This month we celebrate 8 years! On September 16, 2008, we moved the first 40 children to Musana and boy, has it been an adventure since. Every September we find ourselves looking back on the years and how we have grown as an organization alongside those original 80 kids who were Musana those first couple of years. We are excited and proud to see our youngest become the leaders of Musana Primary School and our oldest start their journey into adulthood!READ MORE
Damali was the youngest child to come to Musana in 2008. At five years old at the time, she became Musana’s treasure. The youngest of six children, she had a sass and flare about her that made her a favorite among the Musana kiddos. The older boys and girls tried to pick on her, but Little Damali could always hold her own. Over the years, she has never ceased to amaze all that have known her. She was speaking perfect English by Primary 2, learned her multiplication tables for fun in Primary 3, and read books at a level higher than our Primary 7s by Primary 4. She has been the top of her class since nursery school, not only competing against her classmates, but with herself. Damali has a determination to always meet her full potential. Outside of the classroom, she was the star of Musana’s choir and dance team in her early years of primary school. She was not only the youngest on the stage, but the smallest, leading girls twice her size. She was elected as the Head Prefect when she was in Primary 5, a huge accomplishment. Now in Primary 6 with one year left of primary school, we are thrilled to see what God has in store for her! SHE IS AMAZING!READ MORE
In the last few months, Musana started to offer skill development courses to community members. These intensive three-month classes provide training in tailoring, knitting, and embroidery, as well as catering and hospitality. The trainings create entrepreneurs with a very practical and business centered approach. The students are first trained in a practical skill of their choosing, then provided business classes, AND finally are offered the opportunity to apply for a loan to open their own enterprise utilizing their new capabilities!READ MORE
From January to April, Musana hosted a group of students from the Master of Arts Program in International Development and Service (MAIDS) from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Hosting the MAIDS program provided a unique opportunity for future development actors to learn about community development from a variety of models used by organizations in East Africa, a hotspot for international development to date. We were honored to showcase our own unique community development model, utilizing the greatest lessons we have learned in the past eight years!
On March 8th, we paused to celebrate International Women’s Day – a day to recognize the achievement of women around the globe who continue to overcome barriers and reveal that women truly do hold the key to change. It is up to us to continue to encourage woman as difference makers and empower them to rise!
Over the past couple of months, we have had the privilege to witness the emergence of strong female leaders at Musana. On this Women’s Day, we want to take this opportunity to spotlight these amazing women as we look to the future and see so much of Musana’s potential in their strength! Introducing a few of Musana’s newest women and our CHAMPIONS for change!READ MORE
The Next Generation of Leaders Calls for Quality
As this year begins, there is so much to look forward to. In 2016, one thing we are focusing ALL of Musana’s efforts on is quality rather than quantity. In 2008, Musana’s foundation was built upon providing a safe place for children in Iganga that would provide them housing, food, and LOVE. Shortly after Musana started, the establishment of a school became an enormous part of the work that Musana does. In 2009, Musana Nursery and Primary School started its journey towards an education focused on creativity, literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving while maintaining the roots of the Ugandan education system that would prepare children to excel on the national exams. The process has been slow over the years, but as we enter 2016, we are seeing the positive transformation Musana’s school is having.READ MORE
Fund the Vision this Holiday Season
It has been another incredible year of sunshine in Iganga, Uganda! As many of you know, “musana” means sunshine in the local language and this year Musana’s bright light has impacted over 2,730 individuals PLUS their families through services in education, health, skill development, economic development, and agriculture. We are beyond grateful for the generosity of our Musana family around the world who has enabled such growth!READ MORE
Training Towards a Dependency Free Community!
A few times a year in Iganga, Uganda, Musana’s leadership team hosts training sessions for the entire Musana staff and the guardians of our scholarship children to ensure that the Musana family understands and believes in the mission and vision of WHAT we do and HOW we work. This year’s training occurred days before our leader, Haril Kazindra, left for the United States for the 2015 Road Show. What should have been an exhausting twelve-hour day was anything but tiring for this ambassador for change. After twelve hours of mingling with staff and guardians, presenting Musana’s development model, mission and vision, Musana’s leader was re-energized and more passionate than ever to work! Many of the EIGHTY employees and HUNDREDS of family members whose perspective of Musana’s presence was shifted over the many hours of training were right behind him, thrilled to be a part of what Musana stands for!READ MORE
Seven Years of Transformation
September marked 7 years since Musana began and boy, was it a month full of reflection about where Musana started, how far it has come, and where it is going. BIG things are happening inside the umbrella of what Musana Community Development Organization is today, things that 7 years ago were inconceivable. In the beginning, Musana was 80 children plus a few adults that were solely caretakers of those original sunrays of hope. Today, Musana’s income generating and outreach projects exceed ANYTHING we could have ever dreamed about in September 2008.READ MORE
Moms of Musana
If Musana Nursery and Primary School were a human body, the children would be the heart, teachers the feet, administration the brain, and the matrons the backbone.
Each morning at 4:45am Pricilla, Mackline, Oliver, Ida, Edith, and Dorcas are up before the sun. Their first task takes place in the morning darkness as they make their way down the rows of bunk beds to prepare their 250 children for school. The belief that it takes a village to raise strong men and women is embraced at Musana Nursery and Primary School and this cultural creed begins with the moms of Musana…the matrons.
Often unnoticed by visitors, the matrons are responsible for ensuring that clothes are washed, the compound is cleaned, and the children are fed and bathed. When first stepping onto the Musana campus it’s easy to observe the kids at play and the teachers at work; however, it’s not as simple to spot Pricilla and Mackline in the kitchen making over 700 meals daily or Oliver sitting in the shade washing the dirty bowls from breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The matrons help to facilitate the success and wellbeing of their kids by acting as mothers, caretakers, cooks and supervisors to the hundreds of children boarding at Musana. Not only do these women never take a day off during term, but they also live alongside their kids sleeping in the dormitories just feet away from their students.
A typical day begins at the crack of dawn as each matron prepares her students for the day. The women ensure that their kids have bathed, made their beds, and mopped the floor of their room all before 6:00am. Breakfast is served at 6:30am, but before then the compound is cleaned with the matrons keeping a close watch.
As the children go to class, the matrons divide and get to work preparing to serve the meals for break and lunch. During this time dishes are being cleaned, tea is being steeped, and posho is being cooked. Come 2:00pm the women take a break to enjoy lunch. They can be found eating and laughing in the back of the kitchen with their neon colored bowls filled with posho, beans, rice, or porridge.
When school lets out at 4:00pm the children take their second bath for the day and are then fed dinner at 6:30pm. During this time the matrons are cleaning the kitchen and closing up shop for the day. While the children are getting ready to sleep, the women make sure their kid’s shoes are shined as a last order of business.
The matrons at Musana are the first to rise in the morning and the last to sleep at night. Their dedication and commitment to their work is not only honorable, but it is essential to the success of Musana Nursery and Primary School. With every bed that’s made and with every shoe that’s shined the moms of Musana continue to help the students thrive.