Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Network for Good. You can give a one time end of year gift via Network for Good, Paypal or through our paper bead necklace or charcoal sketch thank you gift campaigns. Thank you for being a part of Fount of Mercy's work in Uganda! www.fountofmercy.org
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Lately, you may have seen paper bead jewelry popping up in various places around the Internet or even in boutiques. But, have you ever seen how they are made? We asked Sarah Nalongo, one of our longtime sewing teachers, to show us the process. Step 1: Measure Colored paper, usually made of a heavier weight like poster board or magazine pages, is measured and drawn so that one end starts at the finished length of the bead and then tapers down to nothing. Step 2: Cut The strips of paper are then carefully cut out. Step 3: Roll Sarah takes the strip and begins from the fat end, rolling it as tightly as possible, leaving a small hole in the center. When she gets to the tapered end, it is secured on the bead with a small amount of glue. Step 4: Admire Here is a bead that has been rolled and glued. Step 5: Varnish Next, the beads are strung on fishing line and dipped into varnish to give them a strong and shiny protective finish. Step 6: Dry The beads are hung until they are completely dry. Step 7: Design and String The beads are now ready to string with other combinations of beads to create beautiful pieces of wearable art. The possibilities are endless! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Friday, May 25, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
Last year, Jeremy Byrnes traveled with Fount of Mercy and worked with one of our Ugandan organizations, HODASSU, working with the blind and deaf. Below is a bit from him about his experience.
"Wow, I can't believe it's actually already been over a year since the trip to Uganda. Not a day has passed where I haven't seen pictures or thought about the people and the kids there. It was most definitely the most amazing trip of my life.
While I was serving with Fount of Mercy, my job was to teach sports to the blind and deaf. Sounds like a challenge to most, but to me... it was an experience of a lifetime! It was the most fun thing I have ever done! My job was teaching sports, but in the end, I became a student and really got to learn so much about these kids and the struggles they face every day. I came away from the trip with a much better understanding of what goes on in Africa for those that are blind and deaf.
At first, I struggled with how teaching sports was going to help these kids in their lives, as compared to the education and vocational training our team was also providing. But, the day I taught kickball was one I will never forget. Teaching the blind and deaf to play kickball is no easy task, but the kids were just as excited as I was to play. They had so much fun and with just a simple game they were able to master, they found reason to keep moving forward and to know that no matter what is before them, they can accomplish anything.
I am so blessed to have been able to go to Uganda and meet such amazing kids and people who work with them. I am so ready to go back and when I am able to get the time to go back I would love to go. My perspective was greatly changed, not only on how I saw the world, but on how I saw my own life. Probably my favorite memory was playing with Zane and just earning his trust and playing soccer with him, or running around with all the kids, or twirling them up over my head, or even the relays, and soccer and football. It was so much fun! I hope and pray that all of the kids that I was able to meet are doing well.
Jeremy E. Byrnes
Friday, March 30, 2012
Uganda has stolen my heart, again.
When I talked to Tara Hawks about what I could do with Fount of Mercy upon my return to Uganda we both decided that an Art Camp would be a cool thing to do. I have a background in dance and theatre, and I also absolutely love working with children, so we decided to give it a try. I have to admit that I was pretty nervous going into it.
I was there for a month and had 3 different groups of children. The first 2 groups were kids from villages that ranged from about 5 to 12 years old. The last week of camp I had a group of deaf kids that were 16 to 22 years old.
At camp we talked about shapes, the kids did self-portraits (that were awesome), they painted with watercolors, played musical chairs, learned 2 choreographed dances, did a lot of silly, fun, creative dances with brightly colored scarves, played human tug of war, played with a parachute, sang songs, had sack races...and ate lots of bananas. It was chaotic and fun. Sometimes we lost electricity and I was unable to use my music and stick to my plan...so we improvised...and I think the kids had an even better time when we did that.
Children in Uganda that are fortunate enough to go to school work really hard. They are in school much longer than American kids. They don't have recess or gym class. They don't have art class or fun electives. They are not really encouraged to think critically or creatively. It was usually on the second day of camp that I saw the children start to open up and really start to be free with their own creativity. Once they were comfortable, it flowed out of them. It was amazing to see. They just needed a little push.
I love how art has its own language. It didn't matter that some of the children were deaf. Or that some of the children spoke only Lusoga. We could all communicate when we were dancing and painting. Art was the bridge that connected us all.
On the last day of camp a nine year old girl named Glorio hugged me and said,
"This has been my pleasure."
My eyes filled with tears, because she'll never know that really...the pleasure was all mine.
Written by: Liza Morgan
Monday, March 19, 2012
Back in November, you may remember that we introduced you to one of our interns Katie Korpi. This week, Katie has written a lovely paragraph about the work she did while in Uganda.
"My name is Katie Korpi and I was lucky enough to intern with Fount of Mercy this past year. I researched and developed The Pad Project, which examines the demand for feminine hygiene and what the best culturally feasible solution is. This project was developed from the Community Health Initiative, which Fount had already set into motion to teach adolescent girls about different health topics, including menstruation. Through extensive research, I quickly came to realize that investment in girls and women can have a major impact on economic growth and the health and well-being of communities. By distributing a product to give girls and women a chance at opportunity, I truly believe that this investment can make a significant difference for families and communities in Uganda. Fount has an amazing network of employees and supporters with a common goal and I am so thankful to be able to channel some of my conviction and try my best to help nurture rural adolescent girls so that they can transform their homes, communities, and countries. "
Thanks so much for your incredible work Katie... we value the effort you put in to your time in Uganda and look forward to the important work you'll continue to do with Fount of Mercy!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
One of the biggest differences you'll come across when working in Africa is the keeping of time. While westerners are used to going through their days structured by a series of scheduled time tables, the same cannot largely be said for our African counterparts. Time and schedules here have a much more laissez faire feel, and a laid back approach to life negates the need to rush much of anything.
The result of this is a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting.
Surely there's a reason for this seeming lack of punctuality? Of course there is! Uganda is a place where social constructs take precedence over things like appointment times and rigid schedules. This, combined with a different way of prioritizing events and people, both expected and unexpected, is what in large part makes up the inner workings of African time. Say you're on your way to an appointment and you meet a friend along the way. It would be rude and socially unacceptable to just rush past without saying hello. Therefore the necessary time needed to go through the social motions is taken, regardless of whether it will make you late for your appointment or not.
This different approach to time takes a bit of getting used to, but once understood, you'll be keeping time like an African before you know it!
Written by Sarah Pietruszka
Vocational Development Intern
Monday, March 5, 2012
Friends... please take a moment to be introduced to our friend Emolu Francis. =) Francis started working for us in November 2011 as our Educational Development Program Associate.
In a nutshell, Francis trains teachers to use the Ugandan curriculum. Generally, he trains them to be more effective in the classroom and training school management committees, made up by community members, to oversee their school. This work is important to our vision and our advancement of our Educational Development Program.
Just before Francis started working with us, he earned his grade five certification. This makes him qualified to teach secondary students as well as primary - way to go Francis! Also, a "fun fact" about Francis is that he really likes to bake and, at one point, he even held a job as a baker.
Francis is doing incredible work with us ... he is a wonderful teacher! He is passionate about education and about giving children the opportunity to learn. And for that, we are thankful for him ... and his heart.
Fount of Mercy
Monday, February 27, 2012
The below is written by Wamimbi Julius
"Hello, here is my exciting say about the Wairake business group. This is my third class to teach ever, and I am so delighted and excited to have such a wonderful, inspired, cooperative, united, focused and visionary group of people in my class.
Based on my weekly observation as the instructor, this is one of the best groups I have ever taught. There is unity and strong leadership in the members and they are all ambitious towards achieving their set goals. The class had great momentum, in that; during the class/lessons they were so lively, active and participatory. This is a sign of seriousness and of needing to learn new skills so as to improve on their individual business.
A high moment with this group was when the students were applying the skills I taught them in their individual businesses. For example, book keeping systems. That brings great joy and excitement in my heart. Since all the members asked and answered questions during the class time, it helped me as an instructor to teach the curriculum accordingly.
Witnessing the love the group members had for one another, the commitment every member gives inspires me as a teacher to deliver the services (skills) accordingly."
Blessings to all,
Vocational Development - Program Associate
Monday, February 20, 2012
We'd like to take a moment to introduce you to Julius. For those who have traveled with us, chances are you already know him well. =)
Julius is a 25 year old business major who goes to school by night and works fulltime for Fount of Mercy during the day. He has known about us and has worked for us in various capacities since 2006. He has worked with us in areas of translating, teaching, running errands, etc. He lives with a younger brother and sister, whom he has essentially raised.
Julius is our Program Associate for the Vocational Development Program. He does all sorts of various things, including keeping track of money spreadsheets, writing reports, running errands, getting money quotes, researching resources, teaching business classes, and following up with our groups as they progress in their vocations and small businesses. He has officially been a part of Fount of Mercy's staff since April 2011. And... we are so pleased with his hard work.
Outside of Fount, Julius has many side projects...including a chicken rearing business and a soda/juice stand. He is a sharp dresser and refuses to get dirty, even when playing with a bunch of kids! He is a little mysterious and is constantly telling us new things about his life that we didn't know before.
We are so thankful for Julius because he will take over the Ugandan side of the Vocational Program once Tara (FOM's Vocational Development Director) heads back to the USA this spring. He is an amazing teacher and is GREAT with people. We are seeing his gifts being used in the ways of guiding groups effectively and setting good expectations with them. He is quickly becoming indispensable to us for these reasons. And for these reasons, we say a great big THANK YOU.
Fount of Mercy
Monday, February 13, 2012
We've been working hard on developing the beginning sewing curriculum and are almost ready to start training our teachers! It makes us very happy to announce that Nalongo Sarah, our star tailor, has agreed to teach these classes. With the experience Sarah has from teaching individuals on her own time, combined with a collection of detailed lesson plans, students of this class are sure to be well equipped to begin simple businesses of their own upon completion. If all goes as planned, we should be ready to start teaching our first group as soon as late February/ early March!
The purpose behind offering a beginning sewing class is to provide community members with yet another means in which they can generate an income and enrich the lives of their families and communities. Before taking part in a specialized skill program such as the beginning sewing class, group members must first complete our Basic Business Class, from which they will learn how to run and manage a business. Once instilled with these skills the possibilities of success and growth are endless. It is our hope that the students taking these classes will take away not only the skills taught but a sense of drive, determination, and action needed to turn their business dreams into reality.
Written by Sarah Pietruszka
Vocational Development Intern with Fount of Mercy
Monday, February 6, 2012
For those of you who don't remember, Fount of Mercy began working with HODASSU in 2011. HODASSU is a Ugandan organization that reaches out to deaf, blind, and disabled children and their caregivers. Here are some stories about a couple of our volunteers that have worked with HODASSU.
Carly is a music teacher in New York City. While traveling with Fount of Mercy, Carly worked with HODASSU's deaf students, teaching them music, rhythm and voice. In Carly's words,
"When I raise my hands above my head to clap, they hoot and holler, releasing squeaks and screams of suppressed excitement. This is wonderful because it tells me two things: the first is that they are both excited and able to make sound, and the second, by the extreme force of their sounds, I can tell this is something that they don't do often. How exciting for us to begin voice work!"
Becky is a high school basketball coach. While volunteering with Fount of Mercy, Becky led PE activities for HODASSU's deaf and blind students. Since these students often do not receive extracurricular activities, PE was a big treat! Becky was so moved by her time with HODASSU's blind students that she wrote this beautiful poem:
"The beauty you cannot see
I see very clearly in you
While your eyes may not focus
The picture I view is more true
What matters in this world
Is not defined by one's sight
But whether or not one has vision
That centers on what is right
Your vision sees no color
Does not distinguish between age
Gives no regard to one's size
For my looks you can't gauge
It simply because I am
That you smile at me
Standing there beside you
All I have to do is be."
Thank you to all our amazing volunteers for your outstanding work!
With thanks - Fount of Mercy
Monday, January 30, 2012
Hi all! I want to invite you to travel with us to Uganda this summer 2012... so, who's in? C'mon... you know you want to go... Uganda is calling your name. =) Ha!
Truly... to those of you who are thinking, considering, or contemplating traveling with us... now's the time to make a decision! =)
Let me share a little story with you...
About a year ago, I decided to take my husband, mother-in-law, and a few friends with me on a two-week trip to Jinja. Not only did I want to be in Uganda working hands-on with our grassroots organizations, but I wanted my family and friends to experience the joy in my work too. So, I dragged them along. =) And they did GREAT WORK! I was so thankful for their eager attitudes and willing service and how they gave 100% to the work FOM is doing in Uganda. That was a trip that I will treasure forever because of the beauty of getting to experience it with family and friends.
So much of my work with Fount of Mercy falls on the "stateside" side of things... managing communication, logistics, work proposals, etc. It's such a gift when I get to actually travel and be a part of the "hands-on" work in Uganda. Not that I don't absolutely LOVE the work I get to do here. =) But, I do want to encourage you to travel with us... and to bring your friends! =)
For those of you who have the time... go.
Take 2 weeks and travel to Jinja and do something new... something life-changing for you... and for those we work with.
Thanks in advance... =)
Director of Communications
Fount of Mercy
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
For those of you unaware, Michelle is part of the heartbeat behind FOM and it's vision. In truth, she began FOM and has carried it to it's current place with passion and incredible leadership. Below is just a whisper of the many things she does for FOM; however, it is important for us to highlight those who invest in our work and keep it moving. And, she is a BIG piece of the movement.
"I started Fount of Mercy close to 6 years ago. Wow, time goes by so fast! The journey of acting as Fount of Mercy's administrator has been an honor filled with learning curves, lessons learned and so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. I am privileged to work with an amazing staff and board who truly own the mission of Fount and keep the wheels of Fount not only spinning but focused, intentional and inventive. Most of my time with Fount is spent working on maintaining our non-profit status, keeping Fount in financial compliance, overseeing program equivalencies, developing our board, fundraising and casting vision for the educational development program. My goal is to wear my many "hats" gracefully.
Executive Director and Interim Director of Educational Development
Monday, January 16, 2012
Last January, Fount of Mercy's Community Health Initiative (CHI) launched its pilot program for "Girls Camp." Girls Camp is a two-day course where local girls, ages 9-31, come to learn about all things female.
In Ugandan culture, it is taboo to speak about such topics cross-generationally, leaving young girls to rely on peers for important information. As one would imagine, this information is often times inaccurate and even dangerous. The pilot program was very successful, reaching around 100 girls with empowering information.
This May, I plan to arrive in Uganda for an 8 month stay furthering the work that has been started. This will require a significant amount of fundraising. Our goal is $17,000 in total. We are very excited to see this program reach its full potential, empowering young women with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and improve their quality of life. The main program work I'll be focusing on will be Girls Camp, women's health, community health and teaching through drama skits.
Written by Vanessa Crowley
Fount of Mercy's Community Health Initiative Director
Monday, January 9, 2012
For the past two and half years I have made my home in Jinja, Uganda. My primary role is to function as Fount of Mercy's Lead Administrator in Uganda. I maintain our foreign NGO status in Uganda, our bank account, Ugandan board meetings, and relationships with the local organizations that we work with. I also oversee the grants that we give to organizations to ensure accountability as well as supervise Fount of Mercy workers and volunteers while in Uganda. Most of my job is related to the details of operating a foreign NGO.
I am so blessed have such a wonderful group of people working with me in Uganda. Currently, our in-country team includes our Vocational Training Director, Tara, her very helpful husband, Grace, two Ugandan staff members, one long-term intern, and me. =) In 2012, we will be adding at least two new long-term volunteers. We are so grateful for our staff and volunteers. These added hands have GREATLY increased the amount of work we have been able to do, and is one of the main reasons we are speeding along as we have been.
Written by Lori Acton
Fount of Mercy's International Development Director