Meet Pauline A letter from Julia Pettengill, Executive Director
This holiday season, I’d like to share with you a truly inspiring story that YOU made possible with your support, and I’d like to ask for your help in continuing the incredible work we are doing together.
When young Pauline entered the Primary section at the URDT Girls’ School in 2010, her family was living in a poorly constructed mud house and was barely surviving on subsistence farming. Her family struggled to stay healthy due to poor nutrition, lack of basic sanitation, and insufficient medical care.
Through the family-centered educational approach of the URDT Girls’ School, things at home began to improve. By her second year, Pauline and her family were cultivating an acre of bananas and coffee, which were sold in the marketplace to increase their household income. Pauline and her family saved enough money to purchase materials for constructing a permanent brick house. They also planted 18 mango trees, each of which now produces 200-300 fruits annually. Selling these in the marketplace has given them substantially increased economic autonomy.
As Pauline’s story has unfolded, YOU have been our partner all along, and we are so grateful. As we approach our year-end we need your support to fully take advantage of a unique opportunity. The Schooner Foundation is offering a challenge matching grant, for every $2 raised, Schooner Foundation will donate $1, through the end of year.
Pauline’s inspiring story does not end here. By staying in school, her future income has increased too. Statistics show that for each additional year of primary school, Pauline, like other girls in rural Uganda, will earn 10-20% more once she enters the workforce.
Pauline is currently in the Secondary section of the URDT Girls’ School. Through the two-generation approach to education, Pauline and her family are working together and continuing to increase their revenue, creating more opportunities for economic growth. In the past two years, Pauline’s family has completed construction of their brick house, built a latrine and purchased solar panels. Her family is also now raising 15 goats and 4 pigs for further income generation.
Statistics reflect that Pauline is now three times less likely to be HIV positive. She will also marry later and have fewer, healthier babies than if she had not attended Secondary school. She will invest 90% of her earnings into her children, thereby increasing the quality of Uganda’s future workforce.
Pauline’s transformation has been astounding, and her future looks bright. She will graduate and become one of less than 8% of Ugandan women who have completed Secondary education. If Pauline goes on to attend university, she will be one of less than 0.3% of women in East Africa entering college.
With her family now thriving, they are less likely to depend on her to support them financially after she graduates. Because you have invested in her education, she will be free to continue to invest in herself and her future. Pauline is just one girl, but she represents millions of girls in rural Uganda. Please make a year-end gift so more girls like Pauline can transform their lives.
URDT Girls’ School and its impact is just one part of an integrated approach to rural development and poverty alleviation. Programs also include a Vocational Institute for young men and women, a community radio station reaching over 1 million listeners with educational programming, the African Rural University for women which is training the next generation of rural development leaders, and much more. We need your help to maintain our momentum and achieve even more.
In order to meet the challenge match generously offered by the Schooner Foundation, we are all going to need to stretch. We are calling on all of our loyal friends and supporters to help us to rise together to meet this challenge.
Warmest wishes for the holiday season,
Julia Pettengill, the AFPF Board and Staff