PED + GoAbroad Foundation Partner to Complete St. James Library

St. James Primary School was founded with a single mission: provide a quality and affordable education for students in the Wakiso community. Each day, students walk down the hill of St. James with their notepad and pencil in hand, prepared for the challenge of another day’s learning. As teachers greet students and begin lessons and activities, incorporating songs and games to engage students, there is something noticeably missing: books.

PED is excited to partner with the GoAbroad Foundation to complete the construction of the library at St. James Primary and increase access to books for students, teachers, and community members.

The library will help St. James to foster a love for reading while improving literacy skills and learning outcomes for students, inviting parents and community members to be a part of the school culture. It will also allow the school to acquire national registration, reducing testing fees for students and increasing the affordability of their education.

The transformation of St. James is nothing short of incredible. Since 2011, the school has grown from a single structure to a multi-block classroom facility with over double the amount of students. With the successful introduction of two income-generating projects, the school now has enough income to sustain its operations entirely on its own. That transformation can continue with your generous support and your belief in the power of education.

 

Donate to the St. James Library Project. Invest in Education.

Awach Piggery: Education Beyond the Classroom

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

 

So the saying goes. But what happens when you give a female student in Uganda a piglet and teach her the entrepreneurial skills to grow her own small business? Empowerment.

PED recently launched a piggery project at Awach Secondary School with two goals in mind: developing an additional income for the school while also creating a sustainable scholarship program for vulnerable female students affected by HIV/AIDS.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The school currently has 8 female pigs and 2 male pigs

  2. After one year, the female pigs will give birth to piglets: up to 100 in total!

  3. Some pigs and piglets will be sold in the local market at profit directly benefiting the school and furthering its strategic development plan; some piglets will be provided to five select girls attending the school

  4. These students will be trained on piggery management, entrepreneurship, and business management skills in order to care for their piglet and nurse it

  5. When these pigs are of age, the student will bring it back to the school to be fertilized, resulting in new piglets being born

  6. The student will continue to care for these new piglets and be able to raise them, sell them, and continue to breed them; the student will also provide one of these piglets to another female student at the school and mentor her in taking care of the piglet to begin her own

  7. The money earned by these female students will provide them a scholarship to ensure continued attendance at school while also providing them the hands-on skills they need to succeed in their communities and the leadership experience to thrive at Awach

Want to see projects like this grow? By donating just $10 a month, we can ensure that more vulnerable girls are completing school and being trained with the skills they need to grow their business and their leadership. Fund sustainable education today.

Connecting Uganda to India

We received a note from co-founder and Director of International Operations Drew Edwards about the usage of the Hello Hubs built in conjunction with our partner Projects for All. They set a Skype call with Sugata Mitra, the inspiration for the digital education based on his ideas of "building a school in the cloud".

Today Sugata Mitra, well known for his TED Talk "Build a School in the Cloud," "Skyped" in with the community at St. James Primary School via their Hello Hub. The experience was nothing short of transformational. A group of around 20 community members, teachers, and children gathered under the auspices of learning about Skype. We sat down to talk about what the program did and how it could connect to have real conversations with people anywhere else on the planet. We touched based on the presuppositions that are absent in a Skype conversation, especially with someone you are meeting for the first time. We talked about how to share with others in both asking questions and sharing our own experiences. 

As we logged onto the call we walked through the program step by step, to demystify the program a bit. We clicked on Sugata's username and explained how to send a message to ask if he was ready to speak with us. When he responded the whispers began building around the group. You could feel the giddy anticipation of what could happen next. His call rung through, the whispers built to a nervous laugh followed by silence. "Hello, Sugata, are you there?" we asked. "Yes I am here, hello" he answered. Nervous chatter erupted again, but just as quickly as it blurted out it left. 

 

I introduced Sugata to the community at St. James, explaining their first time experience on such a platform. "I have been telling them about yourself and we have told you a bit about them" I said, "but, they have decided that they would like to meet you themselves" Sugata followed with encouraging agreement and asked where we were located. Then that nervous silence returned. Who was going to speak, everyone thought. You could see it in everyone's eyes. Then a brave teacher described where St. James is at in the world. We walked through the physical description until one student blurted out, "Where are you?!" followed by scattered laughter. Sugata responded with a description of the harsh realities of winter and his northerly location from Uganda. The look on everyone's face was a mixture of fear and disgust - they wanted no part in winter. 

Education in Uganda: A Look Inside the Mathematics Classroom

Take a closer look at the way teachers and students come together with one goal in mind: learning and growing together. Gain a deeper understanding of the individuals who, like PED, believe that education can transform their community.

 

With a smile on his face, he approaches the chalkboard. About 90 students await what comes next from Stephen, their mathematics teacher. You can see in their eyes that Stephen has earned not only their attention, but their respect. He begins drawing three shapes on the board: a rectangle, a square, and a circle. He places a title over them: Shading Fractions.

Today’s mathematics lesson has begun for the S1 students of Awach Secondary School.

Students are quick to copy down the shapes they see into their notebooks, glancing at their peers’ notes around them to be sure they got all of the information from the previous day’s lesson correct, words like numerator and denominator with corresponding definitions.

“Who will approach the board and assist?” Stephen asks, looking for a student to demonstrate their knowledge to their peers. He directs one to shade 3/4 of each shape. As the student works on the board, Stephen walks around to monitor the rest of the class. Some are still chatting away quietly, to which he responds, “Let the pen do the talking.”

The students move into the next topic: Addition and Subtraction of Fractions. Instead of distributing a worksheet to each student to work on, Stephen works with the resources he has - he writes the instructions on the board and provides three problems to solve:

  1. 1/a + 1/b
  2. 1/2 + 1/4
  3. 1/3 + 3/4

He works together with the students on the first problem, posing questions to assist them in arriving to the correct answer. “Now, you must work on your own,” he instructs, wanting to see how students arrive at the answers on their own.

 

After a few minutes, Stephen asks for a volunteer to approach the board. Within seconds, the hands of 20 or more students fly into the air hoping to be selected, but only one is chosen: James. All eyes follow him as he approaches the board with a piece of chalk and begins to solve the problem. When finished, he breathes a sigh of relief that he can return to his seat in the back of the room. The bell rings and the students are dismissed for today.

Stephen’s mathematics class pushes students to consider math as an everyday practical skill. He works tirelessly to help students understand why math is important to their success in society when it comes to business, finance, homeownership, and farming.

Learn more about Awach Secondary School and help us keep more students in well-equipped classrooms with excellent educators.

 

I Want to Invest in Education

Flossmoor Station + PED = The Best November EVER

 

DRINK LOCAL, THINK GLOBAL.

Janna and Michelle are two women passionate about the power of education in the lives of children. As mothers whose children attend the elementary school in Flossmoor, they met co-founder Andrew Bauer at the beginning of the school year when he introduced himself as their teacher. "His humility, passion, and dedication to PED is an inspiration. We feel privileged to have met Andy through our kids," says Janna, who has known Andy since 2012.

What's the best way they decided to give back? Team up with their favorite local brewery, Flossmoor Station, who has always been a generous contributor to the community, and dedicate an entire month to raising awareness for PED and our mission! Need we say more?

Here's the details:

November 3: Flossmoor Station will kick off the month with a tapping party to celebrate the creation of a PED-inspired beer, featuring Ugandan coffee notes (thanks to Big Shoulders Coffee!) and banana flavors. 15% of sales during the entire month of the brew will go directly to PED!

When: 6-9pm

Where: Flossmoor Station, 1035 Sterling Ave Flossmoor, IL 60422

 

November 11: Flossmoor Station will host an all day fundraiser with co-founder and former District 161 teacher Andrew Bauer speaking in the evening. 10% of all sales during the day will be donated directly to PED projects and additional activities and donation opportunities will be available!

When: ALL DAY LONG!

Where: Flossmoor Station, 1035 Sterling Ave Flossmoor, IL 60422

3 Things to Know About Volunteering Abroad

We believe in the power of service to transform communities - but we also believe in the power of service to transform ourselves. Whether serving with PED in Uganda or with another organization, it is important to know how to prepare. Kate Ziebart, a former PED volunteer, reflects on three things that are important to know about volunteering with PED.

 

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Number 1: Service is renewing.

As a past volunteer with PED, what comforted me the most while in Uganda was knowing the difference between help and service. I remember the day my team sat down and read a piece by Rachel Remen,

“When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole.”

At the time, this was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s no surprise that when you volunteer somewhere far from home you start to ask yourself, Why am I here? Of course the answer could be different for everybody, but for me it was this: service is renewing. Service benefits every person involved in its process and for that reason, I knew why I was volunteering with PED.

 

 

Number 2: Trust yourself and accept your worries.

As my own volunteer trip went on, I began giving myself daily mantras. I gave this phrase to myself the second day and I continued to use it every day following because it held true to any situation I was worried about. Whether I was getting homesick, losing energy while shoveling, or having a hard time connecting with students that day I knew that if I just trusted myself I could do anything.

 

 

Number 3: Laugh as much as you can!

While volunteering with PED I realized something about laughter. Not only is it healthy and makes you feel happy, but every person on earth likes to do it. No matter where you’re from, or how old you are, everybody likes to laugh.

It’s an extremely powerful moment when two people that just met each other, can laugh together. During my time with PED, I laughed a lot, the pure, genuine kind of laugh you don’t really have anywhere else.

 

If you're interested in joining PED on a service trip to Uganda, learn more about our program or contact us with your questions at volunteer@pangeaeducation.org.

Bikes 4 Brews Rides for Education!

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Deana and Kristy are two women who know the power that education has on individuals. As volunteers in Uganda with PED this past summer, their eyes were opened to how much much heart and collaborative effort there is amongst PED’s organizers, communities, and schools. Both women were able to see the need for more sustainable solutions, so they decided to do something about it: bike for brews.

The Bikes 4 Brews team only requires two things: a love for bikes and a love for brews. Designed for the casual bike rider, the ride will bring together 13 riders beginning in Maywood and ending at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora.

If you want to get involved, you can support the team at the ride, at the end of the ride, or from far away places! 

PEDAL Crew Takes On Year 2 of Supporting PED!

 

Steve Tiseo is no stranger to the PED family. With co-founder Drew Edwards as his cousin, hearing about PED and its mission wasn’t anything new, until he met the rest of the PED team. “I was really impressed with how passionate each member of the organization was and how much of an impact they had, even when they sometimes lacked resources.”

Steve decided that he wanted to invest in PED’s mission and ensure that these resources were provided. Thus began PEDAL.

To Steve, PED is all about reaching out and utilizing communities and networks to move its mission forward.  PEDAL takes that same approach.  We connect riders through social rides and encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone a bit and challenge themselves to ride further than they are used to.

PEDAL’s first ride took place last December with about 12 riders raising nearly $8,000 to help fund the piggery project at the Gulu Remand Home. This year, the crew hopes to raise $5,000 with two shorter Bike & Brew rides. “We’re hoping to build our cycling community through a number of social rides, which will lead to another multi-day ride up the coast next spring,” says Tiseo.

Want to support this incredible group of riders? Check out their ride options and join them! And for those who aren’t serious bikers, Steve says not to worry. “This is not a race by any means! We’d rather have 20 people finish together… we really want this to be more about the experience.”

 

Help spread the word for this incredible group!

 

Why Uganda? Projects for All Founder Katrin Macmillan on Why Hello Hubs Are Important to Rural Communities

PED recently announced our collaboration with Projects for All to bring Hello Hubs to Uganda this fall. We sat down to discuss the partnership with Projects for All founder Katrin Macmillan and our shared vision to bring digital learning to more individuals throughout the country.

 

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1) What compelled Projects for All to partner with PED?

We always look for a local partner when we are launching Project Hello World in a new country. I met Pangea Educational Development through our talk at SXSW in Austin in 2014. After a series of conversations with Drew Edwards, we knew that Uganda would benefit from our work and that Pangea Educational Development would be an ideal partner.

In Uganda, in 2011, there were 439,143 children not enrolled in either primary or secondary education, an alarming statistic.   Projects For All’s mission is to provide educational materials to the most vulnerable and remote communities and individuals across the globe, so Uganda felt like the right next stop.

We look for partners who share our values and a community-led approach. We don’t like to simply do things for the communities we work with.  Like PED,  we challenge them to identify needs and come up with solutions themselves. This way of working takes longer but – in my view – it is the only really effective, and sustainable, approach.  From our first conversation with Drew it was clear that PED has a non-authoritarian approach and respect for the communities that they serve. We have felt very comfortable working with PED ever since that call.  I anticipate that this will be a long-term partnership.

 

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2) What was your first experience in Uganda like this past September?  

I joined Drew in Uganda last month to start the community process and identify the Hello Hub locations.

We met with community members described the project to them to see if they would find it useful and would be interested in working on a Hub with us.

We received encouraging and warm welcomes in all of the places that we visited.  Some communities use the Internet already, and others had no concept of it. But after discussions, many questions and debate, we were enthusiastically invited to partner with each of the communities.

There was a lovely moment when Drew explained the Internet to some of the community at Kidibui village. He said that it is like having every single Mzee (Swahili for ‘wise person’) in one place where you can ask them any question you like, at any time. I thought it was a clever way to introduce the concept of collective information, and people seemed to understand that would be a very useful tool!

We asked each of the Hub communities to make an investment in their Hello Hub, as equal partners alongside PED and Projects for All. This is always a new concept to those communities who are used to a traditional aid model, but it wasn’t a surprise to the communities that PED has been working in. They quickly agreed to invest time, labor, land, cement, management and their skills in the project. For us, success is entirely dependant on this partnership and equal investment.

 

3) What are you most looking forward to when it comes to the building process and the future of Projects for All and PED's partnership?

I am keen to get back to Uganda to see what the communities have accomplished in the intervening weeks – they were charged with leveling the ground, organising the community and assembling the building teams. It will be fun to actually start building with them, to get to know them better and learn about their lives. I met some inspiring adults who are working for their communities in difficult circumstances, and I met some gorgeous, joyful children.  I am very excited at the thought of seeing them all again.

I feel confident about Hello World in Uganda because of Drew and his team’s style of working with the community. I am very happy to be able to hand over some of the community organizing to Drew and Nathan.  This means that we will have a dedicated Hello World community team on the ground for the duration of the build.

My hope is that we can work with PED on many more builds across Uganda, particularly in Gulu, and have the PED team take a lead on the whole process. In this way we will be able to reach so many more children, more affordably and more efficiently.

Katrin would love to hear thoughts and feedback on this project from the wider Pangea Educational Development community. You can contact her directly at katrin@projectsforall.org

Interning with PED: An Immersive Experience

 

As an intern with PED this past June and July, Western Michigan University student Hannah Heenan has become more confident answering the inevitable question: what will you do after you graduate?

“Interning not only gave me insight into working with a nonprofit, but it emphasized for me the positives and negatives of community development,” she said. In addition to earning college credit towards her capstone class, Hannah has also seen growth in her passions and interests as a result of her time in Uganda. “It offered me the opportunity to get a taste of a possible career path and it definitely impacted my ideas for the future.”

While in country, Hannah worked to interview PED staff and teachers at PED partner schools to collect data on the organization’s volunteer program and determine ways to strengthen it. “As an intern with PED, I loved having the opportunity to travel through different regions of Uganda and have an immersive experience,” she explained.

 

When she first started exploring a global studies major in college, Hannah was fascinated by the different ways Africa and its countries were discussed.

“We studied Africa and learned about the cycle of dependency that Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) all too often perpetuate.” Hannah’s commitment to learning more led her to pursue studying abroad in Kenya during 2013, which ended quickly with the terrorist attacks taking place in the country at the time.

Hannah wanted to return to East Africa to avoid subscribing to what she calls “the single story,” so she began exploring internship opportunities with various non-profits. She then found PED.

“I aligned with PED’s emphasis on sustainable development. It’s not often that you find a nonprofit promoting that - PED has a very attractive model for an international nonprofit.”

She compares her brief experience in Kenya to her one in Uganda, appreciating the sense of community and family PED has built. “I really enjoyed going to work with Drew and Emily and their support with integrating into the culture. Those relationships helped me to identify with those around me and ease the transition.”

With one year left in her undergraduate career, Hannah has returned to the US with a better sense of self and the ability to communicate more clearly her desired plans for the future.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to join the PED family, check out our opportunities to volunteer in the US or volunteer in Uganda.