The Mission of the Fund, which was established in 2002, is to provide financial assistance that will inspire and help young people of Uganda develop into responsible and respected individuals as well as enhance the quality and well being of their lives and community. The education is designed to be comprehensive in nature and will also instill caring, ethical and moral values in their lives. This will be achieved by a Catholic primary and secondary education followed by a, committee approved, college or trade school selection appropriate to the student’s career path with the course of study to be completed within the appropriate time period corresponding to the course of study selected. The board reserves the right to continue funding graduate education on an individual basis. The students selected for the fund must demonstrate the willingness and desire to fulfill the educational requirements of the course of study.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
· The fund began in 2002 with 6 children. While visiting with Fr. Michael about the education system in Uganda, he stated that the cost to educate one child per year in a primary catholic school for room, board and tuition was $800 which is now $900. To help some of these children seemed like a project worth looking into. The fund now has 78 students that are currently attending school or have graduated.
· In Omaha there is a 5 member board set up to manage the finances and determine the number of students. The annual board meeting is held preferably when Fr. Michael is in town. The program was started when Fr. Mel Merwald was pastor. Fr. Greg Baxter, the current pastor of SMM, sits on the Board as well as Fr. Michael Mukasa.
· In Kampala there is also a 5 member board who selects the students and sees to their well being. Sister Max, the Headmistress of St. John Bosco is on the Board.
· All monies go through St. Margaret Mary and is managed by Merrill Lynch. All donations are tax deductible.
· Two mailings a year go out to members for solicitation and to keep people knowledgeable about the students and Fr. Michael.
· A mentoring program was started in 2009 so that these children have a personal contact, through letter writing, with an individual in the SMM parish. The letters are to support and encourage the children in their academic and faith life.
For another description of Fr. Michael’s world, watch this video by Paula Salhany, a wonderful videographer and daughter of parishioners Jim and Chris Salhany.
To view a video report on several parishioners who visited Fr. Michael click below!