Building a Bwoga Elementary Library – Bel

The construction of the library began in August 2021, led by a team of local members which was one of our causes. The construction is expected to reach completion in July 2023. Once the building is complete. The library will be equipped with relevant books, technology, and local staff, including a trained librarian who can lead early-learning programs.

The staff will also be a resource for after-school and summer programs for Bwoga children including being mentors and organizing reading challenges, computer literacy activities, and other skill-building activities. The library will have open-access hours for children to use computers, rent books, and access mentors and other resources. Moreover, Bwoga Elementary Library – BEL’s programming will include initiatives to provide Bwoga children with access to scholarships. And entrance exam materials to enable them to further their education in secondary school, technical colleges, or universities.

BEL Holiday Reading Program

BEL launched holiday reading program in the April of 2022 and has so far conducted four reading programs. The one-month program builds reading comprehension among the students in Bwoga, and the curriculum and programming were developed in cooperation with the local elementary school. Half of each day is spent supplementing reading skills that complement the curriculum taught during the school year, and the other half of the day is devoted to character and value development and climate, and environment education led by college student volunteers.

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BEL Scholarship Fund

Some of the beneficiaries of the Bwoga Elementary Library scholarship fund stand with BEL community leaders in front of the library.

The BEL initiative started a scholarship fund in January 2022 that is currently benefitting 14 with 6 of them attending high school and the other 8 attending elementary school. The education completion rate in Bwoga is very low, much lower than the national average. For example, less than one percent of families in Bwoga have a child who has completed postsecondary education. The main reasons for this low rate are poverty, absence of role models, and lack of supportive learning environments or infrastructure. The scholarship covers tuition ($300-$400 per academic year), school supplies, and provide access to individualized mentoring from older community members and former students of Bwoga. Priority is given to girls, as they often face steeper hurdles, to reduce gender educational inequality and access.  In the future, BEL hopes to expand the annual scholarship fund aimed at reducing educational inequality among the Bwoga youth.

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Community Moms Basket Weaving

As part of the scholarship fund, Sarah (co-founder of BEL) initiated the “Community Moms Basket Weaving” project. This project brings together mothers from the Bwoga community to engage in the art of basket-weaving. In turn, Sarah tries to find market for the baskets, including selling them through her small “SaSa Samosa Kitchen” business in Louisville, Kentucky. Within the community, these moms have emerged as a formidable force, driving positive change throughout the area. Uniting under the shared goal of supporting their children’s education and uplifting the community, these women are displaying unwavering dedication. Through their basket-weaving sessions, they not only craft beautiful pieces but also exchange stories, ideas, and strategies for improving their lives and the well-being of their families. Since the inception of the project, these determined moms have consistently gathered, weaving baskets while passionately discussing ways to enhance the Bwoga community. Below are pictures of one of the basket weaving sessions, and some sample pieces of the moms’ work.

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BEL Kids Louisville

This year, BEL initiated BEL Kids Louisville as a means of bringing together children of East African backgrounds. What started as a local endeavor in Bwoga Uganda is now growing to encompass a broader scope, extending its acts of kindness to children in Louisville, KY as well. While BEL’s primary focus remains providing education to children in Bwoga, it also places emphasis on cultural awareness for the children in Louisville.

BEL in Louisville is bringing together children (primarily from East African immigrant families) and offering them valuable insights into the traditions and customs of their homeland. We strive to facilitate a reconnection with East African cultures, while also promoting cultural awareness among those who have not had the opportunity to visit East Africa. Given the immense diversity of cultures in East Africa, BEL is employing various mediums such as art, music, dance, drums, storytelling, games, and food to convey the rich stories and teachings about the region. Looking ahead, BEL envisions expanding this program to reach a greater number of children, even extending the reach of East African culture within the United States. This may be achieved through music presentations, storytelling, dances, and other creative means, enabling the sharing of East African culture with people across the country.

Daily Activities at BEL Community

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