In early 2008, Kathy Ozzard Chism, at the time the Founder and Director of a global 501(c)(3) nonprofit, received an email from Mpagi Edward Edmary in East Africa.
Although a complete stranger, Kathy had what she calls a "heartpull" to his words. Edward talked of how he had been held on Death Row in Uganda for nearly 20 years as an innocent man... and that his dream the entire time was to build a school and orphanage for the children of prisoners and AIDS orphans in his area of Kasenge, Uganga - an area that had never seen help from anyone.
Kathy mentioned her nonprofit was very small and building a school could take a long time. Edward's response was that he had already been searching for someone to help him for four years... and that he was "a very patient man." Yes, Edward, you are.
With that, Kathy said yes.
After acquiring the land, they started by asking for donations for "Bricks of Love." $10 U.S. bought 90 bricks. Little by little, brick by brick, the first building, what would ultimately become the "Wisdom Library and Event Center," took form.
Kathy sent Edward funds for a camera, and when this photo arrived, she burst into tears. It is of Edward installing one of the window frames in the first new building - yet to her it represented all those years Edward dreamed his dream behind bars, and now he was standing inside his dream looking out.
Eventually Edward brought on his dear friend Katongole Ronald, a local accountant, to manage all the day-to-day needs for the project. Ron is tireless, amazing, as devoted to the children as Edward, and they are both adored by all who know them.
With children so eager to start school, classes began before floors were even finished. Today, the project is still a bit messy/muddy as we are in need of walkways from being a recently completed construction site, yet the children couldn't care less - they are just thrilled to be getting an education and food in their tummies every day.
Along with the Wisdom Library we have seven classroom buildings, a kitchen building, a teacher's building and storage house, lavatories for both boys and girls, a water well that services the entire community as well as the school, a medical clinic, organic gardens, electricity to all buildings, and a massive security wall around the entire complex.
We have also built an orphanage building that houses street children and children we have rescued from abusive situations, and a laundry facility.
Our hearts are grateful to every donor along the way, every volunteer builder along the way, every volunteer teacher along the way, our volunteer cooks, our volunteer doctor, our volunteer tailor, and everyone sponsoring one or more of our children. None of this would be happening without YOU, and we are humbled by and grateful for the love continuously shown to our dream.
That's what this school is - a complete labor of LOVE. Love is building it, Love is working it, Love keeps it going and growing.
To see a slideshow with some of the building history, click HERE.
For a smile and heartpull of your own, watch the slideshow below... ♥♥♥