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Sylvia's Children

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development

Mission: In 2003, Sylvia Allen went on a humanitarian trip to Uganda, Africa. While she was there, she was asked by Geofrey Kawuma, head of the Mbirizi Primary School, to be the school’s Grandmother. With 1,000 children in the school, of which a third are orphans due to the AIDS crisis, she was honored to accept the responsibility. Out of this Sylvia’s Children was born a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of her ‘grandchildren'; to give the children a fighting chance. The organization helps to better the lives of the 1,005 children in the village, and in the process is setting up a self-sustainable economic system that will allow the school and the community to thrive.

Results: We've Built: A boys dormitory An addition to the girls dormitory A clean well for fresh water Three new double classroom blocks A new library A building for corn milling A playground A 10-unit teachers housing A building housing 24 sewing machines And Supplied: Money for a 6,000-square-foot medical clinic (currently being built) Three new stoves Three new cooking pots to extend the ability to feed the children Desks for the new classrooms Medical supplies for the nurse School supplies Multiple Christmas parties with gifts American and Ugandan flags New t-shirts and dresses for the children 1,000+ pairs of shoes and socks Books for the library Computer and Internet service Solar lights for nighttime safety 1,000 blankets - one for each child New beds for the boys dormitory New latrines A chicken coop with 400 chickens to give the kids one egg per day. We've Also: Hired a school nurse Purchased eight acres of land adjacent to the school for corn Increased student population from 439 to over 1,000 Increased support for orphans in primary and a secondary school

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last November (2016) I went with Sylvia to help with the Christmas festivities. We also had a team of nurses who came to give physicals etc. It was a life changing experience! To see all these happy children, who have nothing, except what the sponsors provide, is remarkable. We visited classrooms, who teach without the benefit of textbooks,they learn everything by rote. Having been a teacher I was amazed at the quality of education, and all with class sizes twice the size of those in the U.S. I was 72 when I went and I promised the children I would return when I was 75, so I need to stay healthy!

Donor

Rating: 5

I first became aware of Sylvia's Children when the daughter of a friend accompanied Sylvia on her annual trip to Africa. Hearing of the amazing work being done and seeing the images she captured while there convinced me this was an organization making a very big difference in the lives of children. The fact that this is a local organization was important to me . I am kept abreast of their activities by email.
It somehow feels more personal than other charities i support.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to this organization since it's inception, and our daughter has gone to Uganda 3 times with Sylvia's Children. Sylvia is directly involved with the school, and with the children and staff. She, and various volunteers, have traveled to Uganda for many years, bringing supplies and financial support. With Sylvia's effort, they have achieved so much in making the school great for the children, including the orphans, who actually live at the school. New dormitories, a well, and a library are among the many accomplishments. Also, the village has benefited, because they been helped to be more self sufficient. Great organization. and one amazing woman....

Donor

Rating: 5

Sylvia's Children is a remarkable cause benefitting some of the worlds most disadvantaged children find a better way of life through schooling. The sponsor/organizer, Ms Allen, has unbelievable passion and drive in pursuit of seeing these orphaned children experience a life filled with love, support and hope that wouldn't exist without the organization's funding and efforts.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am Rev. Kawuma Geofrey Walter. I am from Africa Uganda, I meet Sylvia Allen in 2003. I have a primary school, and some orphans from the school and I requested Sylvia to be the grand mother of the children. Good enough, Sylvia DID. The school is growing: we had 438 children before Sylvia joined us now we have 1,012 children. Sylvia has so far raised more than $1,000,0000, and we have done more projects: we have a Clinic, chicken farm, a Pig farm, sewing school, coffee nursery, Mongo nursery, Every xmas we have a party where a boy gets a shirt and a girl gets a dress and a bottle of soda and a plate of rice and beef.
We do the same every summer when Sylvia visits the school. All in all SYLVIA IS OUR ANGEL AND SHE'S HONEST.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for Sylvia's Children. The most amazing reason that I support Sylvia's Children, besides the great work being done, is that all (really 100%) of the monies donated go to the Mbiriizi Advanced Primary School in Mbiriizi, Uganda, Africa. I was so impressed with what Sylvia Allen is doing with her charity that I wanted to help with more than monetary contributions, so I have been volunteering in the office for more than 8 years.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just returned from a trip with Sylvia's Children. To say it was a life changing experience is an understatement. Thinking back on my trip I think the most truthful fact I can share is that Sylvia's Children has managed to master the delicate balance between reaching out a helping hand while still preserving the recipient's dignity,sense of self, and culture. This organization has provided countless children the opportunity of education as well as developing an entire community surrounding the school. It was truly a humbling experience to watch how one organization can truly make a global impact.

Donor

Rating: 5

Sylvia's Children is an act of pure love. With donations and assistance tirelessly recruited from generous donors, Sylvia has caused a community of orphans and teachers to thrive - bringing fresh water, improved nutrition, buildings for classes and teacher's housing, a clinic with solar panels and medical supplies, sources of farming income, and more. This has blossomed into a truly remarkable school, nurturing future leaders and a secure home for orphans. It is also a model for what can occur with devotion and committed love.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sylvia's heart is as big as this world. When children at the Mbirizzi Elementary School and Orphanage in Uganda asked Sylvia to be their grandmother, she embraced that role with whole-hearted love and determination. She has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and recruited dozens of dedicated volunteers, and gotten the children clean water, healthy food, and resources to teach and heal. She has built dozens of buildings to house children and staff, and a state-of-the-art medical clinic. As a church pastor, I see her as a stellar example of what one person with a vision can do to transform this world into oases of compassion.

TomClancy

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization has surprised me with it's grass roots gumption! From the moment my wife and I came to be aware of Sylvia Allen and the work she has done for the children of the Mbiriizi Advanced Day and Boarding School, we have heard about the processes Ms. Allen has put into place in an effort to help make the school a self-sustaining model of success. We have heard of chickens being donated, clothes, toys, sewing machines, classroom blocks, nursing services, etc., all to help these children, many of them orphans, live a better, more fulfilling and healthier life. Sylvia's Children is an organization I am pleased to know exists in our world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are many organizations out there that you can give donations to but, for me, I was able to experience this one first hand. The work that is done to help these children is more than just exceptional. I was able to see their classrooms and get to see how intelligent these beautiful children are. I truly believe they would not be where they were today without the work Sylvia has put in to help them. I would highly recommend this organization to anyone.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

November 2016 I had the opportunity to join Sylvia with a work group of nine to help with Sylvia's Children Project in Mibiriizi,Uganda. It was great to see and help with all that is being accomplished at the school, orphanage, clinic, and farm for the children and people of Uganda. I truly believe it is education and health care most needed in Uganda and all of Africa . Well, this is what is where it is happening. With hard work and real dedication of Sylvia Allen, all her volunteers and the wonderful staff at Mibiriizi much has been accomplished and results are very evident. The children were so appreciative and happy. Thanks to Sylvia and all those donating or helping with Sylvia's Children. This is definitely a help effort where your time or donations are well used and paying off. Marjorie Spiel

Mary448

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sylvia’s mentoring and advise helped the Heritage Foundation double the sponsorship dollars for our 3 annual community events in Franklin, TN. She has “been there and done that” and is happy to share her expertise. Her consulting style is fun and approachable. Once you are part of Sylvia’s Children team—she is phone call away. I think she is a rock solid investment of your time and money!

Mary Pearce
Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County
Franklin, TN

2 Doug43

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sylvia Allen has created a beautiful cooperative project with students and staff at Mbrizzi. Her mission was not charity but empowering and that is what she has done. And that is what makes every dollar given to Sylvia's Children so vital. 100% of the donations go to the school, funding education, community projects, medical care. The school and local community is a better place because of this cooperative effort between Sylvia's Children and Mbrizzi. I have seen it first hand and encourage anyone interested to join one of her yearly trips to the school. You will be changed forever.

2 krients

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Kristin Rients’ Sylvia’s Children Experience

Through a work friend, I was introduced to Sylvia Allen and subsequently given the life-changing opportunity this past March (due to my healthcare background) to accompany her and a medical team to the medical clinic, primary school and orphanage she founded and has since worked tirelessly to fund and expand in Mbiriizi, Uganda, Africa. However please do not let the phrase "life-changing" get lost in the surrounding words and paragraph, because the experience and the opportunities that have seemingly fallen into place since my taking this journey have been, for me, nothing short of exactly that - simply and happily "life changing". I simply said “Yes,” and Sylvia took care of the rest. With the itinerary meticulously planned, I packed a bag, got on a plane and my life changed forever. Upon landing, I was greeted by the big smile of our driver - who would also be our guide and trusted companion for the duration of the trip, and someone who I am happy to say has become a person I now hold very close to my heart and will keep in touch with always. We traveled in the comfort of our safari truck to and from the beautiful hotels to the clinic and orphanage, where each day we were greeted by smiling, laughing children who were as happy to see us as we were them. Through our interactions with them while both working in the clinic and playing with them in the courtyards, we shared smiles, laughter and happiness - and took lots and lots of pictures! The clinic and school staff were happy to receive our help and the supplies we brought, and I felt our being there really made a difference to them, to the surrounding community and to the future success of their collective mission. By the last day, which marked the end of my time with them, I was overwhelmed with tears and gratitude so great that I could barely speak - taken by the surprise at my having been adopted by them as their “Nanteza Kristin” (which from what I understand means “Aunt” in their culture). I was ceremoniously and lovingly given this tribal name, so many hugs and kisses that I will treasure forever, and the gift of purpose that cannot ever truly be properly expressed in mere words. I can still hear their little voices saying my name as we said goodbye, and it brings tears to my eyes each and every time I think back on those wonderful moments. From there Sylvia resolved to show us the heart of Africa: expansive landscapes that have remained untouched for thousands of years, and the beautiful animals that inhabit their vast horizons. In her years of experience in facilitating this trip, Sylvia has created a balanced, truly wonderful and eye-opening experience that is just waiting and available to all wishing to make a difference in the world, and in themselves, as well. And the shift in focus which inevitably occurs from the vastness of the experience will undoubtedly transform the lives and thinking of anyone who participates from a perspective of seeing lack in their lives to seeing abundance in all things. This trip is in and of itself life-changing.
So often in our lives we search the horizon for opportunities to serve, and often even feel overwhelmed that there is so much to do we don't really know where to start. We, unconsciously even maybe, believe that giving of ourselves or our time is something that might be difficult, or that the rewarding feeling we are searching for is not really something that is attainable for us. But in this it is easy, and it is right here. My decision to take the trip was one of the best decisions I have ever made, one of the best experiences I have ever had, and I simply cannot wait until I the day I can return to the all-embracing hands and shiningly hopeful faces that have captured my heart.

Upon my return, I decided to put action behind my newfound faith and make dedicated service to others my life's work and mission by volunteering, and ultimately joining Sylvia in her dream of replicating her successes in Mbiriizi and sharing them with other African villages and people. And I use the courage, strength and faith I gained in both myself and in life itself to teach my young son each and every day that he is strong enough, and has been given enough to always, always reach out to help those in need. As he has volunteered his time already, I hope that this experience will serve him in his life and life's work as well as he grows older and sets out into the world to bring positive changes, future learning transformations, and help to those who need someone, anyone to care.
My advice to anyone who is searching, really open to service and helping those in need: if you are looking for your life purpose, or even to spend your time in a more rewarding way, please reach out to this wonderful woman - who truly is the facilitator of purposeful service, self- discovery, and life change.
As every moment is an opportunity to serve, this one is easy and it is here, always waiting - for you. It is an experience in the pure joy that comes from helping someone who has been neglected and is in pain to simply feel better, and it is an experience in seeing a big smile emerge on the face of a small child who once was scared, but now because of you, feels cared for and loved. My advice to anyone who is even considering taking a step in faith to help another is to just do it. Let go of your fear and instead exercise your faith and your strength. Say “Yes,” and watch the magic happen in your thinking, in your experiences, in your life, and in the lives of those you know and love.
Your circle of family will be forever expanded, the world will be within your reach, and your dreams will begin to come to light.
Thank you for taking the time to focus on this wonderful mission, Sylvia’s Children, and hopefully my words will help to inspire others to take the steps in faith they need to in order to join in the task of helping those in need - in this case, children just like yours and mine who need someone, anyone to show them they are safe, cared for and loved.
Kristin Rients

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have offered professional services to Sylvia's Children through the past few years and have been pleasantly surprised at the positive impact of this organization. As the number of supported children grows, Sylvia's children continues to faithfully provide even more services and as well as accommodations for the children. It has been rewarding to read about the impact of Sylvia's Children on volunteers and their testimonies of the quality in every aspect of the organization.

2 Susan418

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In a time when we sadly discover how often the money we give nonprofits never reaches its intended recipients, Sylvia's Children gives 100% of its proceeds to its cause- the Mbiriizi School in Uganda. Many of its students are orphans. When Sylvia Allen "adopted" them (or they adopted her), their world changed. Thanks to Sylvia's Children, they have clean water to drink, dormatories for the teachers, an improved kitchen, a library and a medical clinic that now has some services available to the nearby village as well. The children are continuing into seconary school in unprecedented numbers, and some have even gone on to college. But what I love about this nonprofit is that not only are these children being given assistance, Sylvia is working hard at making the school self-sufficient through developing skills in farming, sewing and crafts. As these children's lives improve through education and skill-development, the lives of their communities, their country, and eventually the world will improve as well. I do not have much to give. I am excited to give to a cause where everything I have goes to make a difference.

2 ClaireKat899

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked in connection with Sylvia's Children since 2007 and am consistantly in awe of the progress and self sustainable practices that the school continues to adopt. I traveled to Uganda on three seperate occasions and saw the growth with my own eyes, hugged these children, shared meals, and worked along side the people there. This is a fantastic organization built on honesty. Every dollar finds it's way to the school and the children who call it home. Please consider supporting this wonderful organization.

2 Vernoy P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When was the last time...or the first...that you felt truly selfless, overwhelmingly satisfied, and viewed the rest of your world with open eyes? Spending a couple of weeks with Sylvia and the children in her school in Mbiirizi, Uganda is a life experience that will leave you a changed person. I speak from personal experience. The genuine love and respect this school's community feels for Sylvia and her generosity is unparalleled...and everyone who accompanies her on these trips is privy to this experience, seeing pure, honest affection and selfless concern for others at work in every gesture, every hug and in every moment. It is both an honor and a privilege to be enveloped into this village of gratitude and hope through the magnanimous work of Sylvia's Children. This organization continues to change lives one charitable movement at a time.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sylvia's Children is an amazing organization that does excellent work at both the school and the community surrounding it. I've volunteered with Sylvia's Children in Uganda 3x and counting and I always look forward to seeing my kids and the familiar faces in the village. The work that has been and that is still being done is nothing short of a miracle and I look forward to see it continue to grow.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Working with Sylvia Allen in helping her garner funds and items to help the children of the Mbiriizi Primary School has been a great pleasure. Anyone who has witnessed Sylvia's determination to bring awareness of the plight these children face daily has seen the true dedication she has to making the student live in better conditions, learn a trade and work toward sustaining themselves for a brighter future. Sylvia's Children is all about teaching others to help themselves. I'm reminded of the old saying, "If you give a man a fish, he has dinner for a night. However, if you teach a man to fish, he will eat all the days of his life." Sylvia's Children is teaching people to "fish."