In this newsletter we bring to you a write-up of a recent visit to our beloved school OKSSS, written by Arun Patel (chairman, OKAS Fund); more success stories (of course!), and other notable items. We start with Arun’s report:
Trustees Visit Our School, OKSSS
In June 2022, Shirish Patel, Mayoor Patel, and I, trustees of OKAS Fund, met with the students sponsored by our organization.
The meeting was organized by Ms. Cathy Bisereko, our OKAS Fund coordinator. Also present were Mr. Opolot and Mrs. Harriet Apolot, deputy headmaster and headmistress.
From left, Mayoor, Deputy Headmaster Mr. Ssenkungu, Shirish and Arun
The Uganda Government had mandated a complete lockdown of Kampala to tackle the Covid pandemic. Thus, the School had remained closed for almost two years. Most of the students had returned to their villages and many were not likely to resume their studies due to severe financial difficulties. Given the dire circumstances, OKAS Fund has offered a “one-off” scholarship to 50 academically capable but financially challenged students.
The meeting was attended by all 50 students who had patiently waited for over two hours for the trustees to arrive (thanks to the horrendous Kampala traffic!).
We had a highly interactive session with the students, and this was followed by acts of appreciation from the students who thanked OKAS Fund with songs and speeches for coming to their rescue in their time of greatest need.
Some sound bites…Phrases like
“You have given us a life changing opportunity.”
“We will persevere and succeed to make you proud of us.”
“For a long while we felt that we had dreamt too high and then you appeared to answer our dreams.”
The meeting was also graced by several past beneficiaries of OKAS Fund scholarships who are currently enrolled in various universities studying engineering, teacher training, and medicine. They narrated how the OKAS Fund scholarship had helped them achieve their dreams and challenged the current recipients to exceed their accomplishments.
The meeting was rounded off with a beautiful song by the students with the words, “Thank you for all that you have done for us”.
After the meeting, several breakaway groups were formed for the students to have a personal interaction with individual trustees. Topics discussed included:
OKAS Fund Scholars meeting the visiting Trustees
All in all, it was a very emotional and satisfying visit. It was indeed very heartening that these with just a little support from us they could attain the same heights from the same school as we did 50 years ago.
The impact of your support on the future of the sponsored students was abundantly visible and extremely gratifying.
It seems our newsletter is never complete without reporting on the successes OKAS Fund has accomplished, thanks to your support!
You will notice that many of our scholars, once they graduate, are eager to help others in their community. They do this by volunteering and supporting needy people and organizations in their community, expressing their gratitude, and realizing that they, too, were once helped.
This is Mark Luwaga. He was OKAS Fund scholar until 2017. Currently he is in his final year at Kyambogo University, completing his telecom engineering degree. He aspires to help educate children in his village, Nakasone, west of Kampala.
Bravo, Mark! What better way to pay it forward?
There are many, many others that OKAS Fund has helped over the years. We don’t have space to write all their stories. To get a flavour of the diverse professions our scholars are entering, here are some of the names, compiled by Mayoor Patel, OKAS Fund Trustee. During his recent visit he met all of them either in-person or over Zoom.
Help Us Increase Our Subscriber Base
We would like to increase our readership by reaching out to a wider audience. If we can attract the younger generation, so much the better!
For this, we need your assistance in spreading the word of our activities.
It is very likely that there are young individuals around you, who are eager to support needy students in developing countries, but don’t know how to go about it – or where to go.
So - do you have children, nieces or nephews who might fit the bill? If so, it might be a great idea to have them subscribe to our newsletter.
Are you a teacher? A community leader, or otherwise a person with influence? Then you might know of youngsters wanting to reach out to disadvantaged students.
Many of you probably know that with the recent introduction of EU’s GDPR, consent is required before anyone is sent any form of mass communication. This applies to charities as well. If you know of anyone who might be interested in our newsletters and other communications, please ask them to go to the following link
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(We had reported on this in our last newsletter, but it bears repeating, especially since all proceeds from the sale of Arun’s book will be channelled towards his two charities, OKAS Fund and Polio and Children in Need Charity.)
OKAS Fund’s Chairman and Trustee, Arun Patel, has written a book of his memoirs, Out of My Way, POLIO!
In it, Arun recounts major events from his life with wit and candor, covering not just the good and juicy parts, but also his downright unpalatable experiences.Arun describes with great fondness his high school years at OKSSS and explains the motivation that inspired him to form the OKAS Fund charity
Appeal to Our Donors
We desperately need more funds to ensure that many of our capable students at OKSSS continue with their studies beyond 2023
For 2022, our annual outlay on grants for fees of the 50 students was £22,234.
For 2023 ,we only have £28,782 available grants for fees, sufficient for just one more year’s requirement.
Please note, OKAS Fund has zero administration costs so every penny you donate goes directly to help these students.
We humbly appeal to you for your much-needed financial support.
Canadian donors, please visit: https://health-education.ca/ to get an official charitable donation receipt. After clicking on the ‘donate’ button, in the 'project' drop-down menu select ‘Old Kampala’ from the drop-down menu., select 'OKAS Fund'.
“Drop by drop a lake is filled; pebble by pebble a dam is built” - Indian Proverb
Compiled by Dinesh Dattani, Trustee, OKAS Fund