“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
As we have rooted ourselves in Iganga, we have recognized the capacity of the Ugandan people to be catalysts for change and the initiators of their own development and empowerment. Unfortunately, the community’s capacity to thrive has commonly been paralyzed from the lack of opportunity. Cyclically, families and community members have lived in poverty with no choice or ability to reach their full potential. Bringing economic and social development together, our social enterprises ignite the local Ugandans to “be the change.” Further impact is created as the profits from these enterprises cycle back into the community through our outreach initiatives. These initiatives provide education, health, and economic development services to the most vulnerable, demonstrating the bigger picture of what Musana represents. Musana is an entire community systemically working together to not only fight dependency, but is taking responsibility of its people by giving back and presenting choice to those who have been trapped. Musana is creating a wave of change and opportunity in a community that for so long has been stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty.
Musana Scholarship Program
Dedicated to our original mission to provide for orphaned and vulnerable children, MCDO’s scholarship program strides to pave a road of opportunity for Uganda’s youth who were born into circumstances in which they have lacked choice. Through the provision of scholarships, we refuse to see potential wasted. On the contrary, we are tapping into the greatness of Uganda’s youth that has been masked by economic class to raise the next generation of transformative leaders.
Each year our social workers identify the most vulnerable children who would not get an education otherwise, offering them a position at Musana Nursery and Primary School. We intermix these children with all the other students from the community, keeping them anonymous so they can go to school with dignity free from the stigma of being vulnerable and in need.
An important part of our scholarship program is our relationship with the children’s relatives. In order to become a beneficiary in this program, we require our children’s parents and relatives to work alongside us and take an active role in building their children’s futures. We encourage families to provide what they can, whether as small as a couple of pencils or as big as partial tuition. As a result, parents and guardians continue to take pride and responsibility in their children’s wellbeing, and in return, the children grow up knowing that their family did what they could out of love. We also insist that Musana’s children spend the holidays in their villages to ensure that they keep their cultural roots. Our social workers further check-up and counsel the children’s relatives, working directly to improve not only the quality of life for the children, but the entire family. For the children that do not have living relatives, Musana staff or community members adopt them into their families and treat them as their own.
Through our scholarship program, we send…
106 children to Musana Nursery and Primary School
59 young adults to secondary, vocational, and higher-level institutes
Community Seminars and Workshops
Committed to the belief that education is the most powerful tool to create impact, MCDO is dedicated to spreading knowledge to as many community members throughout Iganga as possible. Every afternoon our team of social workers visits neighborhoods and families in villages surrounding Musana to build a relationship and give the people a voice in expressing their greatest needs. Based on these findings, MCDO partners with the local government to plan and carry out seminars and workshops, reaching hundreds of community members at a time. Each seminar and workshop is designed to tackle challenges that community members face and together work with the local people to provide solutions. To follow up, our social workers conduct frequent visits to individual households, encouraging and guiding families in how to implement the valuable things they have learned. Some examples of workshop topics include health and hygiene, family planning, positive parenting, HIV/AIDS testing and prevention, jigger awareness and intervention, agriculture, nutrition, and business training.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito.” – African Proverb
Every week our social work team works together with Musana Community Health Center to give the most rural areas of Iganga an opportunity to receive quality and compassionate health services. After partnering with remote village leaders to organize health days, together our social workers and health practitioners travel to these areas to provide services like HIV testing, reproductive health, dental check-ups and extractions, vaccinations, prenatal care, and counseling.
1 Peter 5:10 says, “And the God of all grace… after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
With Project Restore, Musana seeks out vulnerable children and adults in dire health/disability situations and provides them with proper medical attention through surgeries and rehabilitation. Our dream is that once they are “restored,” they will then have the opportunity to live normal independent lives and give back to their communities.
Poor access to clean water represents a rampant health and quality of life issue in Uganda. Only 66% of the population has access to water and only 34% has access to clean water. Lack of clean water has caused women and children to walk miles a day to fetch water. Furthermore, deaths from preventable diarrheal diseases are prevalent among Ugandan children. In 2010, Musana built its very own bore hole, providing water for Musana’s children and staff members. Today, Musana has two bore holes on site that are open to the community on a daily basis, providing water to more than 200 families and community members. Thanks to Healing Waters International, Musana also provides clean drinking water to the staff, children, and community of Musana while educating all parties in the importance of sanitation and water cleanliness.
In order to provide more economic development services to the community, in 2016, Musana opened a window of opportunity for community members to take classes within our skill development department. These classes cycle students through in three-month increments, offering training in tailoring, knitting, and embroidery, as well as catering and hospitality. The intensive three-month courses 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!
To further provide economic opportunity to the women that we work with in our skills development department, we offer microloans to provide them a chance to become their own business owners and entrepreneurs. The women go through business trainings that emphasize topics such as innovation, finance, marketing, strategy, and operations. At the end of the training, they are guided in how to write their own business proposals to be considered for a loan. A few loans are given out at time and as the women pay them back based on their payment schedule, the money is recycled to provide another woman the opportunity to make her business proposal a reality. Acting as a collateral substitute, this system keeps the women accountable to each other. As a result, the program empowers women to work together to create small businesses that are enabling them to provide for themselves and their families. Some successful businesses include retail shops, brick making, tailoring, stone quarrying, milk delivery, and a piggery. Loan recipients are now independent entrepreneurs that have gained the respect from their communities and live with hope and dignity restored!
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King Jr.