My Sponsorship Story

In honour of the launch of a new ‘Sponsor a Child Programme’ this weeks blog post is written by Rachael, our Director of Operations about the impact of sponsorship. 

It’s lunchtime in the camp and we are enjoying a peaceful cup of coffee. From a few hundred yards away we can hear the small giggles of the pre-school kids running through the jungle on their way to class. As the giggles grow nearer the dogs start going crazy, obviously it’s time to warn us that the crazy children are nearly here. Next thing we hear are the cheerful shouts from Noe, Gloria, Samuel and Ibra…. “HELLLOOO TEACHER”, a few steps closer and then Gloria breaks into a run and leaps up into your arms to greet you. ‘Hello teacher Rachael, how are you?’. Once all twelve kids have arrived and each has greeted you in the same happy way it’s time to start class. 

I could go on talking about the eagerness of our kids to learn, and the enthusiasm they bring to school, but I’ll save that for another time or I will be here for hours. Today I want to talk about why I decided to sponsor a child! I mean first of all how can you not fall in love with all of the kids when they greet you so warmly each day? And how could you not feel proud of them when they master writing Letter A for the first time? Or figure out the answer to 7 + 4 all by themselves? All of these things made me want to guarantee that Banda Island Primary School can countiue to exsist and support the children on the island. This can and will be achieved via our new Sponsor a Child Programme.

Gloria and Noe in class
The above examples are the kind of things I am lucky enough to experience each day whilst volunteering with Firefly. I am in a fortunate position in which I can spend every day with so many wonderful children, and get to know each of their amazing personalities. Through the new sponsorship programme Firefly hopes to create international relationships for our budding mathematicians, or future swimming champions, or pilots, or doctors, or fishermen, or vets (the list goes on). Whatever they want to be when they grow up, we want to make sure they have an education that will allow them to succeed. At Firefly, we hope that through letters and emails, updates and photographs we can create a relationship between people all over the world, and everyone of the children in our school, by getting each and every one of them sponsored. Which will in turn guarantee them access to education.
Gloria, is a 7 year old bubbly, gorgeous little girl who attends our pre-school. Gloria always comes to school with a big smile on her face and an energy that cannot be missed. Gloria’s mummy works at the camp to earn a living to support not only Gloria and her two sisters (Grace and Getu), but also her three other children that live on the mainland. Mamma Gloria (Jayne) is a hugely generous lady who gives all of her spare time and money to help others. She has a small cooking space in the village where she cooks everyday, and whoever is in need that day comes along to eat. Everyday Mamma Gloria cooks for at least 3 more children than her own.

Gloria, Rachael, Mamma Gloria, Grace and Getu

It is these kind-hearted actions that led me to want to help Gloria and her family in anyway that I can. Having discussed the sponsorship programme with the Firefly team, it was clear to me the difference that €15 would make to Gloria and Mamma Gloria’s life. This is an amount that most in Europe, America or Australia etc can afford to spare. That’s a sacrifice of 3 Starbucks coffees or 2 large glasses of wine a month. Something that is easily achievable for me, and now something that I will never stop doing having seen the difference it can make to one family. 

I did not chose to sponsorship Gloria for any sort of gratitude, but purely because she’s a fabulous little girl. I wanted to make sure she could keep coming to school and would keep mastering the alphabet and go on achieve what she wants to. However, when Mamma Gloria was told that I would be helping her with Gloria’s  school fees her reaction was truly heart warming. She cannot speak much English but just from her smiles and her many many many thank yous and hugs, it was evident that this would make a big difference to her life, especially with Gloria’s younger sister Grace starting school in January. 

Gloria before school
Gloria is just one of the amazingly brilliant children we have in our primary school and in Banda village. I hope that my story will inspire you to spread the word about Firefly Uganda, our sponsorship programme and you that choose to join us on our quest! 

http://www.fireflyuganda.com/sponsor-a-child

Just another day at the office…

Mara our Media and Communications Director describes a typical day at Firefly Uganda:

Forget the 6am cock-a-doodle-doo wake up call of a rooster. Here on the island it’s the sweet, harmonised 7am crescendo of a dozen mooooohs that will get you out of bed. Punctual and reliable. You can leave your alarm clock at home, the cows will do the job.

You jump out of bed, get out of your tent and there you are: you’re outside, the sun is shining, it’s warm, but not too warm; the perfect morning for a swim in the lake – unless you’re me, then you have probably overslept, everyone’s already gone for a swim and the kids are about to come running down the path, ready for school. You get the kettle boiling and make yourself a coffee – but then again, you’ve probably overslept and Rachael has already done that for you – black, no sugar.

Quick breakfast and everyone’s off to their duties. Laptop, internet router, a sarong to lie down on and you’re ready to go. The dress code for the office is widely acknowledged and respected: comfy clothes and preferably no shoes. You head out to the office: your commute consists of a one minute walk down the path that connects the camp to the village. A couple of fallen trees and a string of safari ants later and you’re in the office.

Now picture this: the office is an open-air grass area with trees and bushes of all sorts. There are probably a couple of goats, a pig and a few paradise fly-catchers around, maybe a cow or two. All very congenial company, although not the chattiest of colleagues. You usually sit in the shade of a tree to avoid your laptop from overheating. The only hazard: the birds atop and their droppings. Other than that, it is the epitome of the perfect office space: spacious, comfortable, peaceful. You lie down on the sarong you borrowed from Rachael and get the laptop started.

It’s a beautiful clear day which means the internet connection is working at its best: from where you’re sitting you can see the internet towers on the main island, Bugala, just a short boat ride away. You get some work done on the website and the social media pages, and before you know it it’s time for lunch. As you’re walking back to the camp you run into the children. They’ve just finished school and are also headed home for lunch. You can tell by their excitement that they had swimming class today, it always puts them in the best of moods.

After lunch you decide to go find Andrew and get some shots of the progress on the new water purification system he’s working on. Your commute this time involves a walk down the beach. Once again, shoes are expendable. You walk with your feet in the water, under the palm trees and through the sand, until you reach the palm beach where the boys are digging the well. 


You can’t find Andrew so you get a closer look: he’s in the well! You take a few pictures trying not to laugh too much at the scene. But it’s not too long before Andrew decides it would be even funnier to see you at work instead. You accept the challenge and jump down the waterhole: the water’s up to your shoulders and you are still wearing your clothes from the day, but you can’t stop laughing at the eccentricity of the scene.

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A few scoops of clay later it’s time to get back to the camp and get dinner started, so you get pulled out of the well and, after examining the state of your clothes (now completely covered in clay), you decide you might as well jump in the lake and swim back. The camp is only a short swim away and the water today is fabulous. And, I guess, why not make the most out of this beautiful place? All in all a pretty good day at the office.

 

‘Oli Otya’ from the Firefly Team!

Welcome to the Firefly Uganda Blog!

Today we are excited to announce that we are launching our new blog! We will be using this as another platform to interact with and update our supporters on all of our projects and more. Here at Firefly we are committed to providing everyone who is involved or interested in our work with full transparency, therefore we want to show you more than just our projects. This blog will not only be informative but also fun and diverse, we will be posting once a week about issues that matter to us, but don’t worry we will make sure we switch things up so you keep coming back for more Firefly updates.

This blog is run by all of our volunteers providing a variety of voices for you to listen to. We want to let you know what life at Firefly is like, what we get up to on a day-to-day basis and the fun we have in-between all the hard work. Not only this but we will be sharing with you our opinions on matters such as environmental sustainability and humanitarian concerns but in a chatty and open manner. We want this blog to be a platform in which our supporters and followers can share their opinions or ideas and contribute to the work here at Firefly. So we invite you to submit any articles, posts or opinions that you would like us to share using the ‘leave a comment’ button above.

We believe that keeping the conversation going is a way to inform people all over the world of the difficulties faced by so many, not just here on Lake Victoria but globally. Follow us to stay up to date with the issues that we and the community on Banda island face everyday. Let us know your ideas and your views and help us spread the word about Firefly.

“Join the quest for a better future: for them, for you, for all our children and all living things”

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The Firefly Team