In 2006, Simon Paech went to Uganda on a mission trip, where he met and soon fell in love with his Ugandan translator, Aggie. They were married in 2007 and have been missionaries in Uganda ever since. In that same year, Aggie found 14 women who were crushing rocks for a living and taught them how to make beaded jewelry and crafts. Aggie’s Arts was formed in the U.S. and started selling the beads to support the women. However, Aggie had it in her heart to save some of the funds to start an education program in order to help break the cycle of poverty in her country.
Money was set aside for four years from bead sales and youth camp donations while we waited and prayed for a community and a leader who shared our vision and values. Our prayers were answered when Simon and Aggie connected with education minister, Pastor George Mbonyebombi from Kisoro. After our first visit to Kisoro, we decided to partner with five elementary schools: Rutare, Mucenta, Kisoro Hill, Ntamatinda and Nkurungiro.
Kisoro Kids officially kicked off in 2011. During this first phase, we used the funds we had collected to improve the infrastructure of the schools in order to provide a better learning environment. The Kisoro community provided all of the labor and also gave to the projects as they were able. The children went from sitting on logs or pews (with their notebooks in their laps) with leaky roofs and jigger-infested dirt floors, to sitting in real desks on concrete floors, surrounded by fortified walls and roofs. From 2011 to 2014, Kisoro Kids partnered with the local community to cement 20 classroom floors, roof seven classrooms, fortify the walls of eight classrooms, and provide 180 desks!
Our Current Efforts
With the infrastructure projects mostly complete, we are now able to focus on other needs of the schools. Even though school tuition is modest, many impoverished families still struggle to pay consistently. As a result, many teachers receive only half of their contracted salary, and the schools are usually unable to afford important exams. Teachers also have very few teaching resources. Therefore, once the teachers have some experience, they are often enticed to work at government or private schools. The high moral standards of KBA teachers also make them attractive to other schools, as child abuse by teachers is common in Uganda.
To answer these needs, Kisoro Kids is now focused on providing the five schools with much needed resources and on helping to lift students’ families out of poverty through sustainable means. We have opportunities for donors to purchase livestock for these families and opportunities to provide many specific needs of the teachers and schools.
We invite you to encourage your family, friends, coworkers, or even your child’s classroom to adopt a project from our Available Projects page. Join us in coming alongside the people of Kisoro in breaking the cycle of generational poverty.