Thursday, September 29, 2011

Project Friendship Tees!

In one of those middle-of-the-night, sick and on drugs moments, I designed a Project Friendship teeshirt! And (unlike some of those middle of the night brilliant ideas) they came out great!  They'll be here next week, so here's how you get one:

Don't worry, the print is clear on the tees... just a low pixel save!

Donate 10 friendship bracelets. This is a one-per donor deal, although you can buy however many you want! (how's that for a subtle hint?)

Make a $10 donation to the primary school in Bukaleba that we're building.

At this time we don't have youth sizes, although we can order them if there is a demand. We got a great deal on the adult tees, so that's all we will have: S, M, L, XL.

If you don't live in Raleigh, there will be a shipping fee, but we should be able to use padded envelopes and regular mail, which will make it minimal (unless you order a dozen... ahem...).

We're so excited that Project Friendship seems to be gaining ground every day - don't forget, $1 goes a LONG way in Uganda!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Project Friendship is catching on!

It's catching on! As of today we have one Project Friendship group in Wake Forest, and another group that will be making bracelets during their scheduled small group time each week. We've got Appalachian State University students making bracelets. Wake Tech and Southeastern students are making bracelets. Homeschool students are making bracelets. How about you?? Are you making bracelets?

This is the PK, in honor of our purple-loving Irish friend Patrick Kelly!

Our first opportunity to share Project Friendship as a fundraiser will be October 9. We'd love to have your handiwork there! It only takes 15 minutes once you get the hang of it, and you can do it while watching tv. Even guys are getting in on it! 

Remember, a little makes a BIG difference!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Project Friendship update

I made a dozen friendship bracelets yesterday. One of them took me a long time because I used a wheel (probably not doing that again!), but I can make the simple ones in about 5-8 minutes... So in general, this was a very small amount of time invested. A young friend made 3 for us. Our plan is to ask for a $1 donation for each, so that's $15.

Sounds like a tiny bit of money, doesn't it?  Well, to us it is. But here's what $15 can do in Uganda:

*  Pay the rent on a home in the slums for one month.

*  Sponsor a child at Arise Africa for one month.

*  Pay more than half of a primary school child's school fees for one term.

*  Feed a large family for a month.

Please don't EVER think that being able to contribute only a little time or money isn't worth it. It can literally change a life!

This is Justin (Olum in Acholi) in the yellow. His mother was working in a hotel in Kampala as a dish washer. She made 1000 shillings a day, working 7 days a week... That's about 37 cents. A day. See what a little can do??

Thanks for your support!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Craft fair season begins!

Fall is here (officially) today, and I'm not sure I'm ready! The good news is, the craft fairs begin in just a couple of weeks. We raise a lot of funds at these, and we'd love to have your support!

Here's our schedule again:

Oct 9 - Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church (Ryan will be doing the fundraising for this one)

Oct 29 - St Raphael's Catholic Church

Nov 19 - Mistletoe Market, Wakefield HS

Dec 3-4 - Holly Days, Sanderson HS

We hope to have friendship bracelets available to give donors at these events, so please consider making a few for us!

After mid-October, I can do home party fundraisers as well. We'd love to tell you about all God is doing in Uganda, and how you can donate to help.

We wired the school fees for this term to Ray of Hope last week, including the funds for our 2 university students! Ten Eighteen is now sponsoring 36 Ray of Hope kids' school fees. Stay tuned for some bios and letters from the kids.

We will be wiring the funds to Hospice Jinja next week for the fuel for the remainder of 2011. With fuel costs rising in Uganda (as here) they are getting hit hard at a time they are trying to start a second mobile clinic unit, but we are benefitting from a strong dollar there, so our costs haven't risen much so far. I was so very sad not to visit with the wonderful people at Hospice Jinja this last trip, as they are some of the very best, most loving, incredible people I know.

I am hoping to be able to make a large contribution to the school in Bukaleba before year end. The funds raised during the craft fairs will largely go to the school, so we would love for you to consider making a year end donation. We are also trying to organize a benefit concert, although we have nothing firm yet. Details will be coming if and when it pans out! (As always, leaving it all in God's hands!)

Thank you all for your support! Reminder: If you are sponsoring a child, please send your monthly checks! And if you committed for another cause (grants for women, the school, etc) we'd love to get your check! Hopefully the Paypal link will work soon on the website, but until then, we have to rely on snail mail.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New School Term in Uganda!

The new term starts on Monday for our 36 sponsored kids!  Unlike most kids in the US, kids in Uganda are excited if they get to go to school. I say "if" because, although schools are technically free, they aren't, and the fees are out of reach for more than half the children there.

Why are free schools not free, you ask? Because of the "fees"... The fees aren't technically for tuition, they are for books, supplies (including toilet paper), and uniforms. This last is, to me, especially frustrating, because even if a child can meet the rest of the fees, without the uniform they can't attend. And while the uniform portion is only once in a year, it can double the amount due for that term. Since school fees can be more than twice (even four times, for the higher grades of S1-S4) what a month's rent is for the families in the slums, this puts school out of reach without sponsors.

As I've posted before, we picked up 15 new children to sponsor during the trip last month. All of these kids attended our basketball camp, and all are smart, enthusiastic kids with dreams of their own. All of them are behind in school - a 15 year old in Primary 4, for instance - but all of them just long for the chance to prove themselves and get out of the slums.

The Ugandan system is much like the British system, and not everyone is even allowed to go past P7. There are exams which allow you to proceed, and the A levels and O levels in secondary school which basically determine your future. You can't go to University, or even to some vocational schools, without good marks on these exams.

Won't you help us provide these kids with the best opportunity to improve the lot of their family tree? With your help they can get a vocation or even a degree. They can become the teachers and doctors and lawyers they dream of being...

As always, thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Donations and Christmas shopping

First a big thanks to you - and God! - for a recent rash of donations. After picking up 15 more kids for school fees, but not knowing where exactly that money would come from, I am humbled as always to see God's hand at work. We've gotten $2225 in the last few days alone, which, with the money we left at Ray of Hope towards the fees, will cover all the fees for the rest of 2011! He's awesome, huh??

Secondly, here's the calendar of the local arts and craft fairs I'll be doing, giving you a chance to come by, see all the great stuff we brought back for donors, and get your Christmas gifts handled with one easy donation!

Men's bracelets - great gifts!

October 29: St. Raphael Catholic Church, Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh. 9am-5pm Parish Activity Center

November 19: Wakefield High School Mistletoe Market. 9am-4:30 pm

December 2-3: Sanderson High School Holly Days. 9am-5pm Saturday, 11am-4pm Sunday.

I'm thinking there's a fall festival at Our Lady of Lourdes in October as well, but I haven't been contacted. I'll add more if they come up, and I am definitely available to do home parties from October 19 through mid-December.