Happy Tuesday! We have an urgent need that recently came up, and since we have some of most generous friends on the planet we’re spreading the word! Many of you know we have a group of kiddos in what we call our child-led household program (in some circles they’d be called double orphans, but we hate that word!). Samuel is the youngest of 5 children. Their grandma was in our literacy program and was caring for them until her death, which is when we stepped in. Two of the older children have sponsors, but Samuel and two of his teenaged sisters lost their sponsors recently. Sponsorship is $125/month which covers boarding school and whatever they need when home on breaks. Why is our child sponsorship more expensive that our village sponsorships or child sponsorship for other organizations? Great question! Child sponsorship is more expensive because one person (or two, max) sponsors the child rather than smaller donations being pooled to fund a village literacy center. This is because you become that child’s “auntie” or “uncle” and are encouraged to visit them in person or FaceTime them during one of our trips if possible to develop more of a relationship. We want our kids to know they’re not alone. Even though the family of origin may no longer be on this side of heaven, they have an extended family both in Uganda and across the ocean. Who doesn’t need more people to love them?!? If you want to sponsor Samuel, artist extraordinaire and all-around amazing kid, let us know!!

Click HERE to sign up today!

The backbone of our entire work is funded by our monthly donors (so many of YOU!), but occasionally, we have needs that extend beyond that into opportunities for one time gifts. Some of those are special projects that we fund like wells and emergency medical needs while others are more ongoing needs like the school fees of our mamas’ kids that come up 3x per year. These school fees are paid 2/3 by our monthly donors, with the rest “topped off” by one time donations. This time, though, we thought we’d not just ask for your gifts, but give you some information about the current need and what measures we are taking to make sure we continue to be good stewards of our finances and wise listeners of our team on the ground. Especially since for some of you, this is the first you’re hearing of school fees while others of you have been around for a long time! (If you already know the gist and want to skip it all and donate to our LAST BIG school fees ask now, click HERE to donate on our website or HERE to go to paypal giving fund!



Our School Fees Program: A brief history of snow balls (in Uganda?)

  • 10 years ago we started with 600 mamas in our program (so perhaps it can be said we started with a snowball right out of the gate with 600 moms within the first year!). We loved them dearly and as we loved them and got to know them we realized…most of their (brilliant) children were not attending school because they couldn’t afford the fees.
  • Initially, we raised money individually for each child to attend school!
  • Later, we started a monthly sponsorship program that would empower our mamas and allow a small amount to build up over 4 months time for school fees due 3x per year (the way the Ugandan education system works). Then, when school fees were due — we’d have most of the needs covered and simply raise in one time gifts whatever wasn’t covered by monthly giving. This is still true today. (just with loooooooots more mamas and lottttts more kids—- hence the snowball).
  • School fees were absolutely necessary because our mamas were in no financial condition to provide them. We have children who have gone on to graduate from prestigious universities, become teachers and doctors and build their mamas’ houses who would not have had any educational opportunities without our help. We even have an alumni association that the students have put together on their own!!! 
  • Over the years our program has grown from 600 mamas to 3,000, which would add approximately 5 billion children to the school fees program, or so it seems 🙂
  • School fees across Uganda have risen along with the number of children, so for the past few years we’ve had to raise an average of $60,000-65,000 per term. Depending on monthly giving, this has meant raising one time gifts of $5,000-$20,000 at one time to help our moms keep their kids in school!

What’s Next???

  • As we listen to our Ugandan leadership and lean in to what is working best on the ground, our leaders are telling us — it’s time to begin to let our mamas take on their kids’ education now!!! Over the next years, they want us to focus our efforts on more empowerment and business training and hand the autonomy back to the mamas to take the responsibility over for their own kids’ school fees.
  • We have already started to scale back this year. Our “bill” this year is $51,000 instead of $64,000 per school term. (They were going to scale back even more — but some moms couldn’t handle it. We appreciate our staff for watching for kids who would have dropped out and bumping our bill up by $6,000 even though it makes us nervous to try to raise that much more!)
  • Full scale back of school fees on our part with Full Autonomy of Moms handling educational needs by the end of 2024 or 2025. (We are leaving room for the team in Uganda to decide!)
  • Any mamas who legitimately need additional help with school fees will still get it. For instance, if we have a mama with special needs or a foster mama who is raising additional children, and she is working hard but still can’t cover the cost, we want to maintain an educational fund for that use.


So, as of this year….

  •  New mamas who join the program do not get school fees. This hasn’t been an issue because they don’t come in expecting them. They are highly motivated to get their businesses running successfully because they want their babies to get an education, and they are killing it!
  • Mamas who have been getting school fees were told in 2022 that they’d be empowered to take on their own kids’ fees so they can plan accordingly. Our Ugandan staff believe this is well within their abilities – given enough time and planning –  so it is an uncomfortable but highly doable adjustment. (there will be growing pains!)
  • As stated above, the scale back began this year. It’ll be more pronounced next year. Depending on how that goes, our team on the ground will advise us on if school fees will be necessary in 2025. We are open to it, but listening to their leadership. We want our moms to be autonomous, but also recognize how difficult it is! The scale back DOES mean this will be our last year of large school fees needs! Next year, our needs should be either completely or almost completely covered by monthly donations (assuming we gain instead of losing monthly donors)!


Now for the big ask for THIS term (the last term of the 2023 school year):

After monthly gifts and a $6,000 grant — our need for one time donations for this school term is: (drumroll please)


Would you consider making a one-time tax-deductible donation to help us cover school fees this year?

click HERE to donate on our website or HERE to go to paypal giving fund! (paypal covers transaction fees)

You can also Venmo us at @HealandThriveGlobal