As children near and far return to school, The Afro News highlights yet another story of individual and community achievements that support youth education.
With its international focus, Rose Foundation funds projects in 23 countries. A special Vancouver chapter founded by Mr. Galib Kara, began its work in 2010 to specifically meet education needs.
In its contribution to the proverbial collective village needed to raise a child, Smiles Uganda is raising funds to make consistent school a reality for students in Uganda.
Uganda has twice been home to Rose Charities Canada’s Director, Galib Kara. First, by birth until his family emigrated to Canada and then his return as an educated young adult with a degree and diplomas respectively in Business Administration, Urban Land Economics and Real Estate Analysis.
He worked for a decade until 2004 as Business Development Manager Africa for Nostrad Telecommunications. Kara was involved in the design, construction and operational management of MMDS wireless cable systems in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda.
“I was introduced to the world of Uganda’s children,” he said about his time living life and working in the region.
“What I was amazed at was how spirited the children were. Despite the poverty and despair they were living in, they always seemed hopeful and encouraged by everything and everyone around them.”
On his relocation to Vancouver, he found a way to help Uganda’s youth realize their optimistic dreams.
“Smiles” was set up in Vancouver inspired by colleague Katherine Tucker’s efforts in London’s Smiles chapter to provide surgeries for Ugandan children. The chapter spearheaded by Kara has Vancouver as its activity hub for the Smiles Uganda project. Team leaders and board members are located in the city.
Since it began in 2010, it has provided education for the same core group of about 50 students through to high school. Most are orphans due to AIDS. Some are being raised on limited resources by the surviving grandparents.
Sponsorships for the Smiles Uganda charity have yielded over $100,000. The first $50,000 raised covered almost four years of school fees. Rose Charities Canada raised $14,000 at its 5th annual Smiles Fundraiser in Vancouver last September.
“Smiles” success, however, has brought bigger challenges. One student is now in engineering, and Derrick has entered pharmacy school.
“Our budget is $3,000 per term. Funding runs $100 per student per term but can jump to $1,000 per term, per student for higher education,” says Kara.
Kara noted fundraising events have been held in False Creek and downtown Vancouver, but additional post secondary funding events to support Smiles’ projected increase in successful graduates are now being added in the UK as well as in Uganda.
To donate, find Smiles Uganda on the Rose Charities site.