Before I get to the bit that “isn’t easy”, I want to start by saying firstly a massive thank you to you for your continued support of One Cause!! It is hugely appreciated! Without your support we would not be able to help those in need and deliver on getting them out of poverty!
Secondly, I want to say we are back!! It has been a while since we have had our newsletters, but due to popular demand I am glad to say we will be writing a quarterly update to our donors, followers and supporters where we aim to not only update you on our progress, but hopefully inspire you In different ways.
I would love to say it is my writing that might do that! 😊 – however, what has inspired me over the many years in One Cause, is seeing some of individual personal stories of our students – seeing their resilience, their commitment and their success to overcome poverty and be able to not only then provide for their family but their community too.
We want to ensure each quarter we can share some of what inspires us with you and for you to see what your commitment to One Cause Is allowing us to achieve – so please do keep a look out.
But to the main point – it hasn’t been easy!
COVID has had it’s impact on our schools and so it’s been tough!
Though this is meant to be a Q1 update, I want to talk about the challenges faced when we are talking about education for those communities who struggle in poverty in these times – as we have had to adapt.
I think if you are a parent, we can all appreciate how tough it was when schools closed. I know I definitely appreciated the time with my children, but I definitely struggled and am sure there are many parents reading this who did too. However, this is even tougher in the communities we work with and brings its own challenges as:
…the majority of families do not having internet access at home – virtual classes is not an option in most cases and so how do they get an education?
…the school was a valued source of food and water for them – for some it is there only source of food and water. So where will their next meal will come from?
…the families in these communities consider sending their young children to work instead of getting an education – they are already struggling financially and so where will they get financial support?
…We have traditionally relied on being able to influence the students by them being in school – this is more of a challenge when the students are at home.
With all this being the case, our approach has been to focus on how we can pivot our plans towards these challenges being faced by the students of our schools but also equally ensuring we are still pushing on our long-term projects too.
Based on this, this quarter the focus has been on:
Food provision for students during school closure – Though our aim is to arm our students with the skills they need to be able to help them in the battle against poverty, we felt it was vital to support our students whilst the school was closed as they often relied on the meal they received when they attended school. In addition, we wanted to provide support from the school to ensure they are encouraged still to come back when schools did re-open. So One Cause provided a cash amount sent to each student’s home in the name of the school to help them with a daily meal to cover for 2 months.
Distributing books to students to allow them to study at home – In India, primary and high school students collected books from the school, allowing the ability for them to study at home and if they had phone access the ability to call in for classes. With many in the communities lacking internet access, this was a key route to ensure students could still learn. Electricity access to Auro for better qualifications and experience – Whilst the school was closed in Uganda, we ensured the installation of an electrical grid to support the school’s basic electrical needs but more importantly supporting the use of electrical machines which are used to train the students on practical skills. The ability to use and train on higher-quality machines allows our students to gain additional qualifications/experience getting them improved jobs post-graduation. However, this was not only a benefit to the school but the local community as well – this is now the village’s first electrical grid!
Development of new courses to meet demand and attract more females to education – In Uganda, an assessment was carried out on the type of employment and skills required in nearby towns to ensure we provide the right skills to our students. We also spoke to students and people locally whilst we were in Uganda to understand what skills they would be interested to learn. One skill that came up high on the list was hair dressing. This was especially in demand from females in the community as it gave them an opportunity to do this from home. We have traditionally struggled to encourage female students to attend the school, but this felt like a huge opportunity to change that. So in January 2021, One Cause sponsored a hair-dressing course, which not only adds more options in terms of in-demand skills to those attending the school but also will attract a lot more females to the school too.
Month’s internship for practical experience and employment opportunities– In Uganda, 45 students were sent on a month’s internship to experience practical working life. This not only is valuable learning, but is also an opportunity to impress employers who can offer employment should they pass their nationally accredited exams. In the past, this has been very useful in getting our students employment after their education.
Setting up for safe student return and ensure COVID procedures were in place – The great news is the students have now returned back to school in Uganda. However the schools needed to ensure all the right procedures were put into place to ensure confidence and safety of the community. The students were definitely happy to be back after such a long gap though in a slightly different environment.
Kishan, our chairman, joins the board of trustees at Nirvana School in India – We are helping Nirvana school transition to a new organizational structure and ways of working. As part of this Kishan has joined the board of trustees at Nirvana which allows even more significant involvement in terms of improvements at the school. We believe this will be hugely helpful in the long term.
Though it’s tough, we are proud of the work we are doing – Some inspiration from one of our students…
Ochwo Patrick was one of our top carpentry and joinery student at Auro School in Uganda. He graduated from Auro and received the One Cause – Auro Carpentry and Joinery kit on graduation.
With this he opened up his own workshop in Kidera and managed to get local contracts to make solid wood chairs which has helped him to support himself and his family. He has been so successful, he has now also employed 2 other Auro students to work for him!
What I love about this story is not only has he learnt skills that has allowed him to support himself but he is actually giving back to the community too. The approach of providing an education and skills can very much a butterfly effect on the community later down the line and help a community come out of poverty.
We hope this continues and wish Ochwo Patrick the best for his continued journey! 😊
You can help – the marathon is back! Though there are other ways…
The 2021 London marathon is back on 3rd October and we have spaces to run for One Cause. This is truly epic and an amazing challenge that should be on your bucket list if you have not done it. The spots we have our limited and usually they are very hard to come by – so if you are interested click the link below to find out more and sign up:
If the marathon isn’t your thing – there are still many ways to help from sponsoring a student to matched giving. Have a look here:
Any support you can give, especially during these tough times is very much appreciated!
Thank you for reading and here’s something to take with you for next time…
“BE LIKE A FLOWER, SURVIVE THE RAIN BUT USE IT TO GROW” Y TIWARI
This inspirational quote is a little gift before I leave you and I hope you enjoy. It is one that definitely rings true when I think about the challenges we have faced at One Cause but we just have to remember change is a constant and we need to just learn to adapt! 😊
Again, thank you for your continued support of us as a charity and the impact you are making. We hope you have enjoyed this newsletter and definitely do encourage you to share your thoughts and any questions you may have with us.
Either way we hope to share more news and inspiration in July! Au revoir till then!