Some Donors' Experiences
I became involved with Mityana Uganda Charity after my Nan sponsored me a child as a "present". To be honest, I wasn't all that thrilled at the idea initially. I didn't understand how anyone knew where the money was going, and if this boy Pius even existed.
Well, I am happy to tell you it has all worked out incredibly well! Over the years I have gradually learnt more and more about the charity. It's a small voluntary organisation in the UK, paired with a developing Ugandan office that deals with decisions and logistics at that end. There's lots of communication between the UK and Ugandan arms and contact with the sponsored children.
Four years ago I travelled to Mityana with the charity. One of our first engagements was a presentation with the sponsored children, grandparents and their families. I was really disappointed to learn that Pius had an exam to take that morning, and wasn't there. I helped to take photos for kids who wanted to send pictures to their sponsors. After a few hours a small child travelling the speed of a bullet in a yellow t-shirt flew down the hill, catching me in a rugby tackle style hug around my waist and calling me 'Jenkins!' (Ugandans write their surname first, and their given names after). It was Pius! His Mum was there too, and I had the absolute pleasure of chatting to a really lovely, interesting and intelligent pair of people!
I have travelled back since, and spent a bit more time with Pius. I can't help but feel incredibly proud of this smart, outgoing student, and love hearing his stories. I feel some responsibility for him, and his lovely family. Honestly the £350 a year fee is nothing that I miss, and I have no doubt that I will continue to invest in his education until he is earning the big bucks himself!
I began sponsoring Brian several years ago. There were a number of children in Mityana in need of sponsors and I chose Brian simply because my own brother, with the same name, had recently died and I thought it would be a good way to remember him.
Sponsoring a child mainly involves sending regular payments to cover the cost of schooling. This is vital if they are going to have improved employment chances later in life, and every extra person with a decent income can support a full family. So I knew that a modest payment - from my western perspective - could have a great impact on both the sponsored child but later on their wider family.
As Brian progressed through school, his level of improvement was sometimes disappointing. Fortunately, a member of the Mityana Charity team in Uganda visited his school and was able to get to the bottom of things, and since then he has improved steadily. We receive his school reports and letters from him, and we have sent letters and photos as well as an extra gift or two at Christmas.
Shortly after sponsoring Brian, I got involved in "sponsoring" two grandparents. Both were women who had grandchildren to bring up, as their parents had either died or disappeared from the scene. Again, a regular, modest payment has made quite a difference to these families.
In 2016 I visited Mityana with my wife, Jan, and a group of others. We met Brian and the two grandmothers, and it was a lovely experience to meet them all. There was a meeting which almost all of the sponsored children attended and it was a joyous occasion for all.
More recently, Jan and I have begun sponsoring another child, Patricia. She was just at the age to start school and was living with a grandmother and another relative who did not have sufficient funds to send her to school. We were able to help out with the school fees. We have seen her reports over the last couple of years and she is thriving!
We are looking forward to another visit to Mityana in the near future.
We had a rather unique experience when deciding to sponsor a child through the Mityana Charity in that we were actually there. We visited the charity and the town as part of a round the world trip that we undertook as a family.
Letitia was chosen for us by Grace, who runs the sponsored children part of the charity. We couldn't pick from the list ourselves and asked Grace for guidance. As Letitia is a total orphan she lives with her aunt, who has four other children of her own.
Letitia's mum died in 2013, a year after she was born, and her dad died in 2015. We were lucky enough to actually meet her a couple of times and feel very strongly committed to helping her through her schooling and supporting her in her educational choices. We hope one day she will visit us in the U.K.
We could not help but be moved by the stories of the children waiting for sponsorship. The charity opens its doors to new applications periodically and then the task begins to find sponsors for these children.
Sponsoring a child's schooling for primary school cost £180 a year, and that covers everything the child needs to attend school. It's just £15 a month - a few Costa coffees or an amount we might spend on car parking over the course of a month. A cinema ticket.
The charity does want to make sure you are as able to commit to the duration of sponsoring as it rises for secondary schooling, but having seen first hand the difference it makes I can honestly say your money would change someone's life.
The Uganda government has offered free schooling, but it's a hollow gesture because the schools they fund often don't have enough teachers and they have classes of up to 80 children. The Mityana Charity places children in privately-run local schools and regularly visits to ensure standards are met and the children are performing academically.
There's no stigma attached to being a sponsored child, there's so many of them and they simply become "charity members". In fact the children that need it are so pleased to have a sponsor because they know the difference it will make - educationally, but also socially as you write letters and hear about other countries and learn more about the world.
We absolutely love the correspondence we get, school reports, photos and hand written letters. My daughters are always thrilled to receive them and we can't believe how much Letitia has grown since we saw her. Knowing we are helping her thrive is just so special. Knowing that she will have a better chance in life and being a part of that is something you can't really describe. It's such a small amount of money for us but such a huge amount to them and such a huge opportunity that they never waste it.
I promise it'll be money that's so well spent and having seen it all in action your child will be so grateful to be given this helping hand in life!
I was inspired to support the building of the Rwamashengyero Clinic when I read about the Mityana Charity and all that it had already achieved with health care in the area. When they told me about plans for a new clinic, I knew this was something really important that I could contribute to. I was a medical herbalist for much of my working life. It seemed terrible to think heavily pregnant women were having to travel on scooters to get medical assistance, and that children might lose out on inoculations. I was fortunate to be born in a wealthy country, and am aware that much of that wealth came at the expense of others. Helping to build the Rwamashengyero Clinic is my small contribution to the wonderful people of Uganda.