As author Chinua Achebe’s novel states, “Things fall apart.” For Mustard Seed students caught in those situations, we built Rapha’s House. It is a home for healing, located right across the road from the Primary School campus.
Mustard Seed students all join the school while living in town with parents or guardians. But, as students get older, sometimes the family situation changes. Sometimes parents separate. Sometimes a single parent dies. Sometimes a parent loses a job and can no longer afford the rent in town. Sometimes a child is abused. Things fall apart, but the impact is cushioned for MSA students. With the guardian’s permission, the student moves into Rapha’s House. Many brothers and sisters are there to befriend them. A housemother and housefather care for the kids. The apartment for the social worker is on the same compound, and she participates in the family life.
The quality of care and healing of Rapha’s House is reflected by the students who stay there. Although their backgrounds are among the most broken, they are among the happiest and most successful of all the MSA scholars. What a testimony to the healing power of love.
In 2006, RPU board member Judy Sconyers came back from her second trip to Uganda. She couldn’t get the young teen-age girls off her mind. She shared with her sister, Nancy Squires, the plight of these girls. After they finish primary school (7th grade), they have no opportunity for further education unless someone pays for it. Few parents have money for more schooling, and if there is a little money, boys are given preference.
Judy and Nancy hatched an idea that became a life-changing program called “Nancy’s Girls.” Over 100 young women from Lukaya have been educated beyond their dreams because of this program. Most have completed college and are working in solid, income-producing jobs. The few who didn’t complete the program still have succeeded in breaking the cycle of poverty. Through Nancy’s Girls, they have more education and skills than 70% of their peers. This gives the girls a broader, richer perspective on their lives. It helps them to be self-reliant, increases their standard of living, and benefits their children.
Career Opportunity Pathways (COP)
The question of what students should do after Secondary 4 led to a program that has lots of admirers. We took a hard look at what would be the best use of the two years after the UCE. We found that it would be a different answer for different students. It all depends on individual interests and aptitudes.
The traditional path in Uganda is two more years of high school education–Advanced levels (A levels). This might lead to being accepted at a university for a professional program. But, it might not. Our Ugandan leaders told us about students who finished A levels and were not able to go on to college. For them, the two years were wasted time and money. Many could not find work until they completed a certificate in a practical course.
Why not give each Mustard Seed Secondary graduate the opportunity to take a two-year pathway to a career? Choices include teaching, farming, business, technical institutes, nursing, catering, and hotel management.
Nearly all who completed Mustard Seed Secondary have chosen to join COP. George Kateregga, General Manager, Tree of Life Ministries, is so dedicated to the COP program that he calls himself “Headmaster–COP.” The feedback from the students is unanimously positive, and finding a good job has been easy for them. Employers comment on their good English, work ethic, discipline, and ‘smartness.’ A Mustard Seed education plus two years in the COP program leads to big dreams coming true!
You can sponsor one of the COP students or contribute to the higher education program in general.