Part 1 – Chance Encounter
Mamma Mariah was at home in her hometown in Uganda one day during the height of COVID with a lot of things on her mind. She was struggling to feed her three children and was not sure where she would find the money for that very evening’s meal.
Her business, selling wares at a market in Kampala, was down significantly because of the pandemic. Her husband, a boda-boda (motorbike taxi) driver, had also taken a massive income hit since people were not traveling as much.
Their two incomes, which had barely covered their living expenses before, were now so low they could barely afford food for their family.
Then Teacher Oliver, a woman Mamma Mariah had known for a number of years, and who happened to be in her neighborhood that day, passed by her home and caught sight of her.
Teacher Oliver was happy to see Mamma Mariah and the two struck up a conversation.
That encounter was the beginning of major changes in Mamma Mariah’s life and that of her daughter, Mariah.
During the conversation, Teacher Oliver noticed the children playing outside behind Mamma Mariah. Being a teacher working with young children, she knew immediately that something was not right. They were out and about but looked malnourished.
“Are those your children?” She asked.
“Yes,” came the response.
“How many do you have?”
“Do they go to school?”
Part 2 – A New Life
Teacher Oliver went on to explain to Mamma Mariah about the Clover Foundation School. “Maybe we can take one of the children off your shoulders and help you with school fees,” she said, “Come and visit us at the school and we will see what we can do.”
A few days later, Mamma Mariah visited the Clover school with her three children. They spoke to Esther and Teacher Oliver. Mariah was the right age to join the baby class and she was accepted into Clover Preschool. That was in January 2022.
“They picked Mariah and I thank God for this,” said Mamma Mariah. “She was just the right age to start school.”
She says that Mariah has brightened up since she started going to the school. She is healthier and much happier now. “I have gotten really good things from Clover, my child is in school, they give her everything. She has learned how to write and she can speak good English. She didn’t know how to write, but can now even write up to 10.”
She has seen her daughter change in other ways. Mariah was constantly hungry before and, like her siblings, often hungry even after their scant meals had been eaten.
Now, with the nutrition program that Clover provides, Mariah does not worry about food anymore. “She is fed very well,” Mamma Mariah says. “When she gets home she doesn’t even want to drink tea or eat anything else, maybe later in the evening. She says they give her tea, bread, and many other things. She tells me that she always thanks Teacher Rose for serving her.”
She ends off with a word of gratitude. “I would love to thank the people at Clover really so much. We really appreciate them, because Mariah would still be seated home were it not for them.”
Part 3 – A Holistic Approach
Commenting on Mariah’s transformation, Clover Preschool School Director, Esther Makumbi said that when Mariah first came into Clover it was evident she was malnourished. “From the first day I met her, it was clear that Mariah was struggling. It was evident she lacked sufficient feeding. She lacked confidence, and was not happy.”
She spoke about how when she was first admitted to the school, the little girl could not make it to class every day. “When Mariah first came in, she used to miss school a lot, because she was often sick, or unable to make it to school for some other reason, so we knew they were struggling back home.”
“We have done our best at Clover Foundation to see that our children get nutritious meals at school. On top of that, we support Mariah’s mother in Kisoboka, an initiative that gives some of our parents interest-free loans so that they can support their other children at home. We have also introduced our mothers, including Mamma Mariah, to backyard gardening as a way to help them boost the nutritional value of the food they give their families using healthy, fresh, home-grown food.”
Clover currently has 45 students at its preschool, all from some of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Busega. All of our students who graduate from Clover’s preschool go on to Eaglets Academy, an elementary school in the area.
There are currently 53 students supported by Clover at Eaglets Academy. Last year, 25 students who had received support from Clover for their education graduated from Eaglets.
Esther notes that Clover is now just over 10 years old and is working tirelessly towards its mission to help to eradicate poverty in the slums of Busega in Kampala, Uganda.
Clover not only provides an education and a nutrition program for the children it supports, but also healthcare support and help with empowering their parents to be self-sustaining through various projects and skills.
“Right now as I speak, Mariah is a confident young girl. She goes out to play with the others. Her health has improved and she comes to school regularly,” Esther caps off her recounting of a Clover success story.
Call to Action
There is a saying in Africa that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Clover is a critical part of the village raising and educating some of the most impoverished children in Busega, Uganda, giving them hope for the future. We need your help to ensure Mariah and the other children at Clover can continue to attend school in 2024.
Every penny helps. Click here to donate.