Because of you, TODAY we can say “Happy Graduation” to the first Clover class to finish primary school. They have been with us for nine years and, with your continued support, they will be just the first of many Clover graduating classes. We could not be more proud.
Clover Vice Chair, Evelyn Abayaah, wrote in last year’s letter about her experience growing up and the enormous impact that education provides to children in underserved communities. This rite of passage – Graduation Day – is so important because few of the children living in extreme poverty in the Busega neighborhood of Kampala, Uganda can obtain the quality education needed to brighten their futures. Graduating primary school is a monumental achievement.
Clover’s annual operating budget of $125,000 is modest by comparison with its enormous impact. Next year alone, your support will allow us to foster a love of learning in 40 students at the home of our school director Esther Makumbi and 53 others who attend Eaglets Academy. It’s hard for us in the U.S. to imagine how this small investment can change the life of a child and the trajectory of their families, but I can assure you the impact is enormous. Just read the stories of recent graduates Sharon, Joseph and Lawrence and you will see how we are changing the lives of not just students, but their families and an entire community.
As we approach our Tenth Anniversary, I am in awe of your generous support, which provides a safety net in a world where there is limited support of any kind for families, especially those headed by single mothers. The preschool you have helped to create and sustain over the past decade extends well beyond the walls of three small classrooms and a garage at Esther’s home. It is a haven where kids can be kids – where they can play and learn and dream of a life beyond their impoverished environment.
I remember the first time I visited the preschool in 2017. I was overcome by the heartfelt welcome by the mothers. That feeling has stayed with me since, especially now as we honor Clover’s founder, Peter Hilton, who passed away in October. While all of us at Clover are deeply saddened by Peter’s passing, we remain committed to fulfilling his promise to nurture the most vulnerable children and families of Busega by providing academic, medical, nutritional, and economic support.
The new school year starts next month. Our students will return to an improved campus with the addition of a fourth classroom for Primary 1 students. Keeping our students on the Clover campus for an added year, particularly as we come out of the global pandemic, ensures that we continue to close the gap of any learning lost during the school shutdown. I want you to know how important this change is as schools in Uganda were closed from March 2020 until February 2022 – the longest school system shutdown in the world.
I want to thank you for nurturing Clover families and giving them a chance to flourish. Kids are kids everywhere and they thrive when they receive the totality of support needed to grow and develop physically, cognitively, and socially-emotionally. Every day, the lessons learned from Peter’s example and from the Ugandan community guide us as we carry out Clover’s mission. With your help, we will bolster the inherent vibrancy and sense of connectedness that makes these children and families resilient.
I ask that you please consider making a gift to Clover again this year. Rampant inflation in Uganda will impact salaries, tuition, and food, stretching our budget even further than in the past. Your gift is vital to Clover so we can continue to educate and support our students despite these cost increases. Your generosity can make a significant impact.