More Chess News

For the 2018 spring Ugandan Chess National Championships our Busoga team did their very best. Nevertheless, they were unable THIS time to bring home any medals.
We introduced Chess to Busoga several years after we did at Kagoma Gate, so the Busoga kids are still building strength. At this year’s tournament, they learned great lessons and gathered more experience.
Given all this, of course we are very proud of them. In fact, I am predicting Busoga’s first medalist will emerge at the next event.

Better Housing for our Teachers

In a country where only 33% of children complete primary school, we can look to Kagoma Gate village for another marker of great success. In the pictures we see the first of four residential buildings that will be erected in Kagoma Gate. Each building will offer four apartments, representing a level of housing in which great stature is attained by residing there. We have two reasons for planning this construction.
The first is to reward the hard work of our teaching staff.
The second and possibly more important is to convince the children and villagers of the importance of education. With teachers having access to this housing, there will be hard evidence of the resulting benefits of pursuing education.
Either of these goals is sufficient for us to guarantee that teachers do not live in mud huts.
Thanks so much to TGC team member Dr. Scott Hudson for providing the means for this first structure. During this year’s trip, Scott will be adding solar power and lighting to the building. And of course thanks go to Emma Walubi for designing and building this important housing.

Good News From The Worlds Of Chess and Academia

GREAT news on two fronts!
The first concerns our chess stars.
Information is starting to come in from the Ugandan Chess Primary School National Championships.
So far we’ve only gotten news about our Kagoma Gate team. But it is sterling!
Our Kagoma Gate School finished 3rd of 11 teams!!! Check out that trophy. Plus, as individuals, the team produced FOUR champion medalist. As you can see in the photo, our group of four medalists are made up of three girls and one boy.
We’re expecting more terrific news about our Busoga School team shortly.

Academically, we have reason to crow also. And we could not be more proud.
Less than seven years ago we walked into a terribly poor village, Kagoma Gate. It was so poor that it was called the “forgotten village.” And yet in 2017 thirty-eight of this village’s children sat for the national exam for promotion onto secondary school. ALL but one passed (and she will pass this year!). In other words, in 2017 our thirty-eight students comprised the FIRST candidate class EVER from this village. To put this into context, consider that in Uganda 67% of children drop out before completing primary school. From our TGCA Kagoma Gate School, thirty eight sat/ took the national exam and all passed or will pass.
Further good academic news comes in from our Busoga school, where attendance has become the norm for school aged children. This success is documented by the fact that ALL qualified students passed the national test.
In a country where only 33% of children complete primary school, we can look to Kagoma Gate village for great success. Here, where just a few years ago there were no educational opportunities, so much has been accomplished. And our efforts in the Busoga school have been more than well rewarded. We must thank so many of you for these great reports. Please keep standing with us, there is so much more to be done. This includes a plan for our Teachers University with its new system of Collaborative Hybrid Curriculum that in time will assure that the percentage of children completing primary school will zoom towards the sky.
We are so very proud of these kids, the teaching staff, our great TGCA leadership staff, our friend Robert Katende Initiative and his trainers, and all of you who help make these dreams come true.

We need to send special thanks to one of our teachers, Peter Kutosi, for this update. It has brought a great deal of joy into an otherwise tough day.

Happy Teachers’ Day: Where Would We Be Without You?

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day to ALL who set out to open the world to children through education, in fact through the very best education their selfless dedication can produce.
Thank you & Happy Teacher Appreciation Day to ALL The Giving Circle teachers everywhere – including those on board now and all those who will join us. You serve our children with compassion, guidance, time, hard work, and quality instruction. With this support, our children will break the chains of ignorance and oppression.
Mahatma Gandhi said “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” We are doing exactly that. And, as we do, ripples from our efforts are starting to radiate.
Because of so many of YOU, we have two schools in Africa and are about to construct another school in Afghanistan with a friend. In addition, we are hard at work developing our Koi Koi Teachers University. The university’s systems can – check that – WILL change the face of education in the poorest schools in Uganda first. The ripple effects of this effort will then spread throughout the world. Eventually, thousands of small satellite schools will employ a Collaborative Hybrid Curriculum that will be developed with its basis in listening to the community and showing RESPECT for the community’s existing values. We must accomplish this for EVERY child, regardless of the child’s being “healthy” or disabled, let alone brilliant or “slow.” We must never, ever, ever give up on a child. It’s true that not all learn at the same pace or in the same way. But ALL can learn and ALL have the potential to change the world. The only factor needed is someone to educate them and believe in them. And for that we have teachers.

Horizons Are Widened

Ok some happy news. In fact two items!

Story 1- Moses let me know that today marked the end of the first term for 2018. The parents and guardians of the newest of our deaf and disabled children came together with their children. Moses tells us that many expressed joy and surprise at the academic achievement of their kids.
Thanks to so many of YOU, these children (previously forgotten and even thrown away) are receiving an education and so much more.

Story 2 – We are VERY HAPPY and proud to announce that our 2018-19 Kagoma Gate and Busoga chess teams have safely arrived at the venue in Mukono near Kampala and this afternoon reported for the tournament. The tournament runs until May 10. Of course we’ll keep you posted of the progress. Fingers crossed for more National Champions!!! I’m ready to have special shirts made for the Champions in time for this summer’s trip.
And, as always, this has been accomplished thanks to so many of you.
This year we will be adding 2 more in school tournaments during the team trip, In addition to the chess and scrabble tournaments, this year we’re adding a spelling bee and math bee. We’re introducing a new game too: Sumoku. According to the company, “Sumoku is a unique crossword-style game with numbers. Whether you are looking for a fast-paced challenge with friends, a solo brain building pastime, or an addictive math game that brings the whole family together, Sumoku has it all. It can be played five different ways! Just add up tiles to multiples of the number shown on the die, connect them all together, and you have a Sumoku! Look no further for a cool math game.” We can thank a very cool company, Blue Orange. Check them out at http://www.blueorangegames.com/.

Reminder from Moses of our Progress with Structures

strong>Four years ago this was our worse building at Busoga. We have since taken it down and built the very nice and even beautiful block with three large class rooms. Erected of concrete with a slab roof, we plan to convert it into a two story structure eventually. The top story will house a computer lab and library that will forever serve the children of our Busoga school and also those attending our three year teachers college.

Moses Reports Progress On KoiKoi University

Was so happy and proud to receive this today from Moses Wambi

“Today was day three of serious preparations for term two. The university concept and need is becoming vivid and the students to be are eager. School administrators and founders are already thankful that this university is already providing practical solutions to historical challenges to the never thought of group of schools.
Mr. Gusango did a every beautiful job on day one and every one present appreciated why we need to equip our teachers further for a better community and society. Long live TGCA”
This is how and why TGC/TGCA has always and will always be successful. One year ago in July in a cafe in Jinja I had asked Moses Wambi to bring me someone like him, i.e. a true leader in education in Uganda, one most concerned about the state of education in a country where 67% of children do not finish primary school. I told Moses I had an idea, a vision of how we might change this, first in the Busoga region of Uganda, then all of Uganda, and then further and wider. That day the seed started to grow in Moses and Mr. Gusango H Emmanuel who will become Director and President of The KoiKoi Teachers University. So began The Giving Circle’s teaching University with a system like no other with it’s Collaborative Hybrid Curriculum.
A seed was “planted organically.” The organic team has started building, making ready for construction of a MOST solid foundation and building. TEAM work with the organic location working hard since the seed was planted a year ago this June. Since that meeting last June our team, teachers, and schools have been making ready. After our teachers conference in Feb the fire was fully lit.
This seed is taking deep roots now. The US team is working hard, making ready for a perfect presentation of our plan and vision to US Teacher Colleges and Foundations. We will find the partner we need, then it is our job to build together a near perfect Collaborative Hybrid Curriculum. We’ll prove that this concept, this vision works by getting great results in teachers and the children/ students in their results – test scores and success — then will come the ripples!!!
Better teachers, with better skills and tools, will make for better schools and students, and ultimately provide for their brighter futures.

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Blast from Our Past: WQRC On The Gulf Coast

A flash from the past: in the early days of The Giving Circle, back in Hancock, Ms/ Waveland. The top picture was posted by one of the heroes of Hurricane Katrina, Brice L. Phillips, owner and operator of WQRZ radio. You’ll find a great NPR piece on Brice at https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php…
Brice, my friend, I remember that day well. This was the only time I got a smile from you. And the smile emerged despite how hard it was for you to see us take your home and station down. The buildings went down, but neither you nor WQRC ever did. To this day Brice is always there with music, talk, and weather warnings.
Back then the storm took WQRZ away and we did ultimately rebuild it. But in the meantime, Brice risked his life to keep it on the air to give news, music, and a voice. During the same time, most of the other – and generally far larger – stations were off the air for weeks.

Most of the pictures are of our progress as we tore down and rebuilt Brice’s home and station. FEMA had promised they would get that done. But, upon flying home, we got the info that FEMA would not tear it down. So, we boarded a plane and flew back. TJ, a bobcat chain, and I did the job.

Finally, we have two pictures of the headset wearing Mayor Tommy Longo, another true hero of Hurricane Katrina for his city of Waveland, Ms. In the second of the pair, I can’t quite place the younger good looking guy in the green shirt and black hat, but he’s wearing my hat and green shirt. Hmmm
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Annual Art Auction May 24

Announcing the annual art auction to benefit The Giving Circle Africa and World’s Windows Inc.
This year at 6:30pm on May 24, 2018 at Bethlehem Central Middle School.

We are looking for donations of art, antiques, and collectibles for our International Children’s Art Auction. All proceeds to benefit The Giving Circle Africa and World’s Window Inc. Please help impoverished children to get a well deserved education

The art comes from children and street artists around the world, as well as local students and artists. Half of the proceeds are donated to The Giving Circle and half to World’s Window, Inc. These two great organizations fund education for children in Uganda and Belize.

For more information contact Bill Reilly wreilly@bethlemschools.org

Generous Donation of Soap and Such for the Ugandan Trip

A special thanks to Brian and Heather Straughter, founders of Jakes Help from Heaven (http://www.jakeshelpfromheaven.org/, and to Turf Hotels (http://www.turfhotels.com/) for their donation of cases of soaps and lotions for our upcoming team trip to our Ugandan projects. Their kindness is boundless!