Samantha and Carol Kirshon, the Light Up a Life Project (LUALP) founders, design each project based on their personal experience with project recipients, the reliability of local contacts, and LUALP's ability to meet the project goal.
Once a project goal is successfully met, the next project is chosen.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to one or more Light Up a Life Project efforts. Your generous donations make these projects possible and have an immeasurable impact on the lives of these vulnerable children and their communities.
Photo depicts the fish pond's early stages of construction.
Presently, a fish pond is in the process of being constructed at Sunbeam Orphanage in Kisoro, Uganda. Funds were raised by selling an assortment of crafts made by the Sunbeam community. The breeding of fish will provide income and food for the children and adults of the community. Skills in fish farming and maintenance will be obtained thus providing crucial lessons in responsibility and productivity.
For a second year running, a local Houston Girl Scout troop diligently worked hard to build a business model to sell beaded necklaces made by the community of Bwindi in Uganda. The sales of necklaces raised enough funds to purchase desks for the Bwindi Wototo School. The many desks will allow students to sit comfortably thus enhance learning instead of sitting on the floor and/or their knees as seen in the attached photos. A total of a hundred and sixty desks were constructed, with LUALP providing a third of them.
Photo depicts freshly made bricks without using water.
In February 2012, LUALP funded a brick making business at Sunbeam Orphanage in Kisoro, Uganda. The making of bricks will not only generate income for the school/orphanage but also allow them to produce bricks for their own construction. Here, bricks will be made without the need for water. This is a very significant part of the project. Land was purchased and a building with classrooms and housing is under way. LUALP is proud to have been responsible in initiating this purchase and ultimate expansion which will provide shelter and learning to so many vulnerable children in that district.
Skype Program between God Cares Orphanage in Uganda and Private Schools in Houston, TX
This incredible 21st Century audio-visual-digital communication program was launched in May of 2011. First initiated and created by Adam McKim, founder of Chat to the Future, children at God Cares Orphanage in Uganda meet students who attend private middle schools in Houston, TX. The program is supervised by the orphanage's director, Tugume Gerald, the private school faculty and Light Up a Life Project founders. A designated time is arranged, typically 8:30a.m. in Houston, which is 4:30p.m. in Uganda. The sessions last approximately 45 minutes and children from opposite ends of the spectrum, in more ways than one, introduce themselves, ask questions and become Skype- Pal friends. The orphanage always performs traditional sing/dance performances and share their innate talent for music and dance with the American students. The mutual benefits of this program serves as a wondrous education and gives insight into how the opposite extremes live. The children meet every couple of weeks and look forward to the sessions. Drawings and notes of thanks are exchanged through the postal service across the miles. Light Up a Life Project recently purchased a laptop computer for God Cares Orphanage in order to permit this magical program. As there is no electricity at the orphanage, a generator is used to run the sessions. The program is innovative, exciting and binds children of diverse backgrounds in a way that is profound. Light Up a Life Project is grateful to Adam McKim for approving the initiation of the Skype program in the USA.
Photo depicts a classroom with teacher and
LUALP is happy to announce a first time project in the country of Mali. School supplies were purchased and generously funded by ZECO, at a remote village outside the capital city of Bamako. Here school children received books, pens, pencils and necessary school supplies to enhance learning and productivity. The supplies were purchased in Bamako and transported to the village. The children were excited to do arithmetic and writing using their new books and this helped teachers be more efficient in their daily instruction. Educating the children with problem solving and language skills that could be written and reviewed provoked thought and enhanced the ability to understand, memorize and work in groups.
Photo depicts children at Bwindi Orphanage
In December of 2011, as part of a Christmas/New Year Shoe Giving Project funded by ZECO, LUALP arranged for dozens and dozens of new pairs of shoes to be gifted to the children in need at Bwindi Wototo School/Orphanage in Uganda. This was a first pair for many and the children were elated. The shoes were purchased in Kampala in bulk and transported to the school/orphanage in Bwindi.
The Ugandan Government shut down a school/orphanage due to the lack of a sufficient latrine. The children were at risk for a cholera outbreak. With funds raised by selling necklaces that the children at the orphanage/school in Uganda created, LUALP was able to construct a six stall pit latrine. The children were able to return back to school once the government had it approved. Thanks to the Girl Scout troop who successfully developed a business model to sell the necklaces in several fundraisers. The children at the orphanage understood that their OWN productivity in working to make the necklaces was the direct result of the income raised to provide the necessity of a latrine. LUALP strives to educate these vulnerable children in conjunction with the goals they achieve.
Light Up a Life Project directed an influential group of educators from Hamilton, Canada with enormous fundraising power to the Sunbeam Orphanage in Kisoro, Uganda. Land has been purchased and classrooms/dormitories are in the process of being built. This incredible endeavor, together with the Brick Making Project, has given Sunbeam unbelievable hope and momentum. At this time, Sunbeam Orphanage is making great strides with the strong support and direction from Light Up a Life Project, their future is extremely hopeful.
Light Up a Life Project collected over the counter first aid items and pediatric medications such as pain/ fever reducers, band-aids, ointments for cuts, scrapes and burns, and other medical supplies. The items were sent to a children's home called Home of Hope Tableview in Cape Town, South Africa and received in time for the winter season, when colds and flu are prevalent.
Vegetable Garden at Bwindi Wototo School and Orphanage - Uganda
The Bwindi Wototo School and Orphanage is home to over 270 children, ranging in age from newborn to eighteen. The children eat beans virtually every day because they are inexpensive and nutritious. However, most lack the basic nutrients required for normal growth and development.
LUALP rented the land at the bottom of the hill adjacent to the orphanage and created a desperately needed vegetable garden. The children are learning how to plant seeds and grow vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, corn etc. Essential nutrients that are lacking in their diet will now be provided. In addition, lifelong horticulture/farming skills are being taught so that the children can learn how to survive off of the land. Practical skills are now being gained by having the ability to sell produce to the locals and receive an additional source of income for the orphanage. Strengthened immune systems benefit women living in the community with HIV/Aids.
The vegetable garden is called The Light Up a Life Project Vegetable Garden at Bwindi.
Goal - Raise funds to clear the land and plant a garden that will include produce high in minerals and vitamins such as cabbage and spinach. Items such as wheel barrows, hoes, rakes, boots, manure, seeds etc. are being purchased. An itemized invoice with receipts has been provided and verified by LUALP.
Light Up a Life Project raised $2600 for more than 200 textbooks, maps and dictionaries as requested by the Monkey Bay High School headmaster in support of the Malawian curriculum. These learning resources were purchased and delivered to the Monkey Bay High School in Malawi in October 2010, filling the once empty library (photo to the right) and bare classroom. Upon opening the boxes, the school performed a ceremonial song and dance of gratitude. The headmaster then read a letter to the students that was written by LUALP encouraging them to stay in school, work hard and follow their dreams.
Five sets of teams in three countries were responsible for making this project a great success! Special thanks to:
After an 11 year old orphan underwent emergency surgery to repair a severely fractured arm, a Ugandan orphanage was frantically trying to pay the medical bills. Upon hearing this news, LUALP verified the story and made arrangements to cover the cost. As a result, 11-year old Jeremiah made a full recovery.
Light Up a Life Project maintains close relationships with these orphanages and schools so that if there is an emergency, there is immediate availability to help, as in Jeremiah's case.
Light Up a Life Project collected hundreds of books. The books were picked up by naval officers at Project Handclasp and placed on the USS Whidbey. Upon arrival, the books will be distributed in Cameroon and Senegal.
Special thanks to Julie Shapiro who initiated the collection, Nicole Samida, Bill Julius and Chris Stokes at Mission Hills Mail Station (www.missionhillsmailstation.com) in San Diego for getting the books on board the USS Whidbey.