Who Are We? Turn the Page Uganda is the brainchild of Vicky Harbison, an elementary school teacher with a passion for reading, travel, and children. In the summer of 2010 Vicky visited northern Uganda and toured a number of schools, meeting with teachers and students. She discovered a great need for books, both reference and text.
Board Members: Vicky recruited a number of friends and acquaintances to form this group dedicated to putting books into Northern Ugandan classrooms (Pre-school through high school). The Board is composed of teachers, a counselor, librarians, and a media consultant. Many of us have experience traveling in Africa as well as work on various charitable Boards.
Partners: Currently we are partnering with Aristoc Bookstore in Kampala, Uganda and a representative of the Rotary Club, also in Kampala. Individual members of local churches are helping us in our delivery of books to the remote schools.
Administration and Fundraising: Turn the Page Uganda has no paid staff so that all monies raised go directly to purchasing and delivering books to schools. Only a small percentage of the money we raise goes to printing, mailings, and other administrative expenses.
What do we do? Turn the Page Uganda purchases books for schools in northern Uganda. We support public and private schools, from kindergarten through high school and work with school administrators and teachers to determine what books would be most beneficial. So far we have brought books into 17 schools in Lira, Gulu, and Soroti.
How do we do it? Evaluation: Turn the Page Uganda Board members plan visits to Uganda, always at personal expense and visit schools to find candidates for our work. We also work with people we trust who live in northern Uganda and they recommend schools to us. Schools fill in a book request form and books are purchased at Aristoc Bookstore in Kampala. Gifts to a school usually total $500.
Project implementation: Once a school has been chosen our Rotary liaison turns in their request to Aristoc Bookstore in Kampala and purchases the books using the Turn the Page Uganda account. We have contacts who transport the books to the schools. By purchasing books in Uganda we help the local economy, do not waste funds on postage/shipping, and we ensure the books match the Ugandan State-approved curriculum.
Why Uganda? Northern Uganda is a war-ravaged region having experienced a decades-long war. The conflict, one of Africa's longest running, has resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis. The LRA is accused of widespread human rights violations including mutilation, torture, rape, the abduction of civilians, and the use of child soldiers. A 2005 poll of humanitarian professionals, media personalities, academics and activists identified the conflict in the north of Uganda as the second worst "forgotten" humanitarian emergency in the world.
When these children return to their villages and attend school they have up to 70 students in each classroom with no books. At Turn the Page Uganda we are convinced that if we can get books into the hands of the teachers and students in this region we can help to create more educated and more successful citizens who will become effective leaders for Uganda's future.
How much does it cost? We allot $500 per school for purchase of books.
How can I donate? You can make a donation to Turn the Page Uganda by clicking here.