Thursday, December 27, 2007

Help Ugandan Victims of Child Soldiering go to School

Dear Colleague and Friends,
Knowledge is Power, and for those of us who have had the opportunity to become educated, we know the power of both education and knowledge. I’m asking you to participate with me in a project that will ensure the power of knowledge and education will also benefit our young brothers and sisters in Africa.
The Nyumburu Cultural Center at the University of Maryland has committed to raising support for text and libraries for four secondary schools and school libraries in war-torn Northern Uganda and I am co-chairing the project with my colleague Naima Jamaal, the Center’s Assistant Director for Outreach and Cultural Enrichment. For more information about the Nyumburu Cultural Center please visit:
A brutal twenty-one year war in Northern Uganda which began in 1986 displaced over two million Acholi people from their traditional villages to squalid refugee camps. The worst effects of this war have been on children and youth. More than 30,000 children were abducted and forced into child soldiering and sex slavery by the Lord’s Resistance Army which declared war on the Government of Uganda in 1986. The Acholi people were caught in the middle; several hundred thousand people died from the effects of this war, tens of thousands of women were raped and mutilated and hundreds of thousands of children were orphaned. In Northern Uganda, children and youth are avid learners and eager readers but the displacement to camps from the war has made it difficult for families to afford secondary school fees and most schools in Northern Uganda lack sufficient text books and libraries for high quality education. We have committed to a books-for-schools campaign that will help to transform learning in four secondary schools in Northern Uganda .
Our partners in this project are the United Movement to End Child Soldiering, (UMECS) anchored in Uganda and based in Washington, DC, and Books for Africa, in St. Paul, MN .
United Movement to End Child Soldiering (UMECS) is having huge impact in Northern Uganda through its education and peace building programs. Anchored in Uganda since 2004, a Registered NGO there and also a 501(c)(3) non profit organization here, UMECS is dedicated to eradicating child soldiering and addressing the education and rehabilitation needs of children and youth affected by conflict. UMECS runs the Northern Uganda Education Program which sponsors former child soldiers, child mothers and other children and youth affected by conflict in secondary schools through higher education. UMECS’ all Northern Uganda education staff also administers school-based programs to help their 14 partnered secondary schools provide holistic needs and quality education. UMECS and their chief institutional partner Africa University piloted a first-ever school-based Counseling and Guidance Program at Lira Palwo Secondary School in Pader District, Northern Uganda which they are now replicating. They are also piloting a school-based Peace Education Program, and conducting a books-for-schools project in Northern Uganda. For more information about UMECS, please visit:
UMECS’ partner in the books-for-schools project is St. Paul, MN-based Books for Africa which for the past nineteen years has been sending high quality text and library books to primary and secondary schools in twenty-five African nations. For $13,000 assembly, packing and shipping costs, Books for Africa will be shipping 35,000 well selected school books (approximate retail value: $150,000) and ten computers to four secondary schools in Northern Uganda. We are leading the campaign to raise these funds which will bring needed books to classrooms and libraries at Sacred Heart Secondary School in Gulu District; Alliance College Secondary School in Kitgum District; Lira Palwo Secondary School in Pader District and a secondary school in Amuru District in Northern Uganda . For more information about Books for Africa , please visit
To kick start the campaign, we are pleased to announce that the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has contributed $1,413 to the project, giving us a current target goal of $11,686.
Equally exciting is the fact that the Black History Month Committee of the University of Maryland agreed to make our fundraising drive their service learning project for February. Five individual groups have so far committed to their support and this number will grow. We will be conducting trainings to ensure the service learning component of this campaign builds student skills for future projects.
Your immediate support of this project will help to create momentum for this campaign and tangibly contribute to the empowerment of war-affected children and youth in Northern Uganda by providing the books needed for their classrooms and libraries. Here’s how you can help now.
1. Please make your tax deductible check or money order payable to: Books for Africa
2. Please note on the memo part of the check the following: UMECS/Nyumburu Books for Schools in Northern Uganda
3. Please send your check to:
Nyumburu Cultural Center Nyumburu Building #232, Suite 1120 ATTN: Solomon Comissiong College Park , MD 20742
Your gift will change the world.
Solomon Comissiong Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Public Relations
Nyumburu Cultural Center

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