In the summer of 2008, Embrace It Africa’s (“EIA”) first team of six students from St. Bonaventure University traveled to Bethlehem, Uganda on a mission to help our friends develop and support sustainable community growth.
It was on this first trip that EIA realized the breadth of difficulties that face the Bethlehem community. After listening to and learning from community members, EIA determined that in order to meaningfully contribute to sustainable development, its initiatives would have to address three key issues: poverty, access to education, and public health awareness. It was out this approach that EIA created three of its main programs:
- Mikwano Microfinance: a government-registered savings and credit institution
- Hajj Sponsorship Program: a student sponsorship program that pairs people from around the world with students at the Bethlehem Parent’s School and Orphanage (“BPS”). This private, primary school is a safe haven for the 527 students who attend, giving them an opportunity for a bright future. Sponsors help to pay school fees from primary school through secondary school.
- Public Health Awareness: EIA partners with several HIV/AIDS widows and widowers cooperatives to encourage economic sustainability and access to proper nutrition and hygiene. EIA also coordinates with companies and organizations in the United States to bring medical supplies to people within the community.
In addition to our projects in Uganda, EIA runs a number of different education programs in the Olean, NY and Allegany, NY area through St. Bonaventure University. We believe it is important to get elementary to college students involved in our activities to teach them about the intricacies of international development, the diverse history of Ugandan culture, and, most importantly, show them that they are not too young to help make a difference in the world!