Unified for Uganda
While missing school may sound desirable for American students, many children in the African nation of Uganda dream of an education.
Many destitute children of northern Uganda yearn for an education, and many citizens of the U.S. yearn to help them. Unified for Uganda has the solution.
Unified for Uganda (abbreviated U4U) was originally a four member club back in 2005. After watching a documentary about the children of Uganda created by the Invisible Children organization, three students and one teacher from Moeller High School were moved to raise awareness for the terrible suffering they had just witnessed on the screen.
The students adopted the name Invisible Children for their school club, and became dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the struggling people of northern Uganda.
After being featured in the Moeller Alumni Magazine two years later, the club spread like wildfire. The booming popularity caused a women named Abitimo Rebecca Odongkara, the head of a northern Uganda school named UNIFAT, to hear of the club. The two soon became a great asset to each other.
According to the organization’s website, “when she came to Cincinnati and narrated her story of struggle, love, and learning, the students involved in the Invisible Children club immediately pledged their support.”
After being renamed Unified for UNIFAT, the club, which now had many chapters in other Cincinnati schools, became dedicated to raising funds specifically for the children of UNIFAT. The students also started a mentoring program, in which American kids provide guidance and support for the children attending UNIFAT.
After U4U celebrated the graduation (from primary school to secondary school) of the students they had sponsored, it was time to move on to bigger and better things. The organization changed its name one last time, this time encompassing the enormous goals the club now had, and thus Unified for Uganda was born.
Now an official NGO in both America and, as of Nov. 21, 2013, in Uganda, U4U travels to different high schools spreading their word.
Kelly Sudbrack, Kings Class of 2014 graduate, heard about the organization from a friend at Moeller and became interested in starting a chapter at Kings, asking KHS business teacher Brittany Selhorst to be the advisor for Kings’ chapter of the organization.
“She saw an opportunity to make a difference in kids lives and made it her mission to start a chapter at KHS,” said Selhorst. “She asked me to be the teacher advisor for our chapter and has passed on the torch to Sarah Sovinsky and Carly Sells.”
Soon after U4U visited the high school and made a huge impact. Innocent, a man from northern Uganda, shared his story of suffering with the students of KHS. His background caused Selhorst to want to get more involved.
“Last year we sponsored one child. By sponsoring the child they receive: paid tuition for one year, daily school lunch, two uniforms, one pair of shoes, one sweater, and any emergency medical supplies they might need,” said Selhorst.
After making a huge impact on Kings when U4U first visited last year, Selhorst knew she had to have them back.
On Oct. 27, two representatives returned to Kings to educate students once again about the struggling youth across the world.
This time the speaker was Uganda native, Scovia, who shared her own story of her time in Uganda.
With each visit Selhorst and the other members of Kings’ chapter of the club wish to do more.
“This year we are planning to have a fundraiser during basketball season to raise money. We would like to be able to support 2 children next year,” Selhorst said.
As for now, the students of KHS take time to reflect on how valuable their education is while working to spread the awareness Unified for Uganda brought to Kings last year.