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  • Writer's pictureKaitlyn Gresham

Think of Them as You're Buying School Supplies..

As the end of July approaches, many of us parents will start the chaos of back to school season. School supplies, bus schedules, school schedules, extracurricular activities, and lunch money will take over. We will fight crowds on tax-free day and will check off each supply as we put it in our cart. It will feel exciting, stressful, and even a little bit of a letdown as the end of summer is coming to a close. The beginning of the school year brings new classes and a fresh start. It comes with lot of expense and a bit of apprehension. My children are thrilled to see all their friends again while also feeling a bit nervous of walking into unknown territory. It will take some time before they know what to expect, get into a rhythm, and have their schedule down.

Across the world in Kenya and Uganda, it is also back to school season. As we stress about all we have to do here to send our kids off to a new grade, these parents stress about how they will pay for their children’s school tuition. The burden of paying for education and school supplies is a constant worry for parents living in extreme poverty. They recognize that education is crucial to their child’s success and survival, however, they often must choose between meals and housing or sending their children to school. Without tuition paid and proper school supplies, children are not even allowed to enter the school building. According to UNICEF, less than half of children in Kenya attend secondary school while in Uganda, only 16-18% attend secondary school.

Under the Same Tree has incorporated a "two generational approach" into our programming - meaning that we address the needs of two generations at the same time. While parents are able to work towards stability and self-sufficiency via our economic empowerment program, we reinforce their hard work by providing stipends to keep their children healthy and well educated. This sets up the next generation for success! Under the Same Tree cares for 47 children in Kenya and Uganda, and 100% of our school age children are in school. This past academic year we had our first two children graduate from high school and both have hopes of attending college. We are quite proud of their success!

From now through the end of August, we are actively campaigning to find sponsors for eight of our children who are not currently sponsored via a Back to School Sponsorship Campaign! Sponsorship provides the bulk of our funding to assist with school tuition, and sponsorship also creates the opportunity to form a unique relationship across the world. Sponsors provide another level of care for these families, and families in our programs have indicated knowing that someone else cares for them restores their hope.

Sponsorship through Under the Same Tree is $30 a month. As you prepare for your children to go back to school, I ask can you spare $30 a month to change a child’s life. Often it feels like we cannot add another expense and cannot afford another thing, but then I remember these families who make hard decisions on a constant basis and have burdens I cannot imagine. What sacrifices am I willing to make to make their lives just a bit easier?

To sponsor a child at Under the Same Tree, please email Christy Horton,

(Pictured: Children currently in need of sponsors - Deborah, Abigail [top], Joel, and Praise [bottom]).

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