Board members (L to R): Jaclyn, Malik, and Matthew
Thanks to everyone who attended our end-of-the-year dinner at Ethiopian Diamond in December! Because of your generous giving, we collected a record amount of donations and are in a strong position to both continue supporting our current students and projects as well as begin to build the necessary foundation to expand our reach (more updates on this in the coming months!). None of this would have been possible without your kind support. On behalf of our board and the communities we work with: THANK YOU!
For those of you who have not yet heard, Rationale is now a certified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in the United States. We're very excited about the many opportunities this new designation makes possible including access to grants that were previously unavailable to us. Feel free to reach out with any questions about what this might mean for your giving.
Student Update 2015: Piloya Emily
We're happy to announce that Emily has recently begun a paid contract position working as a midwifery in Ikotos, South Sudan for AVSI (an international NGO). In this new position Emily is able to use the skills she learned while completing her certificate in midwifery from Lacor to serve rural communities who otherwise do not have access to this care. We're so excited for all of the new experiences she is gaining before returning to Uganda to continue her studies next year!
Rationale was founded as non-profit organization on March 22, 2012 as a response to the substantial amount of youth in northern Uganda who have been affected by the 20-year-long civil conflict and are currently unable to continue their studies without substantial support. From day one we committed to having a significant, lasting impact on a small number of youth rather than supporting many youth without substantial social support and we're now seeing the effects of this commitment. Over the last three years we have grown to include a full-time mentor and are now seeing our students complete their first level of studies with great success. For a wonderful example, please see the update about Emily above. We could not be happier to see the real, lasting success our first group of students are experiencing. It is because of their resolve to not only be the first in their families to acquire their current level of education but also to consistently perform at the highest level that they stand in such a position today.
As we look forward to the next year, we have many new announcements and exciting new developments to share in the coming months. Matthew will return to Uganda for two months beginning in May to undertake focused study of Acholi, the language spoken in northern Uganda. Jaclyn will join later in the summer to assist in evaluating our programs and our students' progress as we begin to make important decisions about our student cohort. Thanks for joining us on this journey - we can't wait to share more!
“For me, my goal is to provide medical services to others” Emily remarks, with her eyes scanning the hospital grounds that surround her. Emily studies midwifery and is currently finishing her first year at Lacor Hospital Nursing School. She has thought about transferring into a nursing program, as the midwifery program at Lacor is quite young, but one thing is certain: Emily wants to improve the health of those around her. “For me, all along I was depending on others, after five years from now I should be helping others, especially at St. Jude. They did so much for me. I should help them, find a way to help them in return.”
Emily has been studying to practice medicine for some time. Like Gloria, Emily attended St. Mary’s Aboke for secondary school where she spent her A level (last two years of secondary school) specializing in biology and chemistry. She especially enjoyed chemistry from S2-S6 and often rose to the top of the class. Her favorite was organic chemistry. She also enjoyed biology “because [it] concerned our bodies… [it is] real, on the ground” in a way that she feels other subjects are not. The immediacy of biology fueled her passion for the subject, and her presence at Lacor stands testament to this.
Emily has a long history with St. Jude since she joined when she was only in nursery school. Spending most of her earliest years at St. Jude, she identifies heavily with the Home as the source of her success. As part of St. Jude’s resettlement program - where St. Jude attempts, when possible, to reunite children staying at the Home with their extended family - Emily returned to her grandfather’s care when she was in P5, around 2003. Many children entered St. Jude as a result of their families being separated during the war. By 2003, her grandfather was able to take care of her again. Reunification, however, does not mean that the connection to St. Jude also disappears. St. Jude, through an international donor, continued to pay for her secondary fees at St. Mary’s Aboke. The project, however, only supported students during their tenure at secondary school and not any further. This is where Rationale stepped in.
(“Let us learn to transform our society” - Sign at St. Mary’s Aboke)
Emily hopes to work in a hospital after she completes her studies. Studying at Lacor provides her with the opportunity to develop medical skills through hands-on training. Students keep a record of the work that they do in the ward, counting for up to 30% of their total grade. They may take the histories of patients, prep the patient for the nurse or doctor, or provide other forms of support for the hospital. They also have a demonstration room where exercises place students right in the middle of medical practice.
When asked about her plans for a family she offers a small laugh. “I will not be ready for a family in five years… I think maybe in ten years I will be married with a family, still working in a hospital.” She adds, “I should also be able to respond to you. There is no way I can forget about the sacrifice you in America did for me to support my studies. If there is anything I can do for you, I would want to be settled and able to help you by this time.”
Emily is not just a prolific student; she also likes to have fun. She was the leader of the Acholi traditional dance group at St. Mary’s Aboke and was recognized as one of the very best dancers at the school. She also enjoys drumming and often goes to the homes in her village to teach traditional drumming to the community. Her favorite style of music is contemporary hip-hop and she names Brandy, Rhianna, Ne-Yo, and Eminem - especially “I’m not Afraid” - as some of her favorites.
Emily is very social and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She says she looks forward to being a part of Rationale’s scholarship program because many other programs “just collect names” without building “that better relationship” that she has always hoped for. “It is important that those in the US get to know me,” she insists, increasingly resolute in her words. She is surprised when I tell her about our car wash fundraiser happening next weekend. “You mean the Americans, you, will be the ones washing the cars?” After I assure her that this is the case, she smiles. “That sacrifice is so good.”
We’re incredibly happy to have Emily be a part of the project, and look forward to her future as a medical professional!