Kyle’s Story


Kyle is a nine year old third grader.  He lives with his great grand mother and two older cousins; his mother became pregnant with Kyle at the early age of 14.  After giving birth, she left him with her grand mother and never returned. Kyle’s great grand mother began searching for Kyle’s father so that he could know his family.  After locating Kyle’s father he denied all involvement due to his current marriage.  Kyle’s father died in 2008 of AIDS.

Besides his friends at School, all his life, Kyle has only known his Great grand mother; school like another home for Kyle.

Kyle is a brilliant, polite, energetic boy. He is very bright in class and receives good grades. He has a clear love for school.  While at school he doesn’t worry about food, his patched clothes, or the leaking roof at his house. He has lots of friends, playmates, and people to talk to.

In his recent drawing of things he likes most Kyle didn’t draw any material things.  He drew his friends at school, his teacher, sister & brother, father, mother, grandmother and his school. When asked to elaborate on his drawing he said he loves his friends at school. He referred to his best friends as his brothers and sisters. He loves his science teacher; he walks with him to school and has taught him several soccer skills.  He loves his school and wants to grow up to be teacher.

He smiles and says, “If I can have everything I have drawn then my life would be perfect.”

The Empower Campaign ensures that Kyle leads a normal life just like any other child his age. This is through the various projects of The Empower Campaign. The ‘Empower School fees Project’ ensures that Kyle stays in school by paying all his fees. ‘The Empower Meals project’ ensures that Kyle enjoys a healthy meal in order to study well at school.

Kyle, just like many other children that Empower sponsors, shows us that school is like home to him, his science teacher is a father figure and his friends are like sisters and brothers to him. Being out of school would be the same as being homeless to Kyle.

Seth Morton: Empower Hero.

Seth Morton

Seth was selected to be the Empower Hero because of all of the hard work he put into the 5K this year.  Seth was the “go-to” man for any sort of task that needed to be taken care of, whether it was painting the wall on a Thursday at 1 in the morning, carrying boxes, helping set up and tear down the 5K event, or simply rocking the Empower t-shirt.  He has been a great help to the Empower Campaign and you know that when you ask Seth for something it will get done.  Seth is always full of enthusiasm and has a quick wit that leads to lots of laughs when he’s around.  Seth is the silent hero for the Empower Campaign because he is not in the forefront of all the action, but he is the one supporting the bases for the Empower Campaign to grow on.  Thank you Seth for being such a big help and for always bringing a smile to the work you do for Empower.

Name: Seth Wayne McGovney Morton
Age: 21
Major: Mechanical engineering
Why you joined Empower: I joined empower because I’m in my fourth year of college and had yet to help anyone other than myself, and decided it was time to get involved.
Life Goals: After getting a bachelor’s degree I plan on working in the engineering field for a few years before returning to OU to get a master’s in mechanical engineering.
Favorite Books: Wal-Mart romance novels, Guinness book of world records 1996, Green Eggs and Ham.
Favorite Movies: The departed, stepbrothers, no country for old men, caddyshack 4, land before time.

Favorite Quote: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” -Cliche Motivational poster in my closet
Or
“If you’re jet ski-ing and you lose a wheel, then how many pancakes does it take to cover a doghouse? Purple, because ice cream has no bones” -Author unknown
Where You’re From: Grew up in southern Ohio showing horses, then wound up in the wonderful slice of Appalachia that is Athens.

Empower Hero – Ryan Myers

Ryan Myers was chosen to be the very first Empower Hero for the Empower Campaign. Ryan started off this year by stepping up to help recruit people at the OU Involvement Fair. His excitement spread like wildfire throughout the sea of green shirted freshman looking for direction, and making sure every person that walked by received a flyer about Empower.  Ryan has always gone above and beyond what he has been asked to do as a member of The Empower Campaign.  He is an individual who is dedicated to what he believes in, is full of enthusiasm and hard work, all while maintaining a humble personality.

About Ryan Myers
Age: 20

Major: Theatrical Stage Design

How you became involved with Empower: “I’ve been friends with Gwennan Richmond (the current President at the OU chapter) for a couple years now and I always heard her talking about it. Ultimately, I wound up checking it out myself and liking what I saw from them, so I joined up full-time. It’s the success we draw from direct action that really drew me in; I hear far too much about NGO’s saying things, seeing sad-faced children, but nothing much else than that and a Paypal banner. I found Empower to be different. It’s personal. And I’ll be damned if that doesn’t make a world of difference.”

Life goals: “Graduate with a BFA in theater, get out of Ohio, do great work where I want, and be happy. That’s most important.”

Favorite book: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.

Favorite movie: “My current favorite is fluctuating between Get Low and Synecdoche, New York.”

Kelli

The Empower Campaign changes lives.

Everyday vulnerable children are obtaining an education based on the hard work volunteers do on campuses here in the States. The stories of these children are the reason all of the Empower volunteers work so hard.  Once a month a new story from Uganda about the children we serve will be posted to this blog.

This is the story of Kelli.

Kelli is an 11year old girl in p.6 class at School. She is an orphan living with her aged maternal grandmother and her 3 elder teenage sisters. Her sisters have all dropped out of school due to lack of school fees and their children.  Kelli is last born amongst her sisters. Kelli is shy, articulate, neat. Even though Kelli is shy she converses well when addressed. She is HIV positive and was constantly in and out of school.

The situation in Kelli’s home is really appalling; meals are irregular.  Kelli says she has often missed and been late for school due to lack of school fees. She also had to prepare her own meals to for school every morning.  Her class-mates always teased her about this, she said it hurt her a lot.

Kelli’s grand mother doesn’t work but they have a garden growing on land that has been loaned to them by the neighbors at the back of their house; this is were they get some food. They also have a cow that was given by one of the community organizations to households with kids living with HIV

In 2009 The Empower Campaign stepped in and started helping pay Kelli’s school fees. Ever since Empower stabilized her school payments her attendance and her grades in class have been impeccable.  Thanks to Empower ‘school meals package’ Kelli studies on a full stomach. Kelli loves it more at school than at home, for she finds comfort and solace studying, playing, sharing, exchanging ideas and making friends with fellow children. While at school, Kelli temporarily forgets her home problems and her struggle against AIDS.  She is getting a chance at a normal stable life just like any other child her age should.

Through gracious donations and the work all of our amazing volunteers, Kelli’s school attendance has stabilized, she also enjoys a delicious warm healthy meal at school, and her grades have improved greatly.

Kelli’s grandmother said her greatest happiness is an educated grand child in her household.

A letter from Pharidah Ddamulira

In my country, Uganda, education is ‘wealth’. The importance of educational attainment is well understood and agreed upon in Uganda but becoming educated is harder to achieve under current circumstances which jeopardizes the potential growth and development of individual children, their families, communities and the nation. Most Ugandans draw on metaphorical similarities to show how, since the nation is still young and developing, it is like a child that requires special care and nurturing and its due to this that the call for development through Education has awakened many nationals and outside sympathizers as well.

In Uganda, international organizations like The Empower Campaign and a progressive new constitution acknowledge the key roles that young people will play in the country’s future; the national youth Anthem even refers to them as “The pillars of tomorrow’s Uganda.” Children are therefore becoming-at least discursively –primary vehicles for social change and its due to this that children are entering into nation-building projects like Education not only as objects but as respondents and participants.

Thank you Empower Campaign supporters! Your love for Educating an African disadvantaged child has forested deep personal commitments amongst Ugandan youngsters to Self and National Development. Thank you!

Pharidah Ddamulira

Empower Kampala Program Coordinator



Violet

The Empower Campaign gets several letters from the children that you have been helped through our fundraisers. We recently raised a letter from a Student named Violet.  Here is what she had to say.

Worlds AIDS and Orphans Day

“My mother is HIV positive and struggles to raise my 5 siblings and I. Because our family has so little I could not go to school. The Empower Campaign answered my call for help and now I am attending school and working toward becoming a doctor.” Ronald, age 16, Uganda.


The need

There are 25 million orphans in Africa. Many of these children will grow up without an opportunity to acquire an education, explore their potential and create their own future.  They will never know these opportunities because the cost of an education is completely out of reach for them.
Why focus on educating orphans and vulnerable children?

  • Schools provide a structured environment where orphans and vulnerable children learn they are not alone.
  • Schools provide children with a safe environment, the emotional support and supervision of adults, and the opportunity to learn how to interact with other children and develop social networks.
  • School is where children learn the facts about HIV/AIDS and how to care for themselves, which is especially crucial for child headed households.


Helping educate orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda

  • 50% of Uganda’s population is under the age of 18.
  • 1 out of every 5 children in Uganda is an orphan.
  • An orphaned or vulnerable child is 50% less likely to attend school than a child with two parents.

Uganda’s Universal Primary Education (UPE), began in 1996. The Ugandan government pays the primary school fees for the children, which cover the salaries of the teachers and minimal upkeep for the school. The government does not pay for educational materials; ,socks, shoes, work books, pens, pencils, a mathematics set or the required uniforms that children must wear to attend school.
In practice, the UPE program is not universal. Orphans and vulnerable children are restricted from attending class because they and their caregivers often do not have the financial capability to purchase the necessary educational materials; uniform, socks, shoes, work books, pens, pencils, and a mathematics set that each child needs.

What The Empower Campaign is doing for AIDS Orphans in Uganda

Empower helps orphans and vulnerable children by providing them with educational materials

• Empower provides economic opportunities for families supporting orphaned children.

• Empower provides funding for school lunch programs so all children attending the school, including orphans and vulnerable children, get a healthy lunch each day.

• Empower constructs new schools and reconstructs debilitated schools.

Ronald, age 18, sponsored by The Empower Campaign since 2004

Construction of Bigodi Progressive Parent’s Nursery and Primary School, Bigodi, Uganda, 2010

Empower sponsored students at Kyanyawara, Uganda

Help educate an orphaned child in Uganda today please visit http://www.empowercampaign.org/Donate.html

Additional Information: www.empowercampaign.org

http://www.worldaidsorphans.org/section/the_orphans_crisis/the_fa

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