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A new year

Annual report 2019 – what was, what comes and what remains?

Dear Friends

As a new year begins, we often aspire to change an old habit or two. Alas, in Africa custom has it, that we bid to stay the way we are. Because our uniqueness is viewed as our greatest gift – even if it sometimes challenges us. That’s why, today, more than 1’200 kids, pupils and staff wish you a happy new year – and that you may remain the way you are!

January 1st is also a good day to thank for how we got here and to review what was, what remains and to ask what may be next.

What was: whose fate was lifted by Kids of Africa?

107 kids at our children’s village – growing from toddlers to responsible adolescents

When we write of our «fosterlings», we normally refer to those, whose entire protection has been entrusted upon us. They live in foster-families in our childrens’ village. They were directed to us through Ugandan government officials. To them, the fact that Kids of Africa has always emphasized that children belong to a family, not to an institutional dormitory, has always meant the world.

All our 107 fosterlings grew-up in stable foster-families. They developed skills, confidence and a deep sense of belonging. What’s true for families all over the world is true them, too. They study hard to make a difference. And raising them requires more resources than raising toddlers. But as a year passes, we can also see the rich reward of having invested into their education for many years.

Age-distribution at Kids of Africa:

More than 1’200 pupils – the difference, which our schools make

  • Kids of Africa has built five schools in Uganda in recent years. Three are already operating successfully. Two will open the doors next year. If I compare the costs for the construction, operation and accommodation of our students with those in Europe, then I see the great leverage that lies in every dollar that we can invest in education here. And: Because of their relative rarity, practical education makes a much greater difference in developing countries than in Europe.
  • We are good at education. Our management team in Uganda, which has worked excellently for many years, has developed an extraordinary core competence here. That shows up every year. Because in Uganda uniform year-end tests are carried out. Their results are being studied with great interest across the country and published accordingly by all newspapers. In the past few years, our three schools have almost always been among the top ten percent.

  • Our schools are also a regular contact point for parents, children and village communities. This community-character sets them apart from most others. Tricky questions can also be discussed and resolved here. Our schools in Alebtong and Nkosi Island illustrate this. Alebtong was once massacred by the rebel leader “Lord Kony” and his children’s army. Here our school helps to overcome deep wounds. Nkosi Island is an extremely poor, remote and densely populated fishing island. So far there has been no common space for the approximately 4,000 islanders. Our school relieves mothers in particular and creates a valuable refuge for the population.
  • At Kids of Africa, every student is unique. That’s why education must also be fitted to individual needs and talents. That is perhaps the deceptively simple secret for success for our teachers.
  • Our schools must operate sustainably. That’s why quality is our main concern. Because only good education leaves a sustainable impact. Thanks to the quality of our training, our schools can raise school-fees to fund scholarships for needy students. This is one of their important «win-wins».

Only good education works sustainably – see how all of our pupils have risen to the top

So, what’s next?

Three key challenges are waiting for us in 2020.

  1. First, we can expect to take on new proteges next year.
  2. Then a kind of “generational change” is in the offing, not only for the protégés, but also for older mothers.
  3. Thirdly, vocational training is becoming increasingly important. We especially emphasize the practical professions where the transition to employment is easier. We want to open our own vocational school in 2020 – an urgent and important project. We also want to open a rural comprehensive school next in the less educated region of Luwero. Numerous children and young people are urgently looking for education here. Both schools are designed for around 250 school places. And a forest-farm in Uganda’s hills will contribute not only to reforestation, but also create jobs and incomes for some of our young-ones.

Last but not least, once again, a big thank you for any support. Every dollar given goes to our kids. The work of Kids of Africa is urgently dependent on support.

What remains unchanged?

  1. Our work remains unanimously committed to the well-being of our protégés, our pupils. This, we believe, is our best contribution to the sustainable development of the people, families and societies of this country.
  2. We believe in the power of families, in education and in good health. This will remain our focus.
  3. We work non-profit, unbureaucratic and direct. Our protégés benefit directly from 100 percent of all donations, and I vouch for that. We do not employ any personnel in Switzerland, we bear travel and administrative costs out of our own pockets.

I personally wish you all the best in the coming year, greetings and I extend great gratitude to you.

Yours ever
Burkhard Varnholt

2020-01-27T10:30:08+01:0027. January 2020|
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