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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Parents stand up for Synergy!

We got goosebumps hearing about a recent meeting that the Synergy staff had with the parents of their Academy boys.   It wasn’t a “good news” meeting, but…. ooooh, it turned out well!  We’ve mentioned before (once or twice!) how tight finances are.  But we really needed to spell this out to our Synergy parents.  Because sometimes there can be an “expectation” – or at least a hope – that membership to the Academy will automatically mean stellar education (and other provision) for their child.
Ok, yes, it does mean stellar education for many!

If you know anything about Synergy, you’ll know how many kids’ lives have been changed by being part of Synergy…. Doors to previously unattainable quality education have opened for them, on the basis of their footballing talent!  But we can’t do everything – that’s the reality.

The success of our Senior Team has given our academy a reputation for quality and integrity, making our players attractive to many school sports coaches and scouts

Shoot the messenger?  Not these parents!  Their response, on hearing about the financial problems that Synergy was facing, was to stand up and be counted!  “Surely we can do something” was the cry – “if someone’s doing well, perhaps they could buy some books for Synergy students at school” and “for those of us who are farmers, we could bring some beans for players to eat!”.  The crux of it is this: parents are starting to invest in the idea of being an integral part of Synergy.   They are getting hold of the idea that we want to be in a partnership with them, investing in their child’s life.  They even proposed creating a “Synergy Parents Committee”.  Blinkin’ Awesome.  C’mon, admit it, that’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Wouldn't you want to help our these cuties??

Want to be partners with them in this?  Get in touch and we can tell you how!

You can play a part in transforming the lives of these young people in Masaka, Uganda!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Persist is exploding!

Bit of an alarming headline, no?  Not to worry, though: that’s our aim for our Leadership Academy young people – we want to see them exploding in their communities in many ways, including showing kindness to those in need, and being influential to others so that they can also live a good life.
Some of our Academy members
We know that Persist has the brains and the leadership skills (and there’s no doubt she has the beauty), but did you know that she can also teach?  That’s right, she’s been helping fellow women to learn about the arts and crafts that she does.  And the cost?  Not a penny.

A hat?  Or a work of art?
Maama Trinah is a qualified social worker, but she looked for jobs, she couldn’t find any.  She tells us: “I failed to find a job, and stayed home.  As time passed by, I came to know Persist and appreciate her craft, and I asked to be trained in that field. 

Beautiful handmade jewellery
"I brought my own materials, and then she would teach me.  I now can make earrings, bags, bangles and some other jewellery that I sell to a few customers I have.  For sure, I am very thankful to that young lady for giving me these skills.”  

Maama Trinah with some of her wares
Thank you so much Persist!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Running the race with our lads

Many of you will have heard of Synergy, but perhaps what you won’t know is that its genesis took place back in 2006 when we started organising local tournaments every Christmas in Masaka.  Two players who were part of our teams at River of Life back in those early days were Katongole and Andy, who were at school with some of our White Eagle lads at the time.

Shake to the left, shake to the right... here's Andy!

Fast forward 10 years and now Katongole and Andy are an integral part of our Synergy senior squad playing semi-professional football in Uganda’s 2nd tier: Big League. 

Keeper Katongole always has control of the ball!

What was it that drew them back into the fold, after many years pursuing their careers elsewhere around East Africa?  Well, in their own words, they tell us how Synergy is not like other teams who only care about results on the pitch.

Mid-match mentoring!

They love that Synergy provides care and support for them even when they aren’t playing football.  Whilst we may not be the top team in Uganda, we are one of very few that look to support our players in every area of their lives, and that is why many of our players refuse big money transfers to stay with us!  If you’re someone who loves sport and wants to see young people fulfil their potential, why not come and check out what Synergy is doing!

Running the race together

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Listen to mama!

We love telling you about our plucky little cuties on the Baby Unit.  But it’s not often that we hear from their mums. 

Kamusiime doing kangaroo care with her baby

We got the chance to chat with some of these lovely ladies, and here’s what they said: “We don’t know what would have happened to our babies if the Baby Unit at Kitovu didn’t exist.  For sure, there have been some babies brought to this Unit that we thought couldn’t possibly make it, but fortunately many go home after their stay in good health!  

Acting head nurse Irene giving baby Rachel a cuddle

We want to say a sincere thank you to the nurses at the Baby Unit who have taken good care of our children without complaining at any point.  They keep on checking on the babies 24 hours a day.  Yes, we know that they are paid to do this work, but some nurses are paid for work and yet they dodge their duties – that is not the case here.  Instead they are loving carers to us. A big thank you to our nurses and may God bless you so much.”

Some of our mummies with Irene
And just so you know, we didn’t interview this in the nurses’ presence – this stuff was straight from the heart.  Good work nurses, and thank you for your feedback, mummies!  And thank you to all of you who help us to keep the Baby Unit staffed and running!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fantastic feedback!

God put us here to prepare this place for the next generation. That's our job. Raising children and helping the community, that's preparing for the next generation. [Dikembe Mutombo]. 

Mutombo may have written that, but it’s true for all of us parents (whether our children are biological, adopted, or spiritual)! And raise children we will… starting one child at a time. So how do we know if we’re getting it right?

The White Eagles - full of beans after visiting week
Well, we were definitely encouraged to hear the feedback from one of the White Eagles’ relatives. She hadn’t seen her for a long time, and was astounded to see how much her behaviour and character had changed for the better. Just one more step towards “Seeing the Glory of God cover Uganda and the whole world through Church revival and community transformation”. Because community transformation happens one person at a time.

Annet, showing the servant heart we love to see in our young people
Come and see what we do… we’d love to show you! Or if you’d like to be a part of transforming, not only the lives of our children, but also the communities that they come from, then get in touch and find out how you can partner with us!

And who wouldn't want to hang out with these gorgeous human beings?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Brilliant Betty!

One thing that African women are well known for is their resourcefulness, and Ugandan women are no exception. So why aren’t more women able to pull in an income adequate to support their families?

Part of the reason is that it can be expensive to start something up. And simple crafts that sell well do require skills and training that women may not have the opportunity to obtain. Wouldn’t it be great if there was someone able to teach you not only crafts, but also share wisdom on which types sell well? Step forward Elder Betty!

We’ve talked about the heart that Betty has for the people in our community – and she loves to connect with our brothers and sisters in Bujja Church plant by making the trek over to join them for their Wednesday evening gathering. This time, though, she went a bit early for some time with the ladies.

Betty told us: “I know how to make crafts, and many of the ladies in this church don’t have anything to do that helps them to earn money, so I thought that it would be such a good opportunity for them to learn about crafts, which they could then sell them to neighbours. I am happy to give my skill to my fellow ladies.”

We talked to some of the ladies in the learning group, and they said that it was such a privilege for them to acquire a skill that would help them earn some money, and thanked Elder Betty for thinking about them.  Awesome work, Betty! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Flying higher by the day!

Big news for Ivan Mujuzzi! You’ll remember that he’d successfully completed his Senior 6 year at Masaka Secondary School, and was dreaming of becoming an architect?

Ivan and Victor having finished A levels!
Well he’s moving closer and closer to the dream, having been accepted to Kyambogo University, Kampala – one of the most highly regarded places to study architecture in Uganda. Hard to hide his smile, really, and who would want him to?

All smiles!
And he’s continued to inspire us by his conduct during the vacation, not only being an honest and re-liable employee, working with another ex-White Eagle, Big Charles, in a local photo studio, but also helping faithfully with the technical sides of church, manning the projector with aplomb, and getting involved whenever he can.

Helping out in the Community
Mujuzzi told us: “I am really happy that I have been given a place to study at Kyambogo University after a long struggle. I will start studying this very month. A big thank you to the different people who have encouraged me along the way, and I promise that I am going to do my best at University, with God as my guide.” Well done Mujuzzi!

Here's how we fly high at River of Life!