Newsletter – October 2020

Dear well-wisher,

These are difficult times. We are in the midst of a pandemic. The coronavirus has brought hardship and suffering all over the world. But in developing countries, and especially among the poor, the impact has been far more pronounced, worsened by lack of medical care and social support programs.

During the pandemic, our work continues.

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We are grateful to you for your continued support of OKAS Fund. It is because of your support that we have been able to continue our scholarship program and other projects at our beloved school, Old Kampala Senior Secondary School (OKSSS).

Your contribution, however small, makes a big difference in the lives of our sponsored students.

Success Stories

In this issue, just like the last one, we would like to share with you some of the success stories from students that we have sponsored. All the testimonials are from the students themselves; however, we have done some editing to shorten their sometimes-lengthy narratives.  

You will see there is a common strand among all these students we are sponsoring. First, they are all needy. Secondly, they are academically smart. And lastly (especially important): having been helped, they are all too eager to help others in need! Which is of course reassuring to all of us at OKAS Fund.

All these success stories have been made possible through the joint efforts of our donors.

Nakalema Annet

School was no where to be seen if it were not for OKAS FUND . . . I got a firm foundation leading me to complete my education (O & A level). . . because of them I am who I am today & what I have achieved. Through their golden heart, I managed to go further and graduate in fashion & designing /embroidery 2018, carried on my talent since high school, of dance and drama. . . became a professional dancer & an actress at UNCC (Uganda National Culture Center). . . looking forward to go on with studies (UNIVERSITY) if given a chance. 

I call myself lucky for having passed & mentored through your hands (OKAS FUND) thus inheriting the kind heart in becoming a member of an organization entitled "FIGHT TUBERCULOSIS" in the world. Let me take this opportunity to thank you (OKAS FUND).

Kyabaggu Christopher

I am 20 years old. I never thought I would accomplish my education dreams and be successful in my life. Problems are blessings in disguise because this can bring the best person in you. 2015 was a great turning moment for me in my life, I lost my dad who was my main financial supporter for my education. . . A friend of mine Juma, who was by then a beneficiary of OKASFund unveiled to me some facts about this organization, and this opened my mind. I befriended other OKASFund beneficiaries, then I got to know the organization do’s and don’ts. . . .  At the start of 2017 I received a confirmation letter as a beneficiary of OKASFund, I was so grateful to obtain this scholarship . . .

Financial hardships in my life were reduced. Because of my great performance in the national finals of High school in 2018, I obtained a government sponsorship to study at the university, were I am now doing bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery at Makerere university . . .

I am looking forward to accomplishing my target of helping people in our community health wise and inspiring them to have a healthy life. Due to closure of schools in this Covid19 crisis, I decided not to sit at home, I am now practicing my skills in carpentry and I enjoy it, as am anxiously waiting to resume schooling. Lastly, I thank all the people engaged in making my success in education come true, especially the OKASFund. I appreciate your efforts, and may God reward you more to bring up other needy students to reach their dreams.

Nakuya Lillian

I was born and raised in Kawempe. I learned to be patient when I helped my grandmother walk around the house when she was confined to her chair the whole day. During high school I volunteered at my local church where I taught younger children.

I joined OKSSS in 2011 . . . My dad was among the non-staff members acting as a chef and since we were three siblings paying school dues became a challenge. We had lost our beloved mum when I was 2 years old. But by God’s mercy I managed to go through all challenges and difficulties. In senior four (UCE Level) in 2014, I was asked to fill a scholarship form from OKAS Fund. This was my salvation and I was able to join High school (Advanced level – UACE). I completed PEM/ICT (Physics, Economics, Math/ICT).

Then I qualified to join Higher Institution of learning at YMCA Comprehensive institute pursuing a certificate in Tourism and Travel. Currently am in my last Semester. My next goal is to pursue a diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management. I owe my success to my parents, siblings outstanding teachers and OKAS Fund. I vow that as I move forward in my life and career, I will do whatever I can to help other students in need to reach their potential as well.

Muzuula Akisam

I was born in a family of five children . . . I grew up in a humble and down-to-earth family, where my father was the only sole provider. At the age of eleven years I completed my primary education, and this was in 2011. At that time, my father was already straining with financing . . . my secondary school education was threatened.

The first year of my secondary school was in high gear and I enjoyed every bit of it, but little did I know that dark days are yet to unveil. Things began turning upside down in my senior two, at this time my father stopped working in the main city of Kampala . . . School fees also became an issue and finishing senior two was really on a thin line. At this time, I would attend classes only twice a week because I was quite often sent back home for school fees. After completing the last term and being promoted to senior three, I thought that it was the end of it all because my father could not push me further . . .

Given the fact that I was one of the bright students in my class, a lot of concern and attention was drawn to my continued absenteeism from school. This attention intensified when I missed out the second term of my senior three and it is at this time when the concerned friends rose up to my rescue. After one and half month at home I received good news from one of my classmates that they had collected money from themselves to give a hand as a friendly contribution to my school fees. This effort was spear-headed by my class teacher Ms. Nakabugo Regina. She later introduced me to Ms. Cathy, coordinator for OKAS Fund. Through her I met Mr. Patel, who undertook to finance my education . . . I can’t explain the feeling in me at that particular moment, all I could say was, thank you God.

From that time, the OKASFUND scholarship saw me through ordinary level and high school education at OKSSS and I am proud to be one of the pioneer beneficiaries of the

OKAS Fund scholarship. Although this scholarship stopped after my senior six, I am now at university because of its efforts and I am grateful for this opportunity. . . Today I am at Gulu College of Health Science pursuing a Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Community Health on government sponsorship. I am also helping at an NGO as a clinical officer and I do this especially when I am on school holidays.

How Your Donations Were Spent

Donation from Bakuli Reunion Committee

We are pleased to report that the Bakuli Reunion Committee (from England) has once again made a generous contribution to our cause. This time they donated 1075.00 GBP.

We would like to thank Reg Da Cunha, Tony Lobo, Theo Pinto, Agnes Rato and the rest of the organizing committee for always thinking of us when they have funds to donate.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘like a lamp shines a good deed in this world…’

 Our board would like to extend our best wishes to all involved with the Bakuli Reunion Committee, and though the organization has now been dissolved we hope they will continue to support OKAS Fund in the future

COVID-19 Help to Non-Teaching Staff

The pandemic has been especially unkind to some of our school’s non-teaching staff such as gardeners, chefs, maintenance workers and security guards. These workers have not been paid since May 2020 and many of them were on the verge of starvation. Fortunately, the local alumni students (OKOSA) stepped up and collected funds, about 600 GBP, to provide basic rations like beans, maize, and flour, for a few weeks.

Thereafter, two of our OKAS Fund well-wishers (who wish to remain anonymous, very noble of them) came forward and provided a few hundred more GBP to support these needy and helpless families for a few more weeks.

As you can see, these workers are in a dire situation, and need more help to feed their families from week to week.

The mandate of OKAS Fund does not allow for these kinds of expenditures - our task is strictly to help needy students. So if any of our readers want to donate funds specifically for helping these non-teaching staff, please contact our President, Arun Patel, at arunpatel3@gmail.com.

Please note, this is NOT an OKAS Fund initiative, but we thought you might be interested . . .

In the picture below, rations are being handed out, by Cathy Bisereko, our coordinator.

Here is bit of nostalgia. By and large, our school grounds have remained intact. However, in the long run, change is inevitable.

We have learned that a wall has been erected, for security reasons, along the side of the school compound facing Fort Road. It starts from the top, next to the science labs and ends at the front of the football field.     

Many of you probably know that with the recent introduction of EU’s GDPR, consent is required before anyone is sent any form of mass communication. This applies to charities as well. If you know of anyone who might be interested in our newsletters and other communications, please ask them to sign up at the following link, where they will provide GDPR consent:
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Appeal to Our Donors

At OKAS Fund we believe education is the best way to alleviate poverty. More than 30 poor but academically capable students of OKSSS need a scholarship every year. OKAS Fund can only support 8 such students every year.

It costs on average £640 per year to help one student pay for the fees and scholastic materials. OKAS Fund is targeting 22 needy students, therefore needs £14,080 in 2021 to help these students.

OKAS Fund has zero administration costs, so every penny of your donation goes directly towards helping our school.

We humbly appeal to you for your much-needed financial support.

If you wish to donate to OKAS Fund, please click on the button below go to our donate page

Canadian donors, please visit: https://health-education.ca/ to get an official charitable donation receipt. After clicking on the ‘donate’ button, select ‘Old Kampala’ from the drop-down menu.    

“Drop by drop a lake is filled; pebble by pebble a dam is built” - Indian Proverb

Compiled by Dinesh Dattani, Trustee, OKAS Fund

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