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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Fount of Mercy

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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

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Susan278

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I know about the organization through Sewing Hope and my friend Tara. In our world where the want for profit and power relies on the exploitation of people, keeping them physically and/ or emotionally tethered to fear, those who work relentlessly with the idea in their hearts, that when one of us hurts, we all hurt, should be supported no matter what. I am impressed that the people that are the recipients Fount of Mercy/Sewing Hope's programs, are being offered holistic education, learning the whole process, being taught skills and offered ideas that will move them forward, to heal themselves and their communities.
I just think Tara is great, she walks the walk, and is able to do worthy and important work because Fount of Mercy came to be, then Sewing Hope.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i spent 4 weeks in the summer of 2010 in a place i never in my wildest dreams, would have thought to go. A woman i worked with wrote a piece about SEW FOR HOPE and FOUNT OF MERCY in our local newsletter. It spoke of doing something with our talents - making costumes for TV, FILM, BROADWAY and concerts- in a whole new way. We could take our sewing skills and TEACH people to sew so they could make a living for themselves. Now, i am used to creature comforts of home... talk about culture shock... but in a good way! The Ugandans were so happy to learn what I knew.I taught a bit of sewing, some basic jewelry making, and a little embroidery. It was something that made me feel like i was making a great contribution to a few peoples lives. Fount of Mercy set everything up for my travel and accommodations! It was the true trip of a lifetime!!!

Wendy77

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered in Uganda with Fount of Mercy teaching sewing and design skills to AIDS widows and other vulnerable women. It was an amazing experience. We traveled to different towns and villages, located near Jinja and Kampala to teach and help at various organizations. I love that Fount of Mercy is boots-on-the-ground-grassroots. They have direct experience and relationships with every orphanage and organization that they seek to help and support. Uganda itself and its people are beautiful. In addition to the hands-on volunteering which was very rewarding, we also got to have some free time for side-trips and activities to experience the country. (There's no where else more challenging and rewarding to go white water rafting than on the Nile!) I highly recommend volunteering with Fount of Mercy.

Sarah151

Donor

Rating: 5

Fount of Mercy has been a part of my life for many years. I met the women who started it at our church and have been excited watching their dreams come to reality ever since. They continue to grow and spread their reach for inspiring and enabling widows in amazing ways. They do the work that I wish I have always done myself. They take the idea and do it. When so many of us aren't able to or don't believe we can. This organization literally works wonders! I am happy to be able to support financially when I can and spread the word far and wide. Fount of Mercy is truly a fount of empowerment and help for all that come to its waters!

Kelly108

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am an Ambassador for The GO Exchange and we sell Fount Of Mercy scarves. They are well-made and beautiful pieces of art. Better than the actual product is the fact that the employees are paid a living wage for creating these gorgeous scarves. It is an honor to be in partnership with Fount of Mercy!

Stephen28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I toured this operation in Uganda and continue to support it in the States. We love what they are doing overseas and the innovative ways (fashion shows, etc.) that they raise money at home.

Elizabeth127

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first learned about Fount of Mercy through one of its founders, and have watched them grow and serve over the years. They do amazing work and have a direct, measurable impact on the lives they touch - they fill such an important role, one that is often overlooked but very much in need of just the right people and skills for the job. I cannot think of any other nonprofit more deserving of publicity and support!

Donor

Rating: 5

Fount of Mercy is a unique and powerful organization. I love that they are structured to support and empower grassroots organizations-- that's a really sensitive approach to community development. I love that Fount is forward-thinking and always looking for new ways to serve the community. For example, they've just launched their hand-batiked scarf projects and are now able to employ artisans full-time. Love these guys!

Carol127

Donor

Rating: 5

Have been privileged to be a part of Fount of Mercy from its inception. Not only do I support and believe in their efforts in Uganda, I know one of the founders, her convictions and her passion. I will continue to support this organization.

Chad7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization does incredible work all around the world. Through their work, people are getting knowledge to improve their life, their families, their communities and their countries.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to this organization since 2007. The work they are doing directly impacts lives in Uganda, and they serve the people there with sincerity, compassion, and determination. Thank you, Fount of Mercy!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I really like that Fount of Mercy teaches business skills alongside the technical skills. Lotta art schools could take a page out of that book!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As the Acting Director of a NGO in Jinja, Uganda I've witnessed Fount Of Mercy's work firsthand and talked to many others organizations who have benefited from their ministries. Myself and many others believe that FOM's work stands out in the field. It's leadership is extremely competent, resourceful and eager to cooperate with other NGO's to help them provide the same excellence of service. They are a model NGO among many in Jinja.

Iv W.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to visit with Lori Acton and Vanessa Crowley of Fount of Mercy in July, 2013. The objective of my visit was to understand the impact Fount of Mercy was having on the community, the programs that were being implemented, as well as scout opportunities for my organization to partner with them. What I experienced was exceptional professionalism, clarity of mission and detail-oriented execution. Fount of Mercy's integration of Ugandan staff with minimal US-based staff management indicated their model is working. Also, visiting their Ugandan-managed vocational workshop confirmed that Fount of Mercy is committed to local ownership and management solutions. Fount of Mercy represents how a non-profit organization should be operating within another community: by leveraging that community's assets and infrastructure to promote inside-out transformation.

Jeremy B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is by far one on of the most amazing charities I have ever worked with. Not only was I given the chance to travel and work in Africa in the country of Uganda, but I was able to become a major part in making the lives of the blind and deaf community better. I taught sports to the kids while on the trip and to many people, sports would be something that all kids do for the most part. But most people have never really considered that teaching kickball to kids and young adults who are blind or deaf is not just a game to them, its something much more. For these kids learning to play kickball or running races and throwing balls was a stepping stone into their lives and the job training that the other members of my team provided. Once these kids learned that being able to play sports like the normal kids was something they also could do, then possibilities were endless of what they could achieve. Through Fount of Mercy I was given the chance to change someones life forever., while in turn it also changed mine and made me into a better person.

Jeane M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During July 2012 I went with 7 others to Jinja, Uganda to participate in a Leadership Conference which Fount of Mercy sponsored. The entire experience was rewarding and would not have been so without the top notch organization skills of FOM. FOM helped in preparing us state side before we even left and when we arrived FOM assisted us to acclimate to Jinja quickly to increase our participation and effectiveness. Due to airline difficulties we arrived a day late and began teaching the morning after we arrived and was able to do so with little difficulty. FOM is dedicated to the Ugandans and it is apparent in all they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Fount of Mercy is excellent in matching up volunteer's experience and skills with the appropriate projects. So they utilize volunteer's gifts to the maximum. This takes careful and excellent planning.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am an American woman who has been living and working in Uganda for over three years. I am a teacher by profession and taught in a Ugandan school for three years. At the beginning of 2012, I decided to use my skills and experience as a teacher with Fount of Mercy. I have seen many organizations doing work here in Uganda, but I do not respect all of them. I DO respect the wok Fount of Mercy is doing, because they partner with existing, local groups or institutions-- working WITH (not for) them to help them fulfill their mission. Fount of Mercy is doing excellent work in the Jinja area community to empower women. One major area of Fount of Mercy's work is vocational training. They train women in sewing and tailoring; two Ugandan women teach other women the skill of sewing on the local (non-electric) sewing machines. Since most clothing produced in Uganda is custom made, sewing is a lucrative small business here. Fount of Mercy also provides small business training to women in various communities in the Jinja area. They then support these women as they launch their business together. Of the three groups I know, one has started a village bank. The other two have created a local bakery and a local restaurant in their respective communities. One excellent component of this training is the follow-up support they give these women as they put their learning into practice. This support involves further financial advice, conflict resolution, and encouragement. These women are empowered to earn cash, which enables them to send their children to school and provide for other essentials like soap, lantern fuel, and sugar. I truly admire the work Fount of Mercy is doing. The directors have a humble attitude toward their work, knowing that working in another culture is a constant learning process. I consider myself very fortunate to be a member of the Fount of Mercy team here in Uganda. Fount of Mercy has afforded me the opportunity to train teachers, mostly women, to become more equipped in their profession. In turn, these teachers can positively impact the children of Uganda. Finally, I am grateful for the team at Fount of Mercy, for my co-workers are also my dear friends.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am Emolu Francis, a Ugandan by nationality, a Kumam by tribe. I am a teacher by profession and have been teaching in Uganda since 1988, based in Jinja District. I have witnessed the work of Fount of Mercy since 2008 and liked their service to the Ugandan community. This year I have taken the initiative to join and work with the team at Fount of Mercy in the education department.

Fount of Mercy serves women in our local community in several ways. They train women to acquire the skill of sewing, using the local sewing machines. They also support women making local crafts (bead-making and basket weaving). They train women in business skills and support them as they begin a small business in their communities. For example, one local women’s group has started a local bakery in Lwanda, where they make buns, donuts, and other snacks to sell in the local trading centre. In Wairaka, the women’s group created a local restaurant called The Community Kitchen. The Wanyange women’s group is running a village bank. Fount of Mercy also educates young women in reproductive health awareness. Finally, they provide leadership training for women who are leaders of local organizations. In all of these areas, Fount of Mercy strives to empower widows to be able to provide for themselves and their children.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Am Wamimbi Julius aged 24years, i am working with fount of mercy as their program associate, There is great impact and transformation created in the the different people or groups fount is work with, Personally i my life changed because of the tender love and care i got from the directors of this organisation. I have a bright future working with fount of mercy and i believe that through their great work/programs that are served to the community i will be in position to create more life time change in many people in Uganda and the entire world. I am working as a program associate of this great organisation working with many women's group by equipping and teaching them life time skills in business which will help them meet the daily needs of their families. So far i am working with four women group who have appreciated our services a lot, this has created a big change in their daily living since they have started up small projects individually and as a group to improve on the standards of living. I and fount of mercy as a whole has great joy to see that our work and services are bringing much impact into people's lives. Examples of businesses setup by women include community kitchen, Bread basket project, and a village bank, all businesses are operating well which has brought big smiles on the women's face every day that passes by. Our vision is to equip and teach as many people(women and men) who think that their life is a mess to gain hope and strive for success for their future. Fount is soon starting to work with new women's group to extend the business knowledge to them and help them work together or individually. Fount as an NGO has created several transformations in the live of people in many ways i.e. Educational wise, vocationally wise, helped many leaders to learn the knowledge and skills of running their organisations well, I can't wait to recommend volunteers, donors, well wishers and everyone who has interests of building/creating a big transformation in the lives of African women to come work with us. Thank you so much and i hope my review will help whoever read it understand more of what fount of mercy is doing for the people in Uganda. Wamimbi Julius, Program Associate, Tel: +256-776594949, wamimbi.julius@gmail.com

kakorpi

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Fount of Mercy is a forward thinking and innovative non profit working to further African grass roots organizations. It is a small but powerful organization that worked with me and my skill set to help local village women. I was able to create and edit business curriculum lessons that were taught to women in villages near Jinja, Uganda. In addition, I also researched and developed prototypes to determine the most viable solution for a sanitary pad project. Fount of Mercy realizes that all women have the right to privacy, health, and dignity and that creating innovative solutions can improve lives.

Jessie M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Found of Mercy was an amazing opportunity. The majority of our time and energy was focused on the work we did with HODASSU, which was a really great, and really challenging experience. I was given the chance to teach a photography class to some of the children there, starting a basic foundation for future photography classes to build upon. Investing in the kids' lives was awesome. And learning to connect with people from a different culture, especially those with impaired hearing, was a beautiful experience. The Fount of Mercy staff I worked with before and during the trip to Uganda were all a huge support and encouragement. FOM really is such an organized, well-prepared and knowledgeable organization; and because of this, I felt very confident and comfortable in the traveling process, as well as in the various activities we took part in while In Uganda. Volunteering with Fount was awesome. And because of their deeply-rooted passion to help empower those in need in Africa, Fount of Mercy continues to bring about inspiration, growth, and hope for the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with Fount of Mercy in Uganda for 6 months and it was honestly the best 6 months I've had in a long time. I grew a tremendous amount, not just because of the new culture, but because of the work Fount does. While in country I helped develop a new vocational program, a beginning sewing class. The basis behind this curriculum was to give students the basic sewing skills they need to start their own tailoring businesses. I trained two local tailors to as teachers for the future class. During the training I saw how how the class really will be something that can help people, as tailors will always be in demand. I think the teacher training would have been more beneficial had there been more time (it was a bit condensed in order to finish before my departure). Regardless of the time restraint the vocational classes Fount of Mercy offers provide not only skills but a personal satisfaction and pride in every student who completes them. Fount realizes what an accomplishment completing a skills course is and they recognize this achievement (and the students) with a graduation ceremony. This is just a small example of the incredible work Fount does and one of the few ways they continue to help others help themselves.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Fount of Mercy in Jinga Uganda. Our team ran a Leadership conference to build the capacity for the leaders of indigenous NGO's to give the leaders business skills and and other educational support. Many of the local NGO's are run by women and all of them are focused on helping orphans and their caregivers which are almost all women. The work they do is extremely impactful. I am already planning this years trip for another leadership conference as well as working with some of the other organizations that they partner with in country. Another facet of Fount of Mercy's work in Uganda is health education for women and girls to help them understand the threat of AIDS and unplanned pregnancy as well as how their bodies work. They are a fantasic organization and I recommend working with them in any capacity whether here at home or in Uganda.

Simone2

Donor

Rating: 5

Fount of Mercy is a amazing organization. I have been keeping up with their progress since my daughter was a volunteer with them three summers ago. I am very impressed by the work they do in Uganda and the skills they teach their clients. I know of very few organizations that actually teach occupational AND business skills. My daughter volunteered for "Sewing Hope" a skill group under Fount of Mercy. She was able to teach tailoring to her students. Tailoring is a very specific skill that increases their level of expertise to be able to make clothing more attractive and fit better. Each volunteer comes with their own set of skills. they are all unique, yet work to help the students of Fount of Mercy reach their full potential.

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

Even though I had supported Fount of Mercy for years, it wasn't until I traveled to Uganda and experienced first hand, that I realized the powerful effect their work has on the women and children if Africa. Immediately, it was clear that Uganda women have a strong inner strength, but this organization gives them tools they need to provide for their families. Working with indigenous African organizations, Fount of Mercy has enabled these women to achieve success within their families and their communities, a true meaning of empowerment!

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

It is easy to sit here in my heated home, on my couch and think about all the 'good' works happening around the world. However, experiencing Ugandan culture and seeing the struggles people face there is a life changing experience. I had the privilege of seeing the amazing work that Fount of Mercy is doing in Uganda firsthand. Being a working mother myself, I really liked the fact that Fount of Mercy was started by a few very successful young women in NYC who saw an opportunity to use their skills to empower women and widows in Uganda.
Prior to my travels, I hosted a "friendraiser" in my home to raise awareness of the work this non-profit is doing. I was able to share numbers, statistics, and success stories during this friendraiser, but it wasn't until I was in Uganda looking these women in the eyes until it hit me how many lives Fount of Mercy has touched. One women in particular, has been supported by Fount to teach sewing skills to women in order to empower and equip them to earn a living. I will always remember her smile when we took a picture of her proudly standing in the front of her shop, all done up and right on the main street. You could tell she was so proud of her accomplishment, yet so humble at the same time. I believe one of the reasons Fount of Mercy has been successful is because of their dedication to support indigenous African organizations’ capacity to provide educational, vocational and public health opportunities for the orphans, vulnerable children and caregivers in their communities. I feel very honored to have been a part of Fount of Mercy's work in Uganda.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been aware of Fount of Mercy and their work for the past five to six years, specifically with Sewing Hope. I find this program a fantastic out-reach program to empower women in the Jinga Uganda area to be self reliant. The training that is offered to these women is a wonderful opporunity for them to learn a trade which will not only benefit them, but it beneifts their family directly. It enables these women to provide basic necessities to their families and people that rely on them.

I visited Jinga for two weeks in Dec/Jan 2011 and have seen for myself the results of the training these women have received. I had the priviledge to visit with some of the women who are making clothes for people in and around some of the villages including their families. I was there to attend my daughters wedding and several of the ladies attending the wedding from the US were wearing dresses made by women who were trained by Sewing Hope. I was priviledged enough to be able to visit their shops and see directly the materials and pictures they have on their walls that show the clothes a customer can choose from. It's amazing the clothes they can make using manual sewing machines. I was very impressed with their work and dedication to their work.

The staff of Sewing Hope has provided an exeptional opportunity for these women who have little means of supporting themselves to learn a trade. Sewing Hope's volunteers, most from the Garment District in NYC, have experience in making different type of clothes and accessories and have shared their experitise with these African women, from dresses and purses to accessories. A rare opportunity for these women to have such high quality training and expertise.

I am very excited to have had the opportunity to see for myself the benefits of having Fount of Mercy sponsor Sewing Hope and the training they provide.



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!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am one of those people who feel that I should be doing something to help others less fortunate than I am, but I never seem to get around to doing anything about it. Through donating to Fount of Mercy, I have helped finance two trips to Uganda where volunteers go to help underpriviliged women and children. This organization does amazing work. They are starting a program called Focus on Change to teach deaf children to express themselves through photography. Most of these kids have never even seen themselves in a mirror no less through photographs. It takes special people to give of themselves like this and this is a very special organization.

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.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Upon just finishing my first summer (of what i anticipate to be many!) volunteering with Fount of Mercy, I left both beyond satisfied with my experience and teammates, as well as inspired and rejuvenated in life. I had a year in preparation for my Uganda trip, and one would think that after a year of anticipation that i would be disappointed. It was the exact opposite. I don't think my mind could have possibly imagined the joy i would find in volunteering, and especially with such a well organized, understanding and professional group. While in Uganda i photographed the 6 grassroots organizations that Fount partners with. Not only did i feel prepared for my adventures thanks to the amazing staff, but i also felt comfortable talking with the team before, during and after. Fount of Mercy is really doing something right when it comes to volunteer work. The level of compassion, responsibility, love, and passion that is put into their work is very moving, and i am honored to be a part of its history and future.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the summer of 2007, I traveled to Uganda on a Travel with Purpose team and had my life changed through that experience with Fount of Mercy! While in Uganda, I spent time facilitating education training workshops for Ugandan educators. Once I was back in the USA, I had the privilege of working with Fount of Mercy as the Educational Development Director, overseeing the overall educational development program. The organization does an excellent job of connecting stateside volunteers with Ugandans in a way that the stateside volunteers can use their skills to strengthen Ugandans. Fount of Mercy focuses on empowerment of the Ugandans it connects with. I have loved my time and experiences volunteering with Fount of Mercy!

14

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with Fount of Mercy and with the way that they as an organization are truly seeking to empower locals here in Uganda. They are taking a very appropriate approach to helping local grassroots organizations in a long-term, sustainable way. It is so encouraging to see the way Fount of Mercy is encouraging, supporting, and truly empowering organizations throughout Uganda.

Comments ( 1 )

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swhr 06/03/2010

This review is not for the Society for Women's Health Research. SWHR does not have any affiliation with the Fount of Mercy.

17

Board Member

Rating: 5

I had the life changing experience of participating in Fount of Mercy's Travel with Purpose program last summer. Upon arrival in Uganda, I was completely blown away by both the beauty of the country and the people and the immense poverty and need. After spending a week with a group of volunteers teaching in an orphanage, I can tell you that I have never seen poverty like that before in my life, but I left at the end of the week feeling good out the future of the children that attend that school because of what Fount is doing with the school. Through Fount of Mercy, the orphanage has funding for uniforms for students, meal plans and a library. Fount also provides strategic development expertise and leadership training for the school leadership.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was honored to help Fount of Mercy raise awareness and funds for their work in Uganda by assisting Tara Hawks with planning the first Sewing Hope Fashion Show in New York City. Working closely with Ms. Hawks and other Fount of Mercy Staff I was able to get a very close look at the work they have accomplished in Uganda. Their unique partnership approach is truly about empower the people of Uganda and helping build their capacity. The work Sewing Hope has done has had a direct impact on women, by teaching them how to sew. This skill is then used to help fuel the economy in their communities and also pass along the skills they learn to others. The Fashion Show Fundraiser is an incredible way for the Sewing Hope project of Fount of Mercy to showcase their work and encourage people in the United States to either travel to Uganda to help with the partner organizations there, or to help support their work financially. I was honored to help with this Fundraiser and continue to support the work Fount of Mercy is doing and plans to do. They are an incredible group of women and I hope to join them on a trip to Uganda to see the women and orphans they have been helping first hand.

10

Client Served

Rating: 4

Fount of Mercy is an organization that is really a partner in development. We carried out village baseline surveys together to get to understand the situation of women and the children. From our findings we developed projects that are suitable to address the problems of women and young single mothers. Vocational training and teaching women on how to run an income generating activity is one of the projects we developed. Thanks to Fount of Mercy staff and the volunteers that came through this organization. They are so friendly and are flexible when they interact with the local women.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think Fount of Mercy is an amazing organization. My first experience with Fount was when I traveled with my church's youth group to TAOST. Fount set our youth group up at TAOST where we assisted the teachers during the morning lessons. Teaching English was a huge focus and we utilized fun games, songs, and readings to help the children learn. During the afternoon sessions we led vacation bible school activities (i.e. games, arts and crafts,...) and played a lot of football (or soccer :)) As a chaperon, I was extremely nervous to take these youth to a third world country that none of us had every experienced. Fount of Mercy met with us multiple times in order to prepare us for this trip. They covered everything from team building exercises, to differences in the culture, to what to pack, to even going over our lesson plans and activities. Once on the ground in Jinja, Uganda Fount's attention to detail continued. Lori, an employee of Fount, handled our lodging, transportation, food, and also planned activities away from TAOST for our youth to see even more of Uganda. I was so impressed with Fount of Mercy's mission of assisting grass root African organizations to care for and educate orphans that I immediately began planning a trip for the following year. I felt a bond with the children of TAOST so me and two friends decided to travel back. Fount of Mercy representatives were just as awesome if not even more so in planning for this trip. They took the skills of our three person team and focused on how we could best benefit TAOST. With Fount's help we set up lesson plans to include a variety of instructional strategies for the morning sessions and the afternoon sessions would then be spent with teaching the teachers how to incorporate these strategies into their lessons. While the trip was a lot of work, it was extremely rewarding. I often wonder if the trip did more for me then my work did at TAOST. However, I do know the lessons the teachers of TAOST learned from our time there will benefit the children for years to come. Fount of Mercy allowed me to use some of my skills and education to help others. Fount made the trip planning easy so we were able to really focus on the mission of helping. Looking forward to my third trip back!

13

Former staff

Rating: 5

FOM works with small grassroots organizations in Uganda that serve vulnerable populations many of whom are women. There are many widows, single mothers, women with disabilities and orphaned/vulnerable girl children. FOM works to build the capacity of these organizations that serve these disenfranchised groups by jointly developing programs and projects that benefit the poorest women and girl children. One of the main ways that women are empowered is by integrating them into a viable income generating activity. An example is sewing and tailoring for which FOM pays for the training courses of women in the villages so they can learn to be tailors, generate income and support their families. Another instance of empowering young girls and women is through FOM's joint educational initiatives with community based schools that allow children who do not have the money to pay for school fees to receive an elementary education. FOM is an amazing ngo, because they utilize local knowledge, resources and incorporates the sustainability approach in all their development initiatives. The goal of all development endeavors and activities is to help achieve self-sustainability of the grassroots organization, poor communities and the most vulnerable individuals of those communities. This is done by building on the existing capacities of the stakeholders so poorest of the poor will have more choices regarding their lives and those of their families.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Fount of Mercy is doing some incredible work in the New York City area. They are making great strides in benefitting widows of AIDS in Uganda by teaching them how to sew. Sewing Hope, under Fount of Mercy, creates a beautiful blend that combines the needs of Uganda with the overflow of New York City by throwing a high end fashion show that features garments made with Ugandan fabric. Their events are as chic as any event here in NYC, and it's all for a good cause.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful people to for/with. A HIGHLY organized and hard-working group of people, and, most importantly, a cause this is so worthy. Tell your story here and help others understand this charity

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm privileged to know the directors of Fount of Mercy and Sewing hope. I have seen the growth of this vision and I'm glad to now see the benefits. I have seen all the potential they have to serve our people in Uganda. The trainings that have been given to both women and children is grate as we see transitions made in the women's lives as they learn skills and get to feel useful in our communities. You may not know this yet, but you did put a smile on my mother at Lwanda and my Aunty, who have lost all hope after they lost the only bread winners they had in their lives -husbands. Being part of a group with ability to learn and improve in different skills especially sewing, is giving many hope to seek for their own means of income.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Fount of Mercy's project Director for Sewing Hope, Tara Hawks, in planning and executing the annual fashion show fundraiser in New York city. From day one, Tara and her team had a clear vision and passion for this project that was easily contagious. Seeing the need in Uganda for women to have marketable skills, Sewing Hope has found a way to turn the NY fashion industry into their source for support. It was inspiring to see some of New York's talented and acclaimed designers create and donate garments made from African fabric to raise money that will go directly back to purchase sewing machines, fabric, and support the training of women in Uganda. What's even better is that Sewing Hope is seeing these women form partnerships and support each other. They are actively encouraged to reinvest in their growing garment businesses. I am so impressed with how Sewing Hope/Fount of Mercy shows stewardship of its funds. Every decision in the planning of the event was focused on how it will best serve the women in Uganda. From the raffle, to the guest refreshments (our wine sponsor was a company owned and operated by two women out of CA), Sewing Hope has aligned itself with donors, volunteers, and vendors that support empowering women and are eager to see growth for Sewing Hope and, therefore, Fount of Mercy's global impact.

13

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I traveled to Kampala and Jinja, Uganda with Fount of Mercy in August 2009. While in Uganda I worked with three different indigenous orphan care organizations to better understand accountability and bookkeeping. I "audited" their records and provided training and templates so that each of their systems could be improved going forward. The Fount personnel I spent time with truly had pure intentions in their work with orphan care organizations in Uganda and they had the experience and knowledge to do things right. Fount is a small organization and as such they are careful to not stretch themselves too thin. Being involved with Fount truly changed my life. I came back from my trip to Uganda knowing that I want to be involved in economic development in poverty stricken countries. Seeing economic development done "right" through Fount's Sewing Hope program and the program I was involved in really gave me courage to pursue my dream. Since returning from that trip I have left my career in finance and accounting and am now working at a startup non-profit focused on business training and microfinance in poverty areas.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a unique window into the Sewing Hope wing of the Font of Mercy organization. I watched 24 hours of random footage detailing the women involved in a tailoring program which was set up to train AIDS widows in sewing so that they'd have income and can keep their families together. I was impressed by how Fount of Mercy finds ways to fund and provide supplies and technical assistance to already existing organizations which are run by Ugandan nationals. That way, these orgs are on their way to self-sufficiency. I was really impressed with all I saw in this footage, and how the women are drawn into the process of deciding what they need.