and used appropriately, adults and children alike can be educated, gardens can be grown, and families can thrive with the knowledge and skills to provide for themselves. We’ve begun to build on these principles with our pilot project in our community in rural Uganda and so much good has come in such a short amount of time that our hearts are filled with conviction and hope that so much more good will continue to unfold, and bring happiness along with it to the people we’ve grown to love so much.
Looking forward, we want nothing more than to continue to carry that same message of “Empowerment Through Education” to other communities in the area, and it has become our heart directed mission at the Grow Hope Foundation to do our best for the people of Uganda, so that they can, in turn, do for themselves.
This is where Tusubira Village comes in. Tusubira - a word that means “HOPE” in Lusoga (the local language) - is a 4+ acre educational compound in rural Uganda, outside of the city of Jinja. We have learned over the past two and a half years that the people of rural Uganda learn best by being able to actually see what it is they are meant to learn. Tusubira Village provides exactly that- and more. The compound sits in the middle of the community that we are working in, providing easy access to local residents. There are people available to actually demonstrate how to build a new latrine, or a sanitation table to store cooking utensils, or to plant a proper garden. Tusubira Village is just that- a place to come and learn, to practice, to ask questions. It is an educational compound that is changing the way people in this rural area live. When the community leaves the compound, they leave with knowledge that they can take to their homes and replicate. It is a place where gardens grow over 40 different nutrient-rich crops that we hope the community will grow in their own gardens. Experienced farmers are available to teach growing techniques as well as answer any questions people may have after starting their own gardens. Seedlings from these gardens are shared with the community to give their gardens a healthy start. Produce is harvested from them to both stock the farm stand on the compound for purchase by locals as well as to be donated to local malnutrition facilities in the area, where children are in desperate need of nutrients. This is a “hands-on” facility where people leave feeling confident that they are able to grow their own fruits and vegetables for their families.
THE NEXT STEP is to complete our first building on the compound which will provide a space to facilitate our many education programs as well as to house our social worker who runs all of these programs. This building will allow us to work with women and children providing both education (tutoring, classes, and skills training to create an income) and support (family planning, counseling, and women's cooperatives) to this community.
Did You Know? A few facts about Uganda:
Uganda is a landlocked country on the east side of Africa, bordered by Kenya, DR Congo, Tanzania, South Sudan, and a tiny corner of Rwanda
The UK placed Uganda as a protectorate in 1894
Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962, only to be terrorized by years of chaotic leadership and bloody uprisings
The soil in Uganda is rich in minerals, and suitable for gardening and farming
Coffee is the main export, with other interests in tea, cotton, tobacco and beef
Uganda is a cultural melting pot, there are 30 different indigenous languages
The AIDS epidemic continues to have a devastating and deadly effect on the population of Uganda, along with a myriad of other preventable and equally devastating diseases and afflictions