Q: What is the program’s mission?
One Heart Uganda improves Ugandan students’ lives through tuition scholarships, and works to create a special bond between sponsors and students in Central Uganda.
Q: How are students chosen for the One Heart Uganda scholarship program?
Fr. Matthias Kakooza personally selects the neediest students for potential tuition sponsorship. Many of the children are orphans or have lost a parent to illness. The candidates show great potential for learning and cannot afford their school fees.
Q: How much does it cost to sponsor a student?
On average, one year of tuition costs $500. Some tuitions are higher for students attending boarding, preparatory and vocational schools, as well as universities.
Q: What is the commitment? How long is a sponsorship?
The goal of the program is to create a relationship between sponsors and students that will grow and deepen with time. Ideally, sponsors would provide tuition ongoing, however we realize situations change and there is no time requirement. Because the program is limited to approximately 120 students, if a sponsor cannot continue with a student we would find a new sponsor. Our community is so generous that we feel given the scope, we will be able to cover all students in the program.
Q: Where do the students go to school?
Students attend school in six main areas of Central Uganda: Kampala, Lwamata, Masuka, Mawuuki, Mityana and Naluggi.
Q: How did the program start?
The program was inspired by Jackie, a young woman whose sponsorship began in 2005 and resulted in a full scholarship to study veterinary medicine at Makerere University. Our hope is that several students experience this success and many families experience the joy of changing a life through education. The program began officially in July 2012 with 12 student candidates.
Q: What are the ages and education levels of the students in the program?
The youngest students are 4 years old and just entering primary school. Our oldest students are 20 and attending college or vocational schools.
Q: How do the finances work? Is this tax-deductible?
One Heart Uganda is a 501c3 nonprofit organization recognized by the state of Illinois. All donations are tax deductible. The tuition funds are wired to Uganda, where Fr. Matthias oversees the distribution to the specific schools identified. 100% of each contribution goes directly to the sponsored student. Separate donations are raised to cover program operation costs.
Q: Can I write to my student or send gifts?
It is very difficult and costly to ship packages to Uganda. The best way to exchange messages is by email or in person. Typically, once a year someone travels between Chicago and Uganda, and then gifts and packages are sent with the traveler. There is a PO Box where airmail can be sent.
Q: Can I send extra money to my student?
Yes, many families add a little extra to their tuition checks to help their students and families make ends meet.