Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Focus on Change

Sitting in a Starbucks, sipping her iced latte, Jessie had no idea she'd be traveling to Uganda in less than a year. As I shared with her the vision of Fount of Mercy, it was exciting to watch as she captured the heart behind our work. As we discussed how she could partner alongside what was already taking place, I mentioned her photography. Jessie is a gifted photographer with a creative eye and a unique perspective.

As we wondered where she would fit, it became clear she could use her talent in photography. Partnering with our Focus on Change project this January 2011, Jessie taught a photography class for disabled orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda. Writing on her teams blog, Jessie shared, "The point is to be emptied of self, filled with love, and poured out so these kids know they are valuable and have purpose."

From Starbucks to Uganda... this is the story of one volunteer using her life to breathe life into others.

- Rebecca Brown, Fount's Director of Communication

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Gift of Literacy

Hesitantly, she reaches for a shelf a little out of her grasp. Perhaps its the bright colors of the ream that draws her attention. Straining on her tip toes, she grabs the book and finds a seat in the corner. Slowly she examines each page, absorbing the story, the illustrations, the humor, the characters, learning empathy and storytelling. She closes the book, flips it over and starts again. Sitting in the corner of her school's brand new library in Jinja Uganda, this lone orphan girl is falling in love with reading.

We have so many books at our finger tips. Orphaned and vulnerable children do not. The gift of literacy is powerful!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Girls Camp

The vision of Girls Camp is to develop a generation of girls who are equipped with factual information and are acting as change agents for their community. During the summer of 2010, Fount's Community Health Initiative hosted a pilot Girls Camp and asked the girls, ages 9 to 30, to anonymously submit questions about puberty, family planning and cultural perceptions of the subject. CHI would like to share a handful of their questions with you.

As you will see from their questions, public health is a topic lacking in correct information, leading to a dangerous cycle of misinformation and myths that can be harmful to their lives.

One question that was asked is, "Is the use of birth control harmful to our lives?"

This was an interesting question because birth control in the form of contraceptives is rarely available in Uganda. The most accessible forms are condoms and natural family planning such as the Standard Days Method in which you count the days of your cycle to be able to predict your most fertile days and avoid having sex during that time.

In knowing how to prevent early pregnancy, young girls and women are able to focus on education and skills training so that they have more control over their lives. This gives them the opportunity to obtain skills that will generate an income, give them independence and empowers them to live the life they choose.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tausi: a seamstress, a leader, a mother...

Tausi caught my attention the very first day I met her....and it wasn't just her bright red head wrap. When all the other women were choosing "inspiration" pictures of landscapes, women holding babies, and flowers, she chose an Andy Warhol painting of Elvis. She liked his red shirt.

Her life has included much more difficult choices than choosing her inspiration. As a widow with 9 children, Tausi could no longer afford to keep all of her children at home. Circumstantially, she was forced to send two of her children to live in a local orphanage. One of the hardest decisions of her life.

Fortunately Tausi wasn't alone. Weekly she attended a sewing class where she received support from other women in similar circumstances as herself. At the suggestion of her teacher, Tausi started to make girls dresses out of second-hand mens' shirts, and in time was able to go in with a friend to buy a sewing machine of their own. It took her a little over a year, but Tausi was finally able to bring her two children home to live where they belong...with her.