I just returned home from three weeks in the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda. One of the most touching and instructive moments came when I was given a letter from Elifaz Balungi, a student at the community high school that Kulanu created and supports. It read:
We humbly send our…gratitude to the donors and well-wishers of Semei Kakungulu High School for sacrificing and standing by the students…The (food Kulanu pays for) has many useful impacts. Academically, students have improved as they only (used to) concentrate on thinking about what to eat. It has improved the health of the students as they (now) have a balanced diet. It has also helped the parents to send the students to school without worries. It helps the school and the students not to…dodge classes, especially in the afternoon session, as they get assured of breakfast and lunch. The (food) service makes students be punctual, as they don’t (have to) travel long distances to search for what to eat….On behalf of the other students, we request the service to continue. (It) is highly appreciated by the students, the school, and the parents.
As I read the letter, I thought proudly of all that Kulanu has accomplished and all that remains to be done. Imagine that until recently students were late for their afternoon classes because they had to search for food at lunchtime! We never want that to happen again. As the Abayudaya elementary and high schools gain in reputation and as more students pass their national examinations, enrollment is increasing each semester, now up to 730. Finding money to pay for simple breakfasts and lunches is a continual challenge, one that our donors have responded to with generosity in the past.
We are asking you, for funds to continue our highly successful school nutrition program. The benefits were corroborated by Naume Sabano, coordinator of the school’s feeding program, who reported that absenteeism and dropout rates have been dramatically reduced since we introduced the feeding program in the school, and that concentration, mental health, and discipline have improved “tremendously.”
Whatever amount you can donate for school nutrition will be, as Elifaz wrote, “highly appreciated.” $106 feeds all the high school students for one day – $36 for breakfast, $70 for lunch. For those who can afford a larger gift, we have a special request. The Estelle Friedman Gervis Family Foundation has once again come to our aid by offering a $10,000 challenge grant for new or increased contributions between $500 and $1200. We aspire to meet that challenge, which would go a long way toward the $30,000 a year needed to feed all the students. But, again, every donation counts and will help us continue to feed the Abayudaya students and their Christian and Muslim classmates.
To donate to the nutrition program, write “Uganda nutrition” in the memo field of your check, payable to Kulanu in US dollars, and mail it to me at 165 West End Ave, 3R, New York, NY 10023 – or donate online at www.kulanu.org/donate – and be sure to write “Uganda nutrition” in the comments field.
It would be wonderful if you used your social networking connections such as email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs to spread the word about this appeal. Go to http://kulanu.org/getinvolved/fundraising_tips.php for sample messages.
Here’s a “tweet-length” message you can use on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter:
Help Kulanu feed hungry Jewish, Muslim & Christian kids at Abayudaya Schools in Uganda! http://tinyurl.com/feedUgandakids
Thank you so much.
Harriet Bograd, President