A Letter from Benson Wereje

 

Wereje Benson recently wrote this letter to Boris:

Dearest Boris,

I am very happy to get this time to send this message to you and other Educate!, Coburwas advisors and supporters.

I would like to thank you and Eric for the commitment and the energy you have invested in Educate! It means much to us.

I can’t forget Emily, Angelica for what they are doing presently.
My thanks also is extended to Sarah, Stacy, Julia and others.
Allow me to send all my heartfelt thanks for the sponsorship you offered to me it has become a blessing and a kind of long lasting hope to me, my community in the camp as well as back in D R Congo. I am very happy and have hope of being what I wanted to be.

I used to cry since 1997 thinking much of my community and had ideas but lacked only something to facilitate me to attend my goal. It is well known that a tree can be planted in a good soil and grow but it needs sometimes manure, watering and staking for better growth. Thank you again for watering our ideas and ambitions through education.

Before the inception of Coburwas, Kyangwali was like a village near the lake but people cried of water, our throats were dry and needed water to quench our thirst. The community cried of fish but couldn’t go across the village to find out the solution of the problems we had. It is in the same way my community emphasized on digging

 ” Farming on small scale basically to get food” but ignored to cross and try education and being social entrepreneurs as one of the major ways of breaking the viscous circle of poverty. The system of depending on digging was seriously considered by grand fathers and was passed to generation after generation. But now through Educate! We are crossing over to find better solution.
The following personal historical and educational background proves this:

-I am the only person that has attended university in my area of birth.
-We don’t have even a single girl who completed form four in my village.
-In ten years we have stayed in Uganda no girl completed senior six in the camp.
This is applicable to other Educate! Student’s families background.
We have tried to fish around and the following  justifies this.

-I would like to inform you that since COBURWAS EDUCATE! Club started we had 800 pupils at Kinakyeitaka primary school but now we have 1.653 pupils at the same school due to the sensitization of the COBURWAS.

-Only around 25 students were able to attend good secondary schools in Hoima because UN and Windle Trust supported them. But today we have around 160 students in Hoima and 45 at Kyangwali secondary school generally.

Coburwas was able to motivate around 200 members of Club from both primary and secondary. Presently we have  Coburwas as a FAMILY that is aiming at transforming the communities through education.
It has been a record of the Club to see even girls that were raped or defiled in the community to take them back to school even if they had babies. This is because they had no hope and the community looks at them as failures and dangerous people in the camp.

Not only that but its was believed that only schools in the town would be in position of producing first grades and best students in the district. But through tutoring programs and coaching in the club since 2005 we ever have best candidates and first grades every academic year.

It is through this program that the club opened a hostel in Hoima town where students stay together under the management of the Club. It was also a way of emancipating women. Most African communities have neglected girl child education but Coburwas is addressing this issue by enrolling more girls in the hostel than boys. It is a fact that women have been neglected in all sectors even in churches. They stay always in the kitchen cooking but we want them to study so that they can bring their issues on board like men.

That’s why we have now 22 girls and 11boys at the hostel. This term many students applied to join the hostel but due to limited abilities we still consider to go with the above mentioned number.
The club has spent much energy to establish this by paying rent (600.000sh), food contribution, medication, transportation, electricity bills and 2 pressure lamps to help in case power goes off.

As far as community work is concerned the hostel has slashed Kitara Secondary School compound, areas along the road near the school and fence repairing through Coburwas community work (CCW) program. This work would take around 2.000.000 /= as it was mentioned by the head teacher but it was done by 110 members of Coburwas in Hoima town with few nationals that were mobilized by the club through the local radio in Hoima..

The Hostlers have continued to excel in terms of academics. In S1 class of 600 students the 1st –3rd position were Coburwas Hoima Hostlers (CHH).

It is in the same program the club paid tuition of Sabimana Pascal the contractor of the club who was not in position of attending S5. He became the first also in his science classes at Kitara SS.

Not only in Kitara but also in other schools like Bwikya and Morning star where our members are well disciplined and are key leaders. Nteziyaremye Joseph is a head boy, Bagisha John is in charge of music, Bosco is the prefect in charge of debate to mention but a few.

It’s of course due to much input that Educate! Students have put in Coburwas. All our success is built on the education Educate! provides. More so courage, advice, consideration and being supportive to our ideology. This credit goes then to the organization.

I won’t mention of community work done, counseling programs, seminars and the outcome of it. But generally the hope, trust and solutions off all problems are excepted in the club as community members say.

Let me mention that since the Club was started 2005, digging was the main activity only in holidays December and January. We were able to raise 3.730.000 schillings through digging, selling of T-shirts, calendars and fundraising in churches.

This is the money on which we were able to buy taste books, renting the Hostel, paying the fees for some members like Pascal, James, Kabanda and Jeanne.

We were able also to build an orphanage where the nursery classes will begin soon. The building has 60 Iron sheets, 12/5 meters size. It has taken around 4.000.000 but the Club itself contributed so far 1.960.000/= without considering labor and help from the community.

I would conclude by thanking every body who contributed to the success of all this work in any form.

I would love to express my sincere thanks to all donors of Educate! and student clubs for what you are doing. The time, dollars and every resource you put in this unique organization has much impact in the transformation of our communities and Africa.

I imagine of a mountain surrounded by communities and on the top of it there a big lamp or a tube that provides light to people around the mountain. The light allows them to work at night, children are happy playing under the light, and every body is happy. There is harmony and hope, unity and mutual understanding.

With light we know where we are going and others will be able to follow us. Poor people, kings, presidents, ministers, drivers, schools, factories, plants, and doctors all needs light. Where there is life there should be light.

Educate! is a such big lamp giving light to young leaders through education. Remember that there is light in the lamp because of the presence of fuel or any source of power.

I THANK DONORS AND STUDENTS CLUBS TO BE THE SOURCE OF POWER, light, ability, strength and every thing we are doing.

May God be with you.
From Educate! Beneficiary and your humble Student  Wereje Benson.