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Message From Our BOD President Julie King

Dear Into Your Hands Friends,

I want to introduce you to my new friend Benna. I met Benna on my trip to Uganda last month. She rode up to our Women’s entrepreneurship group on her motorcycle. I was immediately captivated by her smile, and the bumper stickers on her bike that read: Into Your Hands. Nice marketing and we hadn’t even started the class! As Kristy and I taught an Introduction to Business class to forty or so aspiring women entrepreneurs, Benna continued to capture my attention.  She asked relevant questions during the opportunities and challenges portion of the workshop and sought to encourage her peers throughout the training.

When I asked her what business opportunity she was exploring, she explained several. She already had pigs, which started from a single pig gifted by Into Your Hands.  Now she has nine in her piggery and is considered a local consultant and role model for Into Your Hands and other organizations on pigs.  Benna also attended one of our Community Development Association workshops on drought resistant crops that helped her family with their coffee plantation. She and her husband had hired a local farmer to support them with their businesses but they want to expand. Does she grow existing businesses like pigs and coffee or does she try something new like poultry? This women’s enterprise workshop had her considering the opportunity, diversity of income versus the challenges and lack of specific poultry knowledge.

Benna was taken aback when I put my hands on her shoulders, hugged her lightly and told her she was my hero. I’m still not sure how that was translated, but she put her hands on mine, smiled and made sure I knew I was invited to visit her home.

I have to tell my friends, the people who support us; this is what happens, when we provide the resources through Into Your Hands to Ugandans like Benna.  Into Your Hands translates those resources into 350 enterprise projects like Benna’s pig and reaches over 750 community members through Community Development Groups where Benna learned about drought resistant coffee crops.

And at our annual event, we began raising money for the 53 women in this group to participate in a women’s enterprise training program beginning next year.  Maybe Benna’s local employee was the father of one our 200 students through our Hands of Hope program in 2016. The translator for Benna and I, Ronald, an Into Your Hands intern, had been one of our scholarship students when I last visited 8 years ago. I realized as I waved Benna away on her motorcycle, we are all connected. I am joined with you through your interest, passion and history with Into Your Hands. We are joined with communities in Uganda, people we don’t know, haven’t met. Motorcycles with stickers on them, women expanding a pig business sponsored by one of you from one piglet into nine and changing village lives by hiring others, who then send their children to school, who then pay another teacher. And the ripples go on.

Thank you for helping us be connected and make ripples a world away. Please stay passionate and involved with our resourceful and learning communities in Uganda. It is truly miraculous what we can do together.

 

Julie

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My Trip to Uganda

In October 2016 I had the pleasure of accompanying Kristy Hitchings and Julie King from Into Your Hands-Africa on their trip to Uganda.  It was the most amazing trip I could have ever imagined!

Part of my time in Uganda was spent visiting a few of Into Your Hands-Africa’s beneficiary schools St. Denis and St. James.  It was during this time that I was introduced to a young girl named Florence.  Florence’s parents were both deceased and she was helping raise her younger brothers and sisters.  It is very difficult to stay in school when you have a family to support!

I decided then that I would sponsor Florence’s education in secondary school through the organization’s Hands of Hope scholarship program.  It is my hope that Florence will graduate and I can then sponsor her while she attends vocational school!  We also spent some time visiting the families involved in IYH’s agricultural and livestock projects.  Through the generosity of IYH and their supporters, these families are taught valuable skills and awarded an enterprise project in their choice of piglets, chickens, or coffee or mango plants. These projects allow the families to develop and sustain a business amazing!!  The families that were helped by IYH were so awesome!  They were so proud of their piglets or farms whichever they had chosen.  And they were so thankful for our visit.  One woman gave us a gift of eggs and tomatoes, even though what she gave us may have very well been the only food she had for that day!

My trip would not have been complete without the Uganda staff of IYH. Staff members, Angella,

Suss, Lydia, Annet, Justine, and Mukasa, who guided us every day as we visited the schools and families and my trip wouldn’t have been the same without them.

My trip to Uganda was so special to me.  I’ve traveled several places but never have I felt so connected to a particular land or people.  Being part of IYH, I felt part of something larger, part of a warm, supportive community.  I can’t wait to return!

Debbie Carline, Insight Trip Ambassador 2016

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Small Family Business are Where You Should Invest Your Money

The idea behind the Adopt a Family Program is to help families become self-empowered so families in turn can build on the foundation to become self-sustainable. When a family is self-empowered they can send their children to school. They can have access to clean drinking water and medical services. They can provide their children with clothing and shoes and a nutrient-rich diet.  They can be successful models to other community members to follow.

The Adopt a Family Program allows Ugandan families to not only raise their own living standards but also lift the entire community through increased financial sustainability, food security and up-to-date agricultural and livestock knowledge and programming.

Adopting a family pairs the donor directly with a family in Uganda. Financial gifts provide opportunities to acquire business and animal-husbandry training courses, veterinary services or agricultural advisement, in addition to an enterprise project in piglets/chickens, seedlings, or coffee/mango plants.

The selected Ugandan family learns how to keep business records, how to save money and set goals and how  to be a business leader and entrepreneur within his or her community.

A common phrase most heard by Into Your Hands Africa staff is that ‘you blew my mind.’  This concept that if beneficiaries are given enough training and education, it is possible for anyone to pull himself or herself up out of poverty.

The program is largely seen as an ongoing, scalable investment as it begins by supporting one family and quickly impacts another, through a pass-on process where one family gifts a piglet or chickens back to the organization for the next generation of entrepreneurs. The cycle of giving back continues. If successful, the family becomes self-sustainable, as they continue to raise their own standard of living, and by working with other community members and then also play a role in changing the community for the better.

Adopt a Family is based on one idea, that families are vital and operate by endlessly giving and contributing to one each others well being. This program, while the distance between families, is a gift from one family to another, which has a lasting effect, and a domino effect.

For instance, through the Adopt-a-Family Program, enabled Nanyondo Praxenda, to be a beneficiary of the Send-a-Chicken Home Program. She received six four-month-old chickens. Two months later,she was able to supplement her family’s diet with 90 to 120 eggs, monthly, something that added to their diet, but also added to the families income. Merely, four months after receiving her initial six chickens, Nanyondo began hatching chicks. She was able to sell chicks that she had hatched to fellow community members for 120,00 Ugandan Shillings, which is equivalent to $35, and accounts for about half of what an average monthly income in Uganda is. By also selling her eggs she was able to create a business that put her over the monthly average in Uganda and was able to pay for school tuition for all of her grandchildren. She was also able to collect 46 trays of eggs, which ultimately totaled 1,365 eggs and was also able to sell 29 of those trays that brought in an additional $128 and was still able to feed her family with the leftover eggs her chicks had produced. She has been able to create a business where she spends only a small sum of money on animal feed and all of the funds regarding her business. In a short time she has expanded her project to 18 birds. She always keeps five, so she can continue to earn residual income from the project.

This is just one example of how adopting a family impacts a whole family but also a  whole community. Through a small sum that goes to a start-up, families are impacted, education becomes a reality and community members are able to help grow their own Ugandan communities.

Josephine Bush, IYHA Communications Intern

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Life Skills Is Shifting our Transitional Educational Programs (and we’re thrilled!)

As you may already be aware, we are in the process of piloting a new Life Skills program for secondary students in an effort to help them to self-fund their own education beyond high school.  The Life Skills Program combines a customized curriculum with exposure visits, a small-scale enterprise project, and ongoing mentorship over a period of three years.

Classroom time is spent helping students understand the importance of education and offering assistance to help them grow in the areas of self-management, self-disciple and character development.  As a part of this program, they will have the opportunity to learn viable skills such as working with a team, goal setting, understanding entrepreneurship and workable business ideas, record keeping, the importance of personal savings and career guidance.

Due to a generous grant sponsored by P, B and K Family Foundation we were able to support all twenty-two senior one students at St. James Secondary School access the Life Skills program.

This in and of itself is amazing, however once we tried out the first few lessons with outstanding results including:

  • Pre and post test assessment scores showed an overall knowledge increase of 47% through the goal setting lesson. Posttest scores showed that students were able to articulate the value of setting goals, define short and long term goals, and understood the process of setting realistic and attainable goals.  Upon workshop completion 100% of students were able to articulate both personal and career goals for their future.
  • Pre and posttest assessment scores showed a significant increase in the Defining Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ideas, Skill Identification and Development Lesson. Post lesson results showed that 88% of students could articulate qualities of a successful entrepreneur and 84% could identify opportunities for income generation from local industries.  Finally, 81% could articulate the value of opening a pig rearing business as a mode of income generation.

We thought we might be onto something.

As a result, we wanted to expand the initial pilot to include senior two students at St. James Secondary School however we lacked the funding required to do so.  This is where you come in.

Due to a few special funders and your end of year gift, we were able to offer this program to all twenty-one senior two students, which mean that in less than three years, your support will have helped all of these children to dream bigger while sending them to college!  Initial feedback from this program has just begun however your impact includes:

  1. Project collaboration has been at an all-time high with school administration and parents participating in the Value of Education workshops. This NEVER happens!
  2. Similar programming has already been requested at alternative secondary schools by community leadership
  3. Six Life Skills personal and professional development lessons have already been completed
  4. 53% of participates are female
  5. Program Reach: 74 students (lesson workshops taught to all grades)

Through last year’s end of year gift, this is what you have helped to create.

This is your impact. Thank you for helping to leave a lasting imprint on Uganda.

Kristy Hitchings, Executive Director Into Your Hands Africa

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“Sometimes, the smallest decisions can change your life forever.”-Keri Russell

Every day, across the world, we all make decisions, large and small that change our lives. In 2007, I decided to accept a call, literally, from Maria Galter (Camp) to attend a meeting in her living room, and from there the genesis of Into Your Hands-Africa began.

A year later, I decided to tag along to another gathering, this time with teachers at a secondary school in Makondo, Uganda, who had an idea of funding piglets as student enterprise project start-ups.

These small decisions have changed me forever in big ways. I feel linked to the people of rural Uganda. I share their values of family, education, work ethic, learning and dreaming. I hope to share their generosity of spirit, simple joy and hopefulness. I want to work with them, to know them, to help them achieve their dreams and raise their spirits when they fall low.

Into Your Hands-Africa, its staff, board, donors, volunteers and friends are the framework that holds up and enables those lofty goals and sometimes wispy dreams of mine.

And now, I have been called to become part of that stout framework again. So, I will be joining you, friends, as President of the IYH-A Board of Directors.

Sometimes, it feels like a small decision, but I know it has the power to change me forever.

Please join me in making a small decision or contribution on behalf of Into Your Hands-Africa this year and change your life as well.

Julie King, IYH-A Board of Directors

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