It's Not Over Doreen

Doreen in her first year at WCIA High School.

Doreen in her first year at WCIA High School.

Last January, WCIA High School was just weeks away from opening its doors for the very first time and everyone was nervous. The Come, Let’s Dance team was racing to finish construction, new teachers were working on preparing lesson plans, and the students could not help but wonder what life would be like at their new high school. One of the students eagerly awaiting the opening of WCIA High School was Mirembe Faith Doreen. 

Doreen's oldest brother Daniel in 2015

Doreen's oldest brother Daniel in 2015

Doreen attended WCIA Primary School for many years. It was there that she earned her reputation as an exceptionally hardworking and kind individual; a description that is truer today than ever. In November, Doreen’s mother Esther Naugobi gave birth to twin girls, Kerry and Sarah.  Esther is the sole financial provider for Doreen, the twins, and their three brothers Phillipo, Elisha, and Daniel. In order to meet her children’s needs, Esther had to return to work shortly after giving birth. Once school ended, Doreen began taking care of the twins while her mother worked, all while completing her holiday homework, volunteering at her church and helping other neighbors with cooking and childcare. This week, Doreen, Elisha, and Daniel will all don WCIA uniforms, pack up their belongings, and start another year as boarders at the High School and Primary Schools, respectively. Doreen says that while she is excited to see her friends and start new lessons, she is going to miss taking care of Sarah and Kerry and worries about leaving her mother alone. 

Doreen and Sarah, one of her twin sisters. 

Doreen and Sarah, one of her twin sisters. 

It is not only at home where Doreen’s heart for helping others is apparent. She is an exceptional singer, and instead of using her talent to outshine others, she uses her musical gifts to help counsel, teach, and inspire her peers, teachers, family, and many CLD volunteers. Doreen was a founding member, and leader, of the Primary School choir that served as a tool for mentoring younger students and giving them a platform to share their voices.  Through her leadership role, Doreen worked with many of the younger girls at the school and their relationship with her grew their confidence to such a level that they took over leadership roles in the choir when she joined high school. Last year in her first few months at the High School, Doreen co-wrote the school song and helped start a singing and dance club. 

 

Click play below to hear "It's Not Over" a song written and performed by Doreen. 

This year, the school will open its doors to over sixty students in grades Senior One, Senior Two, and Senior Three. The staff, teachers, and CLD team will continue to serve young leaders like Doreen with the best education possible. Your $45 a month not only allows Doreen to go to school, it also allows her to share her positive influence with many other young Ugandans and it gives her a space to develop her unique gifts and skills. Thank you for believing in Doreen and her peers, and thank you for giving to the Child Scholarship Fund again this year.

Meet Jjajja Margaret

Jjajja Margaret 

Jjajja Margaret 

This month, we want to share the story of one of the backbones of WCIA Primary, Margret Agero. Never known simply as Margret, every student, staff member and volunteer affectionately refer to her as “Jjajja” or Grandmother Margaret. The term, Jjajja is used to convey respect, gratitude, and strength, all traits Jjajja Margaret has in abundance, but most of all it is used to express love. 

Jjajja Margret serving at the WCIA Community Service Day. 

Jjajja Margret serving at the WCIA Community Service Day. 

Love comes up in every conversation with, or about, Jjajja Margaret. Since joining Come, Let’s Dance in 2010 Jjajja Margaret has served as the head dormitory mother. For six years she has taken care of the older boys in grades four through seven, helping them navigate growing up, from teaching them to do laundry to imparting lessons about what it means to be a leader in your community.   The boys she took care of love Jjajja Margaret deeply, and every afternoon after school, they visit her to tell her stories about their day, ask questions, or to simply say hello. She calls them all her sons and for some of them she is the most consistent maternal figure in their life.  

Families come in all forms, and the family Jjajja Margaret has created through her friendships with Come, Let’s Dance volunteers, mentoring of staff members, and the care she has given the WCIA students, numbers in the hundreds. Jjajja Margret calls many Come, Let’s Dance volunteers her daughters and sons, including CLD volunteer Taylor Anderson. Taylor remembers spending nearly every afternoon with Jjajja Margaret learning to wash clothes and help with tasks, but the impact of those days comes from the conversations they had while doing chores. Taylor says, “Jjajja told me I would learn and learn I did, but not just about washing clothes. I learned far more about love, sacrifice, and presences from her than I could have imagined.”  

Your contributions through the Child Scholarship Fund help keep employees like Jjajja Margaret at Come, Let’s Dance. The school strives to educate the next generation of Ugandan leaders and while a large part of that happens during school, it also happens outside of the classroom, and Jjajja Margaret is one of the best teachers of life lessons. Jjajja Margaret made sure the dormitories felt like a home to the students and to all of the volunteers who visited the school. This January, Jjajja Margaret will retire from Come, Let’s Dance and her years of service to the organization and her ability to love so many people so well will be greatly missed in Come, Let’s Dance.  

Meet Joseph, Janat & Hafuswa

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In 2011, a tailor named Regina heard about a small primary school one of her Pastors was starting from a friend.  Her friend told her about the Ugandan team looking to transform education in their community and the Americans who believed in providing opportunity for the next generation of Ugandan leaders. So when the school opened Regina took her three kids Joseph, Janat, and Hafuswa to the brand new Wakiso Christian International Academy to start classes, something she has continued to do for the last five years...

Hafuswa, Grade Six

Hafuswa, Grade Six

When asked about the baby of their family, sixth grader Hafuswa, Janat and Joseph will say she is the silliest and the loudest, a sentiment echoed by many who know her. Hafuswa is often surrounded by fun, usually of her own creation, and an audience excited to listen and join in. Math is her least favorite subject, so she says it is her favorite class to try and tell stories in. Hafuswa is a natural storyteller with her captivating personality and quick wit, traits that lend themselves nicely to her favorite subject, Language. Extroverted Hafuswa has many friends, but most often you will find her sitting with her sister Janat making beads, helping prepare dinner, or just simply engaging in girl talk.

Janat, Grade Seven

Janat, Grade Seven

Janat has a heart of gold and a contagious giggle. She loves taking care of others, especially babies and the young preschool students at the school. Every afternoon after completing classes, she uses her break to help the younger girls do their laundry and prepare for the next day, before starting to wash her own clothes or begin to study. Service to others is something that comes naturally to Janat and she does these tasks with joy. In fact, whether she is washing dirty socks or sitting in a late night study session you will often find her laughing. This sense of joy has followed Janat throughout a very stressful academic year.  This month Janat will sit for her national P7 exams. These exams are very important in a Ugandan student’s life and can be compared to taking the ACT or SAT as a seventh grade student. Janat has spent countless hours in class and studying for the exams with the goal to score within the top tier, and of course, score higher than her big brother Joseph did two years ago.

Joseph, Senior 2, speaking at an all-schools assembly.

Joseph, Senior 2, speaking at an all-schools assembly.

Students at the High School have to wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 am to start studying and preparing for the day. Without being asked or assigned the task, Joseph started waking up early every morning to sweep all of the classrooms so when the other students arrive they can go straight to studying and not have to worry about this morning chore. During the last three holidays, Joseph has worked as an apprentice for Mr. Cosmas, the head engineer for CLD building projects. Joseph has started at the bottom, mixing cement and preparing the work site, in order to help his family with finances and to gain experience, because someday he would like to be the engineer in charge of big projects. Joseph is a kind and trusted leader amongst his peers and when he was awarded as the “Most Hardworking” student by his teachers earlier this year everyone cheered for the well deserved acknowledgement, but no one was more proud than his mother Regina.

Joseph, with S1 student Tracey, perform a scene in a High School Dramatic production. 

Joseph, with S1 student Tracey, perform a scene in a High School Dramatic production. 

Today, that Pastor Regina heard about is Ben Kibumba the Director of Come, Let’s Dance, the friend, Sara Namwangu is the school librarian and beloved by many in CLD, and Joseph, Janat, and Hafuswa are all excelling, but on that first day Regina was taking a chance on WCIA. Yet, she believed in the school’s principles and vision. She looked at the group of individuals, some who she had never met, and trusted them, before they had any great accomplishment to show. Through her eyes, classrooms that were newly converted from animal pens displayed opportunity and hope for her kids. All this because Regina believes in character, so much so that she instilled it in each one of children, and when she saw that was at the core of WCIA, she knew it was a school she wanted her kids to attend.

Regina with Janat and Hafuswa on the first day of school. 

Regina with Janat and Hafuswa on the first day of school. 

As a Child Scholarship provider, you make a similar choice to Regina each month. With your donations you prove that you believe in the character of Come, Let’s Dance. You say that you stand behind the vision and the principles of the school and whether or not you have met every student, you are willing to provide them with the same opportunity and hope Joseph, Janat, and Hafuswa have received. Thank you for your donations and trust in Come, Let’s Dance and your belief in the students and families of WCIA.

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MEET ALLAN MWANJE

Allan's school picture taken in August 2016.

Allan's school picture taken in August 2016.

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Dinner parties. First meetings. Awkward encounters. There are countless times in life when you need to break the silence with a classic joke. For many Come, Let’s Dance volunteers, their classic go-to jokes come from one very funny person in particular, fourth grade student Allan Mwanje. Allan aspires to be a comedian when he grows up as well as a pilot, driver, and a doctor.  He is a math wiz, the class clown, and one of the most active kids at WCIA.  Allan is also from Katanga, one of the largest slums in all of Uganda.

Allan joined WCIA after his mother Margaret became connected to Come, Let’s Dance through one of the Thread of Life Savings Circles. From her involvement in the weekly savings groups, Margaret learned about WCIA and began to take steps to save money for Allan’s tuition.  The CLD team began working alongside Margaret and the Child Scholarship Fund allowed for Alan not to only attend school at WCIA, but also to become a boarder in the dormitories.

Margaret and Allan at Term I Visiting Day in April 2016

Margaret and Allan at Term I Visiting Day in April 2016

Allan has attend school at WCIA for nearly five years and through that time the Come, Let's Dance community has become close with his family. Margaret continues to be a very consistent member in her Savings Circle and now holds a leadership role during the weekly meetings. She serves as an example and encouragement to many other women, especially single mothers, living in extreme poverty in the Katanga Slums.

Through Allan and Margaret the Come, Let's Dance team has also become connected to the oldest son in the family, Michael Jackson, better known as“MJ.” MJ, his wife, and children all live in the Katanga Slum near Margaret. MJ’s wife has been active at Thread of Life, enrolling in English and tailoring classes. MJ is incredibly committed to bringing restoration and hope to the slum. He is the founder of Hope for Katanga Kids and strives to empower the children in Katanga through music, dance, education and vocational skills. He also partners with Thread of Life to provide adult learning classes, including weekly English classes.

MJ and his daughter in the Katanga Slums - August 2016.

MJ and his daughter in the Katanga Slums - August 2016.

By committing to partnering with Margaret and her sons, Come, Let's Dance has been able to bear witness to the incredible effects that arise out of empowering leaders. Margret, MJ, and Allan all work to make their communities a better place and bring joy to others wherever they go. Your $45 monthly contributions to the Child Scholarship Fund continue to help Allan attend school at WCIA and serve as investments in the future of this incredible family.

Allan preparing to take a boat ride on a recent school field trip to Lake Victoria. 

Allan preparing to take a boat ride on a recent school field trip to Lake Victoria. 

 

 

MEET ESTHER KWAGALA

As many of us spent our August evenings enjoying the Olympics, for September I want to introduce you to the WCIA’s resident expert in gymnastics, Esther Kwagala. Esther is a natural athlete, proven in her amazing dancing, her double-dutch skills, and her prowess at the popular Ugandan game Cat and Rat (a type of tag). But her athletic talent is really demonstrated through her ability to tumble, headstand, and walk on her hands – all gymnastic skills she has perfected without any professional training.

Esther has learned these gymnastic skills from different volunteers over the five years she has been a students at WCIA. Esther is very friendly and is consistently one of the first students to welcome new visitors. So full of life, she often has volunteers, from 6 months to 60 years-old giggling right alongside her in a matter of minutes and it never takes long for the conversation to turn toward gymnastics.  Esther loves learning new moves and catches on very quickly. This February she learned how to do round-offs and by June she was doing them one handed. 

Esther, and her two sisters Tendo Gloria and Gorret Mbaabazi, enrolled at WCIA in October 2011. Esther was just three years old at the time and WCIA pre-K classes were her first time in school. The family became connected to WCIA through Aunt Sarah, a beloved CLD employee who currently is the school librarian. Aunt Sarah knew the family through her church and encouraged their parents to enroll their students at WCIA, because of the great education her children were receiving and because Esther’s family would qualify for financial assistance. Before that school seemed like an impossibility for the three sisters, because the family makes very little through her father’s work as a driver and her mother’s small vegetable stand.  Without the support of the Child Scholarship Fund it would have been unlikely for all three daughters to attend school at the same time. 

Tragically in 2014, Esther’s oldest sister Gloria Tendo died from complications from burns she suffered when the family’s home caught on fire. During that horrific time in their life, where little was certain, Esther and Gorret were guaranteed a safe place to live and their education. The family was supported through the Come, Let's Dance community during that time and today are back in their home and Esther, Gorret, and their brothers Joshua and Regan are able to attend school.

The Child Scholarship Funds aims to come alongside students in a way that results in happy kids and healthy families. We want all the children at WCIA to be able to pursue their education and support them, and their families, in times of great difficulty and struggle. The Child Scholarship Fund, and your contributions, ensures that Esther and Gorret will always have opportunity through education. 

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MEET REBECCA

It is very easy to find Rebecca Osinge and her mother Faith in a room - all you have to do is look for the biggest smiles. It is not despite pain and hardship that Faith and Rebecca exude joy, but rather than be defeated they continue to persevere and find hope in the future. 

Rebecca during her first year at WCIA High School.

Rebecca during her first year at WCIA High School.

Rebecca Osinge started school at WCIA in 2013 as a fifth grade student. One year earlier, in the summer of 2012, Rebecca and her sisters lost their father and Faith lost her husband of over twenty years to AIDS.  Along with grieving her husband’s death, Faith also was dealing with her recent diagnosis of HIV and the need to support her family and keep her daughters in school.  Faith says the months directly following the death of her husband were the most difficult in her life, but she never gave up hope. 

Faith became connected to Come, Let’s Dance a few months after her husband’s death when, having very little herself, she assisted a group of women who were stranded on the side of the road without money for transport. One of those women attended classes at Thread of Life and told Faith about the educational possibilities there. The very next day Faith went to Thread of Life ready for opportunities to learn and improve life for herself and her daughters. From that day on she fully immersed herself in Thread of Life, learning to sew, garden, and make jewelry. Faith became a mentor to many women at Thread of Life encouraging them through example, to work hard, pursue education, and stay joyful. Soon she was partnering with Thread of Life, to counsel women with HIV/AIDS and to start a business growing and selling mushrooms to be used as dietary supplements for AIDS patients.

Faith continues to work incredibly hard to provide her daughters with opportunity and education. She recently moved out of Kampala to start a business selling popular Ugandan snacks known as “Daddies.” The work is very labor intensive, but the profits allow Faith to pay school fees for Rebecca and her sisters. 

Faith packaging "Daddies" a popular Ugandan snack she sells near Entebbe, Uganda.

Faith packaging "Daddies" a popular Ugandan snack she sells near Entebbe, Uganda.

 

As a testament to Faith’s hard work, in just three years, Rebecca has gone from being fully sponsored to now having her mom pay a large portion of her fees and provide her with all of the necessary school and boarding supplies.

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 In many ways Rebecca takes after her mother. She is extremely kind, positive, and very hardworking. Rebecca values her education and consistently scores at the top of her class. She is also a very talented singer and has been an active member in the student led choir and dance squad since arriving at WCIA. Recently, Rebecca was recognized at school for her outstanding character and leadership traits. Part of the school’s mission is to foster the next generation of Ugandan leaders and there is no doubt that your contribution to Rebecca’s education through the Child Scholarship Fund is a great investment in the future of Uganda. 

 

MEET EMMA AND ESTHER!

Five years ago, Emma Sekyanzi, Esther Nampijja and their mother Shakira were three of the 10,000 plus people living in the Katanga Slum.  Katanga, known as the “Family Slum” is approximately one square mile near the heart of Kampala. Most of the residents are single mothers and their children. While living in Katanga, Emma and Esther’s mother become connected with Come, Let’s Dance. Working with the American and Ugandan staff, Shakira enrolled Emma and Esther in school at WCIA and was able to start a small business. Through the business she was able to move with her kids out of Katanga.

Emma and Esther were part of the sponsorship program since 2011 and continue to benefit from the Child Scholarship Fund. The fund partners with their mother to cover their school fees and boarding costs. A portion of the Child Scholarship Fund also goes to providing the students with proper medical care through Nurse Gladys at the WCIA Clinic. Unfortunately, Emma has had to take advantage of this medical care twice in the past year for serious ailments.

The first visit to the clinic came after a classic playground injury. Emma was having fun with his friends after school when he took a hard fall onto the dirt and broke his arm. He was able to immediately go to the clinic where Gladys stabilized his arm and made a plan of action that resulted in him going to the hospital and receiving a cast. The next day he was back in school with proof that he is one of the toughest kids on the playground.

Nurse Gladys who takes care of WCIA students and community members each day.

Nurse Gladys who takes care of WCIA students and community members each day.

A few months later Emma walked back into the WCIA clinic. This time he wasn’t dusty and battered, but it was clear something was wrong. Emma had contracted Malaria, a disease that on average infects ten WCIA students each month. Unlike when he broke his arm, this time Emma did not have to travel to the hospital. Using the clinic’s lab the malaria was diagnosed quickly and accurately and treatment could begin immediately. Because the clinic is at WCIA, Emma still was able to attend his classes while receiving medication through an IV port on his hand during breaks.

In Uganda, simple injuries like broken arms and diseases such as malaria can often devastate a child’s life forever. Children can be left untreated because of the simple fact that medical care is inaccessible and costly. But for Emma, he only had to walk a few yards to receive immediate medical attention at the school clinic free of charge, because the Child Scholarship Fund helps to cover medical needs.  

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Today, Emma is a healthy and happy fifth grade student and his sister Esther is in fourth grade. Both children have access to passionate teachers, educational possibilities, and proper health care. Thank you for your role in the Child Scholarship Fund, consistent donations like those make every month help provide opportunity for many students, including Emma and Esther. 

Emma supporting the CLD Farm shortly after recovering from Malaria.

Emma supporting the CLD Farm shortly after recovering from Malaria.

Meet Aunt Margret and Nicholas

As WCIA was preparing to open its doors in early 2010 staffing was one of the largest priorities. The Come, Let's Dance team was committed to finding trustworthy adults who would cater for the students in the best ways possible. Aunt Margret, who was already part of the CLD community, was asked to join the school as one of the dorm mothers.  This is an extremely important position at any boarding school, as dorm mothers act as the primary care provider for dozens of students nine months out of the year.

 

Each day Aunt Margaret strives to keep over twenty teenage girls emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy and still has a smile on her face and a warm greeting to all visitors! Every morning she wakes up all the teenage girls and makes sure they are on time and prepared for school. Every evening she makes sure the girls have their uniforms washed, and their homework completed. She is a pro at handling high emotions and late night giggles and has the trust and love of each one of the students she cares for. 

 Aunt Margret has two daughters in their early twenties and three teenage boys. Her youngest son, Nicholas is in the sixth grade at WCIA. Nicholas is quiet, thoughtful and hardworking – gifts he channels into his leadership roles at WCIA. He is one of the drummers for the school and his peers have elected him as the Time Keeper the past five terms. He excels in History, Science, and Math and consistently scores well on his exams. He is extremely curious and a conversation with him can easily cover many topics, from the Great Wall of China to the amount of cargo a shipping container can hold. 

 

Nicholas was one of the first students at WCIA and remembers attending school in classrooms that had recently been renovated from animal stalls. Now six years later, Nicholas attends grade six in the classrooms constructed in 2012, and painted in WCIA blue last summer. At eight-years-old Nicholas would walk to an off-campus boarding house morning and night, but now he and Aunt Margaret stay in the onsite dormitories that were completed this January.

 

The story of WCIA is a large part of Aunt Margaret and Nicholas’ story. Each capital project at the school, every monthly scholarship donation, and all the angel gifts over the last six years have directly impacted their lives and the lives of those around them.  Whether you have supported the school since it began or just recently started donating, I hope you know that the contributions you make are helping to transform lives and empower families like Aunt Margret and Nicholas. 

Meet Isaac Matovu

Come, Let’s Dance and the Child Scholarship Fund believe in turning mourning into dancing. Isaac Matovu’s story is a true example of what it looks like for tragedy to turn into hope.  

Isaac began school at WCIA after fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  

Isaac began school at WCIA after fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  

In his short life Isaac has faced insurmountable tragedy. Isaac was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the early 2000s during the midst of a Civil War.  Isaac and his family lived near the Ugandan border on the North Eastern edge of the DRC. This is an extremely violent and dangerous area where for nearly two decades civilians have continually suffered at the hands of corrupt officials and armed militant groups.  Most people in Eastern DRC don’t work outside their homes or communities because of the threat of violence and kidnapping. For these same reasons, most children in this war-torn country do not attend school and like so many others, Isaac was never able to have any formal education while living in the DRC. 

Isaac’s family suffered unimaginable atrocities while living in the DRC, including the violent murder of his mother. After his mother’s death, Isaac and his father fled the DRC for Uganda. They arrived in Uganda in late 2013, yet even after arriving they continued to face challenges as Isaac’s father had very few resources to use for starting a new life. Isaac and his father were homeless when they became connected to CLD Uganda Director Ben Kibumba. After meeting Isaac and his father, Ben invited Isaac to attend school at WCIA and committed to helping the family resettle in Uganda.

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Isaac enrolled at WCIA in January 2014. At that time he spoke French, Swahili, and a local tribal language, but did not know any English or Luganda. This made adjustment to the school difficult because classes at WCIA are taught in English and most students only speak English and Luganda. Because of this language barrier and his lack of formal education, Isaac, who was approximately 10-years-old at the time, started school at the first grade level. 

            Isaac is now in the fourth grade at WCIA.

            Isaac is now in the fourth grade at WCIA.

Today, Isaac is flourishing. In just over two years, the boy who never had any formal education and didn’t speak English is now one of the top students in the fourth grade. He is also a member of the school’s dance squad, one of the school’s drummers, and an excellent soccer player.  

Isaac would not be able to attend school without the Child Scholarship Fund. The fund comes alongside him and his father to pay for school fees and school supplies each term. Isaac’s father contributes as much as he can to his son’s education, but Uganda’s economy and language barriers make it difficult for him to find consistent work. Your contribution to this fund allows Isaac, and students like him, to find hope in the midst of tragedy and opportunity in times of despair. Thank you for coming alongside Isaac and WCIA through the Child Scholarship Fund.

 

 

Meet Joshua and Esther

                                                 Mr. Cosma in front of the new WCIA Dormitories he designed and built for WCIA.

                                                 Mr. Cosma in front of the new WCIA Dormitories he designed and built for WCIA.

"MR. COSMA'S KIDS" 

MEET Joshua & Esther

 

“Mr. Cosma’s kids have such good manners.”

“Mr. Cosma’s kids are great students.”

“Mr. Cosma’s kids are so kind.”

 

These are just a few of the comments you will hear from teachers, staff, and volunteers about Joshua Kigozi and Esther Kirabo Kigozi around the WCIA campus. Joshua and Esther are two of the eight children of Mr. Cosma Kigozi, one of the most well respected men in the Come, Let’s Dance Uganda community.

Mr. Cosma is the head engineer and builder of most Come, Let’s Dance capital projects. He and his wife Cissy are pillars within their community and hold positions within Light the World Church. Mr. Cosma started working in construction as porter when he was still a teenager. Through his commitment, strong work ethic, and gifts as a builder Mr. Cosma moved up the ranks, eventually becoming the owner of a flourishing construction company. 

Mr. Cosma decided to send two of his younger children Joshua and Esther to school at WCIA in 2013. He became well associated with the school after serving as the engineer and designer for WCIA’s 2012 expansion, and this year he was the first choice to design and build the new primary dormitories. Remembering his own beginnings in construction and his beliefs in the Come, Let's Dance desire to empower, Mr. Cosma opened up the entry-level positions on the crew to older WCIA students looking for work during the holidays. Mr. Cosma is an excellent engineer and an even better father. He is very active within his kids’ lives and along with Cissy, has instilled strong values within them all.

                                          Esther and Joshua after a day of studying hard.

                                          Esther and Joshua after a day of studying hard.

Joshua, who in January entered Grade 6, is a humble leader within the school.  He plays the drums for school activities, is a member of the student guild and academic clubs, and is an overall kind person. When an American volunteer became lost in his neighborhood, it was Joshua who noticed and not only gave him directions, but led him to his destination.

 Esther is in Grade 5 and very creative. She is artistically talented and can always be found drawing in her free time. While Esther is very sweet and small for her age, she is definitely able to hold her own against a class made up of mostly rowdy boys. Esther is nurturing to the younger students and the head of one of the school’s choirs.

While Joshua and Esther’s school fees are paid for by their parents, the Child Scholarship Fund still comes alongside them in their education. Along with every student at WCIA, the Child Scholarship Fund strives to provide Joshua and Esther with opportunity, an excellent education, and international experiences. 

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Esther and Joshua outside of their classrooms at WCIA.

Esther and Joshua outside of their classrooms at WCIA.

Meet Damien Ssenkayi

Come, Let’s Dance accomplished two big construction goals this year with the completion of the WCIA High School and the WCIA Primary Dormitories. The buildings that are a result of these projects will serve hundreds of students, yet constructing them came down to just a few dozen men. One of the people responsible for the dorm construction is Damien Ssenkayi.

Damien working on the WCIA Primary Dormitory Construction.

Damien working on the WCIA Primary Dormitory Construction.

Just a few weeks ago, Damien began his first year of High School at the new WCIA High School, but he spent the months of his holiday working at the dorm construction site as a porter. The work was hard. A porter holds an entry-level position at the construction site and amongst other tasks spends most of the day mixing cement by hand and carrying heavy loads of it to bricklayers. The job is demanding and as porter Damien was paid about $3.00 a week. Cosmas, the head engineer of the dormitory project, offered the porter positions first to the older boys at WCIA. Six students accepted the position, but by the end of the project, only Damien and Joseph (also a first year student at WCIA High School) remained.  The two boys continued to work hard until the very last day of building, even as their peers chose to quit and spend at least part of the holiday relaxing.

Once the dorms were completed, Damien had made over 100,000 Ugandan Shillings, a huge amount for a student. He worked extremely hard for the money and could have chosen to spend it on himself, but Damien is the main provider for himself and his three younger siblings and he used the money he earned to pay for school and boarding supplies for his family.

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Damien has been responsible for his family for many years. In 2001, when the family first became connected with Come, Let’s Dance, Damien, his sister Noeline, and their two younger brothers Paul and Kana were living in the Katanga Slum with their mother Rose, but it was Damien who was most often caring for and protecting his younger siblings. Two years ago Rose died, and since then Damien, still a teenager himself, has done everything in his power to fulfill the needs for his family while still succeeding in school.

Damien is a gifted dancer, a leader in his school, and an extremely hard worker. He is a cunning card player, a resilient goalkeeper on the soccer pitch, and captain of the school's performance squad. Above all, Damien is loving brother, a responsible student, and on his way to being a very good man. The Child Scholarship Program comes alongside Damien and helps to continue to empower him and helps provide the family with opportunity and education. Thank you for providing a "hand-up" to Damien and his siblings! Click here to sign up for the CLD Fund!

MEET JACKSON!

In September of 2015, Come, Let's Dance transitioned from a child sponsorship program to the Child Scholarship Fund. Partners within the Child Scholarship Fund no longer sponsor one child, but instead support both Wakiso Christian International Academy and Wakiso Christian International High School. The fund contributes to every aspect of education at the two schools; it provides families struggling to pay their child’s school fees with a hand-up not a handout, it allows teachers to receive training that translates into excellence within the classroom, it pays for a high standard of medical care, and so much more. 

The money you donate each month transforms the lives of individuals and we want you to know the faces and hear the stories of those you are helping. Jackson Onyango is one of those individuals.      

Jackson Onyango enrolled at WCIA last year as a grade three student after his family moved into the community near the school from their village near the Nile River. Immediately, Jackson stood out with his friendly disposition, mischievous smile, and intelligence.

At the end of his first term at WCIA Jackson was ranked 14th out of 20 students in his class. This was not a standing that Jackson was content with and he vowed to do better. Jackson began to focus in the classroom more and started completing his homework, which resulted in him being recognized twice by his teachers as a "Star of the Week." At the end of the second term this hard work paid off and he moved up seven standings to be ranked number seven in his class. Continuing to improve,  Jackson ended the third term ranked as number two in his class and scored above average on his national exams! When asked about his academic improvement Jackson credits three things; his teacher Miss Ruth, completing all his homework, and reading books, including  The Hobbit, which he read with his best friend Nissi. 

During his third term at WCIA Jackson became very ill one weekend. His father took him to a hospital in Kampala where, without testing, he was diagnosed with malaria. His family paid the hospital to treat Jackson with IV fluids and quinine and after receiving the treatment Jackson returned home, but his condition continued to deteriorate. When Jackson tried to return to school Nurse Gladys noticed his condition and contacted his parents. They told her of his diagnosis, but agreed for Jackson to be tested for malaria and typhoid at the school clinic- two of the services that are free for WCIA students thanks, in part, to the Child Scholarship Fund. The clinic lab technician discovered that Jackson did not have malaria, but was instead suffering from a worsening case of typhoid.  Nurse Gladys and her team were able to treat Jackson and within the week he was back to playing with his friends. 

Jackson and his brother Joshua on Holiday.

Jackson and his brother Joshua on Holiday.

Currently, Jackson is enjoying his last week of holiday vacation before school resumes on February 22. Jackson and his older brother Joshua live very close to the new CLD Basecamp and both have welcomed CLD to the neighborhood through weekly soccer matches, and daily directions and introductions. While holiday break is fun, especially when your big brother teaches you how to make cars out of old shoes and sticks, Jackson is looking forward to starting grade four at WCIA. This year when he returns, he will not be the only one in his family at WCIA. After Jackson's success at WCIA his parents have decided to enroll his three younger siblings at the school as well. 

Through the Child Scholarship Program, students like Jackson receive support in their various needs and interests. The Child Scholarship Program provides Jackson and his friends with new novels in the library to build their vocabularies and imaginations. It provides teachers with training, that results in many students making large academic gains like Jackson did in his first year. The Child Scholarship Fund allows for medical testing that decrease misdiagnosis and speeds up the treatment and healing processes and so much more. This Fund is diverse, because our students and staff members are diverse.

 Thank you for contributing to the Child Scholarship Fund and please feel free to share Jackson's story with others. You can visit www.cldfund.org for more information!

Jackson during his second term at WCIA.

Jackson during his second term at WCIA.