Book Sale Success

DSC_0042This spring, The Mwebaza Foundation’s 6th Annual Book Sale Fundraiser was a huge success! This year, Niwot Elementary and Eagle Crest Elementary held separate book sales. This allowed each school to send all funds it raised directly to its own individual partner school.
The funds raised at Niwot Elementary are allocated for the construction of a new secondary/middle school in the nearby town of Nkungulutale. This new school will accommodate students who graduate from Mwebaza Primary School and middle school students from the village of Nkungulutale.
The funds raised at Eagle Crest Elementary will assist in the development of a sustainable lunch program at their partner school, Empakasi Primary School in Kenya.
Altogether, the funds raised from the sale of second-hand books, framed batiks, and beautiful African beaded jewelry amounted to an astounding $4,900. The Mwebaza Foundation sincerely thanks all the volunteers and participants of this year’s book sales.

Mwebaza Day Celebration

DSC_0119On December 5th,  Niwot Elementary celebrated Mwebaza Day with their sister school, Mwebaza Primary School. The morning started with a school assembly where the students were able to Skype with their pen pals from Kyengera, Uganda. The Niwot students, dressed in the colors of the Ugandan flag, performed popular American songs and a traditional Ugandan beat and dance that they had rehearsed. The students at Mwebaza School presented songs and dances they had created along with a popular American Christmas carol that they had learned. The Boulder Bike Underpass Choir volunteered their time to come and sing traditional African songs during the assembly. Throughout the day, the students at Niwot toasted to their Ugandan pen pals with passion fruit juice- a popular Ugandan drink. They spent time that day to reflect on their special relationship with their sister school in writing. At the end of the day, all of Niwot Elementary joined in a drum beat broadcasted through the school intercom to reflect the unity among themselves and their friends abroad. Mwebaza Day was featured on the front page of the Longmont Times-Call newspaper. You can find the article at: http://www.timescall.com/news/longmont-schools/ci_24665706/niwot-elementary-students-perform-their-ugandan-pen-pals.

Former Niwot Student, Lily Schilling, Secures Jackets for Ugandan Students

Lily Schilling, a former Niwot student, worked with her mother, Peggy Barrett, to secure hundreds of lightweight jackets for Ugandan students.  Peggy works for Pearl Izumi in Louisville, Colorado. When Lily found out that Pearl Izumi had some extra jackets to donate, she thought first of Niwot’s Ugandan pen pals.  Lily expressed her desire to have the jackets benefit the children of Mwebaza School, and Peggy worked out the details.  These lovely jackets will be transported to Mwebaza School with a team that visits Uganda in 2013.  Thank you to Lily, Peggy, and Pearl Izumi for the generous and thoughtful donation!

Welcome, Ms. Namatovu Catherine!

After a long couple of years and two previous, frustrating attempts, Ms. Namatovu Catherine, the headmistress of Mwebaza School, will set foot in the U.S. for the very first time!  On Monday, December 5th, she will arrive in Denver for a lengthy 3 ½ week stay in Colorado.   After years of anticipation, so many teachers, staff members, students, and parents are eagerly waiting her arrival.

Several key components allowed us to finally secure a travel visa for Ms. Namatovu.  These include Mwebaza Foundation President Dale Peterson’s recent award from People to People International, Congressman Jared Polis’ staff working to convince the U.S. embassy in Uganda of Ms. Namatovu’s integrity, and the help of a generous immigration lawyer from Boulder (Megan Hall, Green & Gardner Law Firm).  Ms. Hall assisted Ms. Namatovu in assembling a portfolio showing her strong ties to her home country.  Of course, much credit can be attributed to Ms. Namatovu’s hard work, persistence, and faith.

During her stay in Colorado, Ms. Namatovu has a busy and exciting agenda planned.  After a short time to recuperate from traveling, she will be visiting and observing classrooms at Niwot Elementary, as well as giving classroom presentations to Niwot students about Mwebaza School and Ugandan culture.  Then, on December 15th, there will be a culminating, all-school, “All-American” celebration in honor of the cross-cultural friendship between Niwot and Mwebaza schools.  In addition to spending time at Niwot Elementary, Ms. Namatovu will be visiting Coyote Ridge, Lyons, and Eagle Crest Elementary Schools, where she will deliver more classroom presentations.

Sprinkled amongst her work at schools, Ms. Namatovu will be enjoying a myriad of social events, including holiday gatherings, sight-seeing, dinners out, and even spending the holiday in Durango and Colorado Springs with the Peterson family.  New experiences such as sledding, a Narrow Gauge Train ride, and a visit to Garden of the Gods and Seven Falls will culminate her travels.

It is with gratitude and warmth that we welcome Ms. Namatovu to Colorado!

MF President Recognized with Award from International Organization

Dale Peterson, President and Founder of the Mwebaza Foundation, recently accepted an award from People to People International (PtPI).  Peterson received PtPI’s “School and Classroom Community Service Project Award” for his work through the Mwebaza Foundation.  The award was presented at PtPI’s Global Youth Forum in Kansas City on November 12.

The award is given to a teacher who has actively worked to develop student cross-cultural understandings through a connection with a foreign school.  Peterson fostered a friendship between his first grade class and Mwebaza School in Uganda.  He was originally connected to Mwebaza School through PtPI’s School Program.  The international friendship that resulted eventually transformed into the Mwebaza Foundation, and now involves three Colorado schools, three African schools, and hundreds of children on two continents.  In presenting the award to Peterson, PtPI School and Classroom Program Coordinator, Paige Badgett, acknowledged that the Mwebaza Foundation has gone well beyond student cultural interaction, but has additionally encouraged and equipped students at its Colorado partner schools to work to improve conditions at their African partner schools.

Peterson was also acknowledged at the ceremony by Mary Jean Eisenhower, CEO of PtPI and granddaughter of the founder of PtPI, President Dwight Eisenhower.

In his acceptance speech, Peterson recognized the corresponding contributions of his Ugandan colleague, Namatovu Catherine, the headmistress of Mwebaza School.  He expressed agreement with PtPI’s philosophy that true, sustainable change can only happen if those involved really take the time to develop meaningful relationships with one another.

The Global Youth Forum involved over 100 youth from many different countries, learning communication and teamwork skills while developing cultural sensitivity through formal and informal interaction with one another.  Ms. Eisenhower ended the Global Youth Forum by urging those present to strive to make a difference in the world, even if it seems that one’s efforts are in vain.  She concluded her speech with this powerful quote from Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Peterson and the Mwebaza Foundation are delighted to be recognized by such an established, respected, and dedicated organization as People to People International.

Niwot-Mwebaza T-shirt Logo Winner Announced!

Students in Art classes at Niwot Elementary were given the opportunity to design a logo celebrating the friendship between Niwot and Mwebaza Schools. One logo from over 375 fabulous designs was selected by a committee of judges to be printed on t-shirts for sale. The logo’s creator, Emma Gibbs, won a $25 gift certificate to Borders. [Read more…]

Clean Water for Mwebaza School

The Mwebaza Foundation recently received a generous grant from the Heaven’s Hope Foundation to assist Mwebaza School in collecting and storing rainwater to use as a water source for the school.  Currently, students and staff must hike long distances to get water – untreated water – and carry that water back to school in large containers.  Now, Mwebaza School will be able to purchase large storage tanks and use the roof of the school building

[Read more…]

Letter to the Niwot Community

The relationship between Niwot Elementary and its sister school, Mwebaza Infant Primary School in Uganda, continues to grow!  Niwot students received letters from their Ugandan pen pals just before the end of the school year last May.  [Read more…]

Jog-A-Thon!

On May 5, 2010, The Mwebaza Foundation hosted it’s second annual Jog-a-Thon to help raise money to benefit our African sister school, Mwebaza Infant Primary School. [Read more…]