Our vision is of an Africa where children have access to education, opportunity, and choice.
Mark Mene has 12 years experience providing training, fitness and lifestyle coaching for elite athletes.
As part of his fundraiing for our Zambia Bike Challenge, Mark is offering 10 FREE personal training sessions for the lucky winner of our raffle.
Entries are just £5 and you can enter quickly and securely online at http://www.justgiving.com/MARK-MENE0. The more you donate, the higher your chance of winning this fantastic prize, so please dig deep today!
Remember,everything you donate supports our vital work providing children with access to education, opportunity and choice, meaning everyone really is a winner.
Over 20 years of conflict in the Northern region of Uganda caused around 1.8 million people (80 % of the population) to flee their homes and move to Internally Displaced People's (IDP) Camps. This displacement has had huge implications for schools and education in the northern region. Many schools were left deserted and pupils crammed into 'safe schools' that were located near to IDP camps whilst others received no education at all. Although the region has remained peaceful for over 5 years now, some schools have still not moved back to their original communities despite community members returning to their villages to rebuild their livelihoods.
Since 2006, African Revival has moved 5 primary and 2 secondary schools back to their original sites. This month saw the move of Maro Awobi Primary School from Pabo, an IDP camp with a population of over 70,000, back to the school's original site in the village of Maro Awobi, 14km away.
Maro Awobi Primary School was founded by parents in 1998 and became a government school 4 years later. In 2003, rebel soldiers attacked Maro Awobi, torching homes, abducting children and killing many people. Community members got their families together and fled to Pabo IDP Camp. After a short closure, the school was displaced in temporary classrooms at Agole P7 School and stayed there for 7 years.
In February 2010 African Revival travelled to Pabo and found teachers packing the last load of furniture and books into a large truck. As we travelled with the truck to the original site, excited community members lined the dirt road and many children chased the truck up a track to the school. Isaac, Chairman of the School Management Committee was also in this crowd, "We are so happy. Our children are back with us." Primary schools in rural Uganda act as a hub for the community so Maro Awobi feels whole again. The head teacher also explained what impact the move will have on the pupils, "the pupils are now close to their homes. They can now eat at lunchtimes and have a short journey back to their parents in the evening. They are safe". Many pupils were living far from their parents but now the school has moved back, families have been reunited and children are now living with their parents.
One year on and a lot has changed. Newly appointed headteacher David Komakech has been so impressed with the community's cooperation with the school, "Since I arrived at Maro Awobi, parents have built housing for all of our 7 teachers, entirely at their own cost in addition to the 6 grass thatched classrooms that they constructed last year." David explained that their hard work and enthusiasm comes as a result of the support of African Revival, "You know when a friend offers their hand to you, it really motivates you to work even harder than you normally would."
When African Revival first reached the school's site, it was just an overgrown field. The community transformed the site in just a few weeks by clearing the land and building 6 temporary classrooms. We noticed, however, that sanitation facilities were a major priority and built 8 latrines and drilled a borehole, as a clean safe water source. The school has received text books and office furniture and is shaping into what a good school should look like.
The school has made real use of their 70 acres of land; African Revival has constructed a sports pitch and, with the help of the community, is about to start working on demonstration gardens as part of our EU funded 'Farmers of the Future' Project.
Maro Awobi staff and pupils are extremely excited that our contractors are just one week away from finishing the construction of 3 classrooms, as well as an office and a large store room. Take a look at our photos of the builders putting the finishing touches to the well needed classrooms!
Mayor of Richmond hosts African Revival's website launch
After many months of work and preparation, African Revival launched our website on the 3rd March. Our event was kindly hosted by the Mayor of Richmond, Cllr David Marlow.
We were so lucky to welcome so many new supporters through the doors, and guests were wowed by entertainment provided by the Afro Caribbean Society at Imperial College, who have selected us as their chosen charity this year.
In the heart of Hampton Hill something amazing is going on. Our small but effective charity is reaching out to children in some of the remotest areas of Zambia, Uganda and Sudan. By building schools training teachers, overcoming barriers to education and supporting communities and parents we are ensuring that for thousands of children every day is a school day. Thanks to us and to the inspirational communities we work with, once derelict classrooms are now safe and dry, children sitting on the floor now have the dignity of a desk and chair, and teachers actually have resources like text books and blackboards.
It goes much further than that though. There's no point investing in infrastructure and resources without also investing in the people who will drive their schools forward. So we train teachers and support them with housing and salaries. We address barriers to education, and most importantly we work with parents and small rural communities to build their capacity to secure the future of their children's education. That means helping them to set up community savings schemes, encouraging them to appreciate the value of education, and training them in simple management techniques such as budgeting and monitoring, so that they have the skills they need to ensure their schools are accountable.
So why is this website so important for us? Well, because it enables us to tell the world about what we're doing at the touch of a button. African Revival isn't a large organisation. We don't believe in spending lots of money on expensive publicity and advertising. Thanks to Digital Potion, who have spent months building our site absolutely free of charge, we now have the ability to communicate with all of you in cyberspace every time we have exciting news to share!
Our charity is only 5 years old but we have already touched the lives of 250,000 people in the world's poorest continent. Watch this space and follow us online - this year we intend to do more than ever before...
If you Google 'Northern Uganda', what do you find? You will most likely stumble upon words such as conflict, abduction, brutality, violence and extreme poverty.
When I read an article from the BBC (Bitter legacy of Uganda's civil war) towards the end of last year I was very disappointed - not because I felt sadness towards the 'devastation' that was described in the place that I call home - but because the article was another piece of negative coverage of the current situation here in Northern Uganda.
Western and even National media often portray the Acholi region and its people as helpless and pathetic, unable to cope with the devastating effects of war. This will explain the numbers of organisations and individuals from the West 'coming to the rescue'! An international journalist recently contacted me looking for a story on domestic violence in the North and asked me if I could connect her with people. After travelling around looking for a story she told me that her editor would not be happy as the stories 'were just not disturbing enough'. It left me wondering when the conflict would cease being 'sexy' and if it would ever be possible to acknowledge people for their courage and strength.
As you can imagine, any conflict lasting over 20 years is going to have damaging effects on its people, particularly when it comes to education and livelihoods. And yes, from a fundraising perspective, devastation does sell but I am certain that instilling confidence in people makes projects actually work by empowering communities to take ownership of their own projects and futures. That's what makes our work at African Revival so different. We don't "rescue", w work in genuine partnership with people who want to shape their own futures and the future of their children.
I have a lot of confidence in the people that I work with. It is exciting - YES you heard correctly - Gulu is an exciting place, and not just Gulu but rural villages and trading centres all around the 4 Districts that I have got to know over the two and a half years I have spent living here and working with African Revival. Many communities have moved back home to their villages which marks a new beginning for every generation. Teaching resources are scarce and buildings aren't even there in some cases. But the foundations are all there because people are determined to get their lives back for their children's sake.
So what am I really trying to say? Simply that it is important, in the field of charity and development, not to underestimate people, especially people that we do not really know. The amazing people that I work with would much rather receive our money out of confidence in their abilities to develop their own communities than out of pity for them as victims.
AFRICAN REVIVAL LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
After much anticipation, African Revival is proud to launch our fantastic new website and blog! Packed with information, videos, events and ways to get involved, we're also thrilled that the new site, hosting and management have been donated completely free of charge by web development agency Digital Potion.
African Revival works with remote rural communities to give their children access to education, opportunity and choice. We build schools, train teachers, and overcome barriers to education such as the lack of clean water, or sanitation. Our small professional teams on the ground work in close partnership with rural communities. Despite having nothing themselves they are committed to giving their kids the educational opportunities they could not enjoy. We believe that an educated community has the power to sustainable development which we hope will lead to increased economic earning power, reduced infant mortality rates, and lower HIV infection rates. In fact, education impacts on just about every crucial area of Africa's development. Yet 38 million children in Africa are not in school and 80% of those children live in rural areas.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the hard work of our staff, and the inspirational determination of the communities we work with, we're proud to have helped an incredible 250,000 people in just 5 years! This year we have been celebrating our 5th birthday with a yearlong programme of events and challenges. It seems fitting that we see our anniversary out by launching our new site and reaching out to tell the cyberspace community about the fantastic work we're doing.
Visit us now to find out much more about why our work is so important, how we do it, and how you can help.