A Letter To Our Friends
We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well. We are very grateful for the online community which supports our work and spreads the word about DuncanAfrica – you all do such a great job of telling the story through your own circle of influence that DA is now known around the world! Today we wanted to share with you a need we have at the school that together we can overcome. In many ways the students are doing well. Their skills are improving every day and we believe they will achieve independence one day. We’re proud of the guitars they are building. In fact, guitar #500 will be shipped out later this year. That’s a LOT of guitars!
Currently, the students are building at a faster pace than anticipated, and we are facing a serious challenge keeping the school supplied with raw wood, shop supplies and capital for wages and shipping. A decrease in donation funding (monthly donations in particular) this year has left The DuncanAfrica Society and Suubi Trade School in a tight spot. We are appealing to you, our online community, to consider committing to a one year monthly donation of $25 to $50 or even $100. One time donations are very much appreciated as well. While the sale of guitars remains an integral part of our operating budget, when it comes time to order supplies in bulk we are often hard pressed to find the funding required.
Earlier this year, a member of our board of directors, Ezekiel Chhoa and his wife, spent a week serving at the school and got to know the students better. They heard Rafiki’s story – a young guitar player intent on leaving D.R.Congo for a better life who found an opportunity at the school. They heard Kizito Elijah’s story, a young man who had dropped out of school and had little hope of a bright future until he also found an opportunity with Suubi Trade School. There is little doubt that Suubi Trade School is making a unique, lasting impact in the village of Mpigi, Uganda through its skills training program for young adults.
The school receives many visitors every year, and we hear comments over and over about the uniqueness of the school model, and guitar players rave over the quality of the instruments. Though we now take this level of quality for granted, these comments are a good reminder that the guitars are still built in the humblest of workshops, by very humble people who are simply determined to succeed. Some of these young men (and women) were just born to be guitar builders. Some have a natural talent, and others have had to work hard to excel, but together they have created a team and a real sense of family.
We’re grateful to be a part of that family, and a part of their story. In the beginning, when DA began, we had high hopes and short timelines – we believed we would be in and out within eight years – so our timelines have been stretched as we enter our ninth year in Uganda and realize that the goal is further ahead than we had anticipated. But we keep going, because that is life, and it is great to be a part of something that has life in it – something that still has so much untapped potential. We are excited to see what God has in store for the Rafiki’s and the Elijah’s out there. We’re excited about the future, and hope you are too.