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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development

Mission: There are over 48-million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. These orphans are left with few options. They are either left in the hands of an extended family member, are taken in by the community, or they are unfortunately abandoned on the streets. Poor nutrition, loss of education, vulnerability to crime, child labor, sexual exploitation, abduction and prostitution are realities too many orphans are facing. Traditionally in Africa, children live with an extended family member when their parents die. It is because of this tradition that Africa has been able to handle the orphan crisis with a modicum of survival. Today as the crisis has become increasing overwhelming, the traditional cultural safety net for orphans has persisted but has been greatly stretched and tried. Where extended family adoption is the best means of care, the new mouths to feed financially burden extended families. The combination of extreme poverty and AIDS has made it nearly impossible for the extended family to care for the increasing number of orphaned children. Grandmothers and widows are caring for six to ten children with limited access to any resources. Without assistance from local grass-root organizations these women and children are destitute. Why We Work With Grass-Root CBOs and NGOs?As Africa?s traditional means of orphan care has suffered, local African communities have responded. Africans who are committed to the care of orphans, have stepped in and organized their communities to respond. Through supplementing care, these indigenous grass-root organizations partner with their communities and these overburdened caregivers to provide free to low cost education, feeding programs, vocational training, access to healthcare and in worse cases foster care or residential care. While these grass-root Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are the lifeline of hope for their communities, they are nevertheless in great need of assistance. In order to meet the full need of their community?s orphan population they need support, encouragement and a helping hand to reach their vision.

Geographic areas served: Uganda

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I traveled to Uganda to volunteer with Fount of Mercy for the month of January this year. I was leading an Art Camp for children from several different villages and orphanages that FOM frequently works with. When I got to Uganda, all of the details of the camp were already in place. Ugandan translators had been hired and were always there excited to work with me, all of the supplies that I needed were ready, transportation for the children was set up and in place...it was smooth and effortless because they had handled all of the details for me before I got there. Camp went incredibly well. I was impressed with the relationship that FOM has with the community leaders that they work with. The last 2 weeks that I was in Uganda I worked on several other projects and saw how much growth there has been over the past year. The Vocational Training Program has been training sewing teachers in a new curriculum so that they can go on to teach in their communities. There are great things happening and I see so much hope for the future. I can't wait to go back to Uganda and volunteer with FOM again.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent the month of January volunteering with Fount of Mercy in Jinja, Uganda. I have been involved on the state side of things for about a year, but really didn't know how much FOM does until I was able to be there in Uganda and see it first hand. I worked mostly with the director of the Community Health Initiative to write and direct short skits that taught really important lessons about safe sex, living with HIV/AIDS and the problems that young girls face with dangerous "sugar daddies". We had several Ugandan youth that helped us translate the skits and also act in them. We then took the skits to several different day camps. After performing them we would have an question and answer session with the kids. It was awesome. One day we had about 50 girls that were able to ask very important questions about puberty, hygiene and their bodies. They were so gracious and thankful to us for letting them talk freely and openly about these subjects. I think they were just really glad that they could get some answers. Fount of Mercy is run by some very dedicated, hard working people. I am so impressed with how many different programs they are running. I think that there is a lot of room to grow in the community health initiative and I think they are on the right track. FOM inspires and encourages the people that they work with to have hope for a better life. They want to work hand in hand with the people in the communities and educate them in things that they can use to support their families. It doesn't feel like a charity. It feels like a family of people that truly love and inspire eachother. There is still so much that can and will be done. We have been talking about doing some programs for teenagers and women that address women's health issues. And developing reusable feminine hygiene products which would be life changing for so many women. I can't wait to go back and continue working with them. It was a totally life changing experience for me. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Sewing Hope's approach of training teachers within existing community groups is a sustainable model for development. Sewing Hope's founder, Tara Hawks is dedicated to helping Ugandan women gain vocational skills so that they can earn a living for their families. With this end goal in mind, she constantly questioning her approach and seeking feedback from students to ensure that her efforts are effective. Other organizations that I encountered while in Uganda, were only distributing machines but not providing training. Sewing Hope, provides specialized vocational training by expert volunteers so the machinery is used to it full potential and is properly cared for over time.

With Tara Hawks now working full time, I believe Sewing Hope has clear goals and is on track to keep growing and expanding.


Volunteer

Rating: 3

i have been with fount of mercy for a year now. i have learned a lot from it as a woman.it has very good programs most especially for women.We have a saying if you educate a woman you have educated the whole nation.Therefore i have learned about birth control with out spending money by day counting,how to prevent family from STD and AIDS from the voluteers.This knowledge in uganda you need to go health centre to be get this education but this organization brings it to the grass root.
This organization has imparted skill to the women in order for them to Job creators not seekers.For example the Tailoring and Design for women,Baking bread,cakes and others.Handcraft making of paper necklss,bangoes,bags and maney other things.This is how the women are having their small income.Not like before when they nothing to do and take care of their families.I have too much to about fount of mercy if given a full day.Thank to this Orgasation and people who put their heads together make that woman to be some.God bless you

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Fount of mercy ministries is one of the non profit organisations that has been very foundamental in empowering our Ugandan women for example Bulubandi Women's group in Iganga and care ans share women in Rwanda with alot of life skills in so many fields such as in tailoring and sawing skills ,beaking,craftsmanship and helping in various primary schools like Rock primary school (Rwanda, Ug) and TOAST primary scahool (Mafubira Ug) by educating and equiping teachers with enough skills and facilitating them by providing them with teaching material and physical eduation material like balls and very many others.

Emily P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As part of my second year of graduation school, I worked with Fount of Mercy for six months in Jinja, Uganda. Fount of Mercy is a fabulous organization that not only supports local indigenous organizations but also strongly supports women and their professional development. In every program, Fount works hard to include women in their work. One project I spent significant time providing monitoring and evaluation skills with was the Bread Basket Project. This project provides an employment opportunity for village women, many are widows, to come together and bake bread. They sell this bread in the villagers and use the proceeds to put back into their children’s community school. This employment opportunity not only provides extra income to these women, but also brings these women together to share in their difficulties and also helps to support their children in receiving an education they might not otherwise be able to afford. I would highly recommend Fount of Mercy to anyone who is either interested in volunteering with Fount or are looking for a new organization to donate his or her personal money. It is a fabulous organization that supports local women in every aspect of their work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have loved working with FOM and being a part of such a fantastic growing organization. The philosophy they operate from is one that I feel very strongly about and that is teaching and empowering the people to help themselves, creating sustainability, rather than just relief aid. The programs they have initiated, have shown that the philosophy works. For instance the Bread Basket program, Sewing Hope and other programs that teach the women to produce a product that is usable, and needed, thereby giving them the capacity to make an income and sustain the means to make that income. The Community Health Initiative gives them knowledge about ongoing health issues that are specific to them, and helps them learn ways to prevent and treat medical and health issues, that without that knowledge, could be part of the death or decline of a society. It was so exciting to witness the women's excitement about new knowledge, new skills and new friends! And to know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, a difference really is being made in their lives!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Traveling to Uganda was a first for me. It all came together very quickly. I had decided, planned, and got to Africa within a months time. Fount of Mercy's employee, Rebecca, was SUCH a help in making me feel comfortable about traveling and answering questions in a very prompt manner. Once I got there, I found that everything was planned out for me and receiving a daily schedule was great to know what I was going to be doing that day. It was nice, at night, to always have the option to join the group for a dinner so you didn't feel alone. As for the volunteering portion, I enjoyed being there to help the men and women. i'm assuming it's because I planned my trip in such a short period of time, but I wish I would've been told what exactly I needed to know and bring to the table for our classes that we taught. I felt that I had a lot to offer but I ended up being a "translator" for a good portion of the time because I specifically do my pattern making a different way than the rest of the group. I do think, in the future, it would be great to add some sort of design/art class to it to build upon the basic techniques of patternmaking and sewing to make each tailor unique. I would love to volunteer with that. Overall, Fount of Mercy (Sewing Hope) is an amazing organization with great leaders. I am confident that in a few years, when all kinks are ironed out, that this will grow to be a truly impactful organization for Uganda and other countries.

Katharine S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard about Fount of Mercy in the winter of 2008, at a missions conference. I sat through the presentation and the slideshow, and was brought to tears at what I was hearing and seeing. A year and a half later, I had the privilege of partnering with FOM by taking a team of 10 individuals to Uganda. Our time in Uganda was beyond words. I could probably write pages and pages on all the experiences we had, all the wonderful people we worked with, and all the amazing children we met. It was a truly eye-opening and life-altering experience. While we were there, we worked with three different organizations that were partnered with FOM (FOM partners with grass-roots organization in Uganda, empowering them to become self-sustaining and eventually independent of FOM). The first was HODASSU, which is an organization that empowers children who are blind, deaf or have other special needs by providing education, teaching sign language, and providing vocational training. The second was MOHM, and informal school and orphanage. And the third was Care and Share, an informal school in the village of Iganga. Informal schools are unsupported by the government which means that the teachers do not get any training, school supplies or even curriculum from the government! The amazing teachers at these informal schools are people who have a heart for children and a desire to give them an education, but they have very scarce resources. During our trip, one night, I was on the internet researching education in Uganda when I came across a quote…I don’t remember the exact verbiage, but it was something along the lines of: “Education is perhaps the best long-term solution to poverty in the developing world, especially the education of girls.” If you’re reading this review and are an educator, please consider partnering with FOM to empower the educators in Uganda. If you do, the experiences you’ll have will change your world!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

During the summer of 2010, I had the unique privilege of traveling to Uganda to volunteer in the town of Jinja with Fount of Mercy. I'm a high school teacher and coach, so it made sense for them to place me to work in various schools in the area. One thing I like about the organization is that they take stock of each volunteer's talents and abilities and then work out a plan that will best fit with these specific qualities, instead of having a rigid program that requires volunteers to somehow find a way in which to fit.
I absolutley LOVED my time working with Fount of Mercy. I was able to combine my skills as an English teacher and coach to teach physical education to students of all ages. Because PE has not traditionally been part of the school curriculum but has recently become a requirement, the idea was that I could help the Ugandan teachers figure out some methods of integrating PE into the school day. It was really fun to play with these students, all of whom were eager for some organized instruction in PE. We focused on stretching, breathing, development of specific skills, teamwork, and the connection of literacy to physical activity.
To watch these young people eagerly ask to use the soccer balls and jump ropes which I brought (for they had no equipment), and then to watch them play with them in ragged school uniforms and bare feet - left me wanting to do more - to leave them with more. I left them each day exhausted and filthy - and smiling, full of such joy.
Michelle, who heads up the education portion of Fount of Mercy, organized each day so that there was a time for all of the volunteer teachers to reflect upon that day's classes and share with the Ugandan teachers about effective and not-so-effective methods of instruction. This was very important, as the long-term value of our time there was only as effective as the ability of the Ugandan teachers decided it would be.
In my three weeks with Fount of Mercy in Uganda, I was able to work with three different groups of students - some in regular education, as well as students who were deaf and/or blind. There were different challenges with each group, but the heart of our work was ultimately the same with each - to love them and help their Ugandan workers learn teaching methods that would help them for much time to come in the future.
I appreciate the freedom that Fount of Mercy provided - not only in our specific volunteer work, but in our time outside that. They know how important it is to have time to rest and went to great lengths to protect this time for us, providing mandatory "days off" and offering to plan fun activities, if so desired.
It's exciting to have watched the growth of this organization, ever since they began over five years ago, and I look forward to watching their powerful work continue in the future.

Kevin M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently spent 3 weeks working with Found of Mercy in Jinja, Uganda and was so excited to finally be a part of the life changing work they have been doing for some time now. I loved the idea that you can bring the skills and expertise you have in your own field of work and share it in a meaningful and practical way with the people of Uganda. So many of Fount's connections are focused on empowering women, a group that particularly needs a helping hand AND is very responsive. The change in these women's lives as they begin to acquire new skills, put them to use, and gain confidence as a provider, business woman, artist and important member of their villages is immeasurable. I plan on continuing to support Fount with my time and money and hope others would consider it as well. This is more than building a house. It is raising a community.