Lessons under the Mangro Tree: Oakville Helping the World

Lessons under the Mangro Tree: Oakville Helping the World
Kerr Street Cafe
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About the Author

Catherine Mulvale

Catherine Mulvale

Catherine is the founder of Global Friends Foundation and the Executive Director for the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. She dedicates her energy and compassion to building not for profit businesses that empower people to make the world a better place.

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The children sit attentively under the mango tree. Class is in session. An umbrella of green shades the crooked lines of wooden benches teetering on the dirt floor. The canopy sways gently in the warm African breeze above the young students. Shadows cast by the magnificent tree embrace the Ugandan classroom. It is a beautiful site.

On this splendid day, the outdoor classroom is, by far, the most exquisite education setting I have ever seen. That will soon change.

In the next few days, the rainy season will begin and class will be dismissed. The rain that brings life to fields and gardens, will end this season of learning. Classes will resume but when exactly that will be, is a mystery only nature has the answer to. There is no alternative space – no classroom with protective walls or roof is available. There are no text books nor school supplies. This is reality, year in and year out, for the students and teachers of Gayaza sub-county.

Too many children living in rural Uganda live in extreme poverty. The majority of people do their best to survive on less than $2 a day – many live on much less. This crippling disadvantage would break the spirit of most. And yet, for the people of Gayaza sub-county, it doesn’t. Far from it. They sing with joy, dance with delight and celebrate life with passion and exuberance.

The makeshift classroom represents ingenuity, determination and hope. Adults are trying to make the best of a difficult situation for the sake of their children. The teachers, who do not make enough money to survive often work two or three jobs as labourers, consider it a great service to educate the youngsters of their community. Many of the parents, who struggle to provide their children with the bare necessities of life, offer services to support their schools in the hopes that the teachers will continue to teach.

Lesson's Under the Mangrove Tree; Photo Credit: Global Friends Foundation

Lesson’s Under the Mangro Tree; Photo Credit: Global Friends Foundation

Education offers opportunity – to dream, to realize one’s potential, to break the cycle of poverty. Someday soon, the Global Friends Foundation, a national charity based in Oakville, hopes that holding lessons under the mango tree will be an optional – rather than the only — place to study. Having already funded the construction of a school for 500 in a neighbouring village, they have seen how that addition is already transforming the community.

Education is not the only solution to breaking the cruel, relentless cycle of poverty but it is one critically important element. To watch the transformation, please visit www.FaceBook.com/GlobalFriendsFoundation. Global Friends Foundation supports orphaned and vulnerable children through compassion, understanding and empowerment. It is a non-profit charity located in Oakville, Ontario Canada.

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