Category Archives: Education

Elevated Thinking: Child Sponsorships versus Teacher Sponsorship

By | Africa, Children, Education, Elevate for Education, School | No Comments

It is that time of year again. Elevate for Education is just around the corner and we need your help! Last year was such a success. In fact, we raised enough money to pay all of our teachers for the entire school year. This is a major help to Mountain of Olives as it frees up the revenue from school fees to be used towards other items such as food, new books, and various school supplies. Rays of Grace is hoping to raise $10,000 during our elevate campaign this year, help us get there!

Why does Rays of Grace raise funds for our teachers as opposed to our student tuition?

The answer comes back to Rays of Grace working alongside the community we serve. Families which send their children to our school need to be maintained as the role models.

A “White Savior” complex is introduced when a child sponsorship program is created for students by replacing the student’s parents with a white person with a checkbook. This can lead to breaking the bond between parents and the school at-large. Providing a sponsor disincentives parents to continue to have a buy-in to their child’s education and school.

At Mountain of Olives, our parents show up in droves for parent teacher conferences and report card day. Why? Because they care about the outcome of their children and they are proud of the school in which they invest their hard-earned shillings. Alongside this, our parents come together to create a caring community, there to help one another and provide the school with more than just the annual school fee, many times our parents provide food or a helping hand to our orphan student population.

On top of the disincentives, there is a potential problem of instability. A Ugandan boy of 10 is introduced to his sponsor parent and the boy is pleased to know he is being taken care of. He promises to keep his grades high, and the sponsor parent promises to check-in with him. Unfortunately, an earthquake in Nepal happens. Now the sponsor parent pulls their funding from Uganda to help a child in Nepal. The organization rushes to find a new sponsor because the boy’s family now relies on his education to be paid for and uses their money elsewhere. Hopefully the organization is able to support the boy with another sponsor parent, but what if they can’t? What if they do find another, but another natural disaster strikes another corner of the world? Sponsor parents coming and going separates the person to person support and leaves in place a money to person support system where the white person is seen as the money, no matter what the white person looks like.

The hypothetical organization just created instability in a family structure that was originally functional before the sponsorship came along.

So why is providing teachers any better? Rays of Grace believes ensuring a steady paycheck is the best incentive for teachers to continue to arrive each day to fulfill their duties with a smile on their face and the best attitude imaginable. Think about it, would you want to continue working hard and have stellar attendance if you weren’t guaranteed a paycheck at the end of the day? The relationship between student and parent is much different than teacher to school. Mountain of Olives is already required to provide for the teachers. By backfilling the administrative budget of Mountain of Olives, Rays of Grace creates stability for our teachers and creates opportunity for our Director Jackson to use more of his budget towards improving his school.

So come help Rays of Grace support our teachers! We couldn’t do it without you! Gather your friends and family and let’s go climb a mount to celebrate some elevated thinking and the highest education standards in Uganda!

The climb itself is scheduled for July 11th and you can sign up to hike with yours truly, or any of the other amazing teams! We even have teams scheduled in North Carolina and Arizona. There are various mountains to choose from with a variety of skill levels. Take a gander here and reserve your spot today!

If you would like to get a group of your own together please email me at info@raysofgrace.org and I can get you set up!

#empowereducatesustain #e4e2015

Elevated Giving

By | Education, Elevate for Education, Fundraising, School | No Comments

elevated_giving_blog

I am honored to be the first Rays of Grace blog contributor. First, I would like to welcome you to our new website. This is our attempt at professionalism and we are loving it. A big thanks goes out to Sauté Creative and their hardwork and dedication at getting this site off the ground. Looks great guys! I started my career with Rays of Grace in January 2013 in the midst of my first year of graduate school. Since then Rays of Grace has raised over $25,000 for the Mt. of Olives school outside Kirugu, Uganda and I have recently completed my Master’s degree in International Development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

If there is one theme I focused on during my studies its the idea of helping while not hurting.

Unfortunately, this is not a simple task. Organizations and countries have attempted and failed such a task. Toms developed a 1 for 1 approach where one purchase of their shoes by a wealthy consumer like you or me, also purchased a pair of shoes for a child in need. A worthy aspiration indeed, trying to shoe those who walk miles in their bare feet, but the development community soon discovered the hurting to Toms’ helping. As Toms landed in villages across the world to deliver shoes to needy villagers many locals who once had shoe stores found themselves out of a job (it is hard to compete against free commodities). Furthermore, Toms shoes are not American made, but cheaply made in China furthering the problem of low paid employees unable to afford shoes. The Development community has gone after churches and other organizers of donation drives under the same issues found in the Toms strategy. As clothing drive collections were delivered across South America and Africa the local clothing store and factories were closing their doors. The detriments of hand outs are well established, yet they still exist. It is important to understand the implications of injecting an unnatural state of being into a society. The saying “nothing in life is free” is born from an ultimate truth.

So what then do we do?

As a society where our values have taught us to help the poor in every way we can; how do we help without hurting? Rays of Grace grapples with this question each and every day and our solution is to promote the leadership of Jackson, our well known and respected founder of Mt. of Olives. This involves providing funding for his ideas and insight into avenues he may not have thought about yet. More importantly Rays of Grace looks to empower the community by giving them a voice in the projects that come to their village, it is their village after all.

elevate_for_education

We are excited for our approaching second annual Elevate for Education with the goal of $50,000.

With this goal met we hope to finance the beginning stages of construction for our school. So, tell your friends, tell your significant other, tell everybody to help out a great cause. There are several methods you can contribute. Send a one time donation, sign up for a monthly $6 donation, or spread the word about Elevate for Education by using #e4e to get the world excited for some crazy kids with dreams atop mountains. If everyone of our Facebook likes donated $6 a month Rays of Grace would have $7,200 a month! crazy! Be a part of the change you wish to see in the world! I hope this brief insight helps sell you on our cause, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry there are many more blog posts to come from the many voices of Rays of Grace. Stay tuned and get excited for the future, I know we are!

Hope all is well,
Tyler Maybee
Colorado Director of Operations