Nestled at the base of the beautiful Mufumbiro Mountains is the district of Kisoro, Uganda. Tourism is a modest business, as some adventurous travelers make their way to the district to view the endangered mountain gorillas. But most people make their living tilling the rich volcanic soil, growing crops. Though food is abundant, this district is extremely poor.
As shown in cultures worldwide, quality education is effective at breaking the cycle of poverty. In Uganda, children who pass the 7th grade national exams can earn higher pay as skilled professionals once they are adults. More importantly, they can continue on to high school and beyond, or attend technical school. But without passing the 7th grade exam, most are relegated to manual labor as long as they are physically able.
The government schools in the Kisoro district are greatly overcrowded, resulting in low academic performance, while most parents cannot afford the high tuition at private schools. So many concerned parents turn to community schools, where tuition rates are low enough to still be accessible, but high enough to keep a healthy student-teacher ratio.
Kisoro Kids is partnered with the five Kisoro Baptist Association (KBA) community schools. All of these schools are elementary schools, and most end at the pivotal 7th grade. We chose to partner with these schools because they already had strong, reputable leadership in place, and because the community is actively involved. Also, these schools teach children important spiritual lessons, including personal dignity, respecting parents and how to properly treat others, especially girls and women.
Our approach is unique. We have spent many hours interviewing teachers, parents and local leaders, determining projects that represent a legitimate need that they are truly unable to provide for themselves. Meanwhile, local leaders continue rallying the community to do their part. These steps are designed to avoid setting up an unhealthy system of dependency.
You have the opportunity to engage your family, coworkers, friends or community in adopting one of these many “bite sized” projects, which will become your own! All of our projects seek to improve the quality of education at one of the five elementary schools. Some of our projects also help lift students’ families out of poverty in a sustainable way. For example, you could raise money for teacher books, nursery supplies, or a pig for a needy family! We will regularly report to you the status of your project.
We believe in a high level of initiative, leadership and involvement by the local Kisoro community. We believe they will experience a sense of ownership as they actively participate in the advancement of their own futures. We do not want to create a system of dependency, but only want to help where they are truly unable to help themselves. We employ the principles found in When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert, and recommend this book to anyone wanting to engage in helping the poor.
We believe in preserving the dignity of those we are assisting, by assessing and encouraging their God-given resources, and understanding their true needs within their cultural context.
We believe in complete financial transparency and accountability.