How do you change lives in impoverished countries? Many people and organizations are trying. As part of my series, Heroes in Africa, I want you to learn about the work of Empower African Children (EAC). Our family helps to sponsor one of their students whom we know and love.
Empower’s approach is to use education to transform the lives of orphaned, vulnerable students in Uganda a country with 2.7 million orphans. The goal is to prepare them for a lifetime of influence.
How is this accomplished?
Empower African Children has 3 primary programs.
1) Ugandan Student Education Scholarships.
Scholarships are provided for orphaned and/or vulnerable students to attend a private boarding school outside of Kampala. Scholarships are given to both primary and secondary school students. During school or summer breaks these students return to Empower’s training center in Kampala where they live in a home style setting. The time in Kampala is used to nurture and love these kids and to continue the learning process. Activities include tutoring, counseling, guest speakers or workshops on leadership, technology and the arts. Empower also partners with organizations to provide services to help make EAC students globally competitive.
In Uganda, less than 20% of Ugandan students graduate from secondary school (U.S. grades 7-12).
Yet, 100% of Empower Scholars have completed secondary education.
Many of EAC’s students have experienced “dead or lost years” missing school due to hardships or lack of money.
It is heartbreaking what some of these children have endured in their lifetimes.
I feel Empower really rescues these children!
Sponsoring a Ugandan student’s education through Empower’s program is an investment of life-changing proportions for these children and young adults. Future leaders for Africa and the world result from programs like Empower African Children.
Their website states-
“At Empower African Children, we make long term deeply rooted commitments to our students to help them fully realize their promise. Our goal is to move our students from the chalkboard to the laptop in a single generation; moving from subsistence farming to real enterprise ownership and leading service management positions.”
How Does EAC find these orphans or vulnerable boys and girl?
Students are selected from all over Uganda based upon the following criteria.
1) Orphaned and/or comes from a vulnerable family situation.
2) Recommended by leaders in their village or area.
3) Talented in the arts or academics.
Some of these students are trained in music and dance and join the Spirit of Uganda Tour which is described below.
2) U.S. Scholarship program – sending the brightest and most gifted of Empower’s Ugandan students to study in the United States and later return to Uganda to work and serve there in each students area of expertise.
EAC’s remaining students study at universities or technical schools in East Africa. Only 3% of students in Uganda graduate from university, yet every Empower scholar completes a post-secondary education before they complete the EAC program.
My family helps to sponsor one of these students studying in the United States. His name is Peter Mugga.
Peter is a brilliant musician. In national exams given in Uganda in 2005, Peter tested as the best music student in all of Uganda.
|Peter at a 2009 performance at college|
If Empower had not found him,Peter would not have
had the opportunity to develop his
amazing God given talent.
He is currently finishing his studies in the U.S.
|Peter at our house this Christmas|
|U.S. Scholarship Students|
3) Spirit of Uganda Tour – Empower’s touring company, Spirit of Uganda, gives music and dance performances in North America every 2 years. This tour brings attention to the plight of Uganda’s more than 2 million orphans. The next tour is in 2014.
Provide a Scholarship
Unlike most orphan related programs, it is possible for you to have the opportunity to meet the student you help, either in Kampala on a Visitor Program or in the United States if that student in on tour with the Spirit of Uganda or a scholarship student.
Contact Alexis Hefley to learn more.
The Bible says-
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly: defend the rights of the poor and needy. -Proverbs 31:8-9
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
It is not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and you night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always,
he will satisfy you needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land
Meet the Founder
Their vision was inspired by their founder Alexis Hefley who has almost 20 years of work with Ugandan children. EAC was co-founded with Donna Malouf and is based in Dallas, TX and in Uganda.
Alexis whom I know personally is an amazing individual. She has worked tirelessly to help children in Uganda.
She believes in raising leaders so the future of Uganda and places like it can be bright.
As stated in their website “We help our students focus on the future rather than losses in their past.
Instead of being defined by their circumstances, they focus on an “I can” attitude, even when it would be easy to say “I can’t.”
Located in Eastern Africa, west of Kenya and east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Uganda is slightly smaller than the size of Oregon. Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, is located in the southeast section of Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Lake Victoria is famed for being the source of the river Nile and is Africa’s largest lake.
The Six C’s of education.
Current program partners include:
- KiBO Foundation: Career Skills
- Ed2Net: Child-Centered Education
- In Movement: Creative Expression
- Cornerstone Development: Character Development
- Educate!: Uwezo Institute
|Founders – Alexis far left, Donna far right|
-Empower African Children