What would YOU do with $50?

Children from the Circle of Peace school.

I love it when people are creative about asking for money. Like, they don’t ask. They simply show you why you should give. Or make you want to give because they’ve touched something deep inside you. That’s what I felt the minute I saw this video.

It made me cry to hear a child’s most extravagant wish was for a book. Or shoes. Or a mad hankering for something useful.

I wanted one of those children’s pictures – to pay for a year’s tuition for a Circle of Peace student, and to hang on my wall to remind me that I am blessed beyond measure.  And I wanted a drawing for my kids – so when they sit there amidst their i-pods and laptops and DVDs and blackberry phones, thinking about what else they need, they’ll look up and remember a child across the world.

$50 is the cost of this drawing, and a year's tuition at school.

Circle of Peace School was started in 1994 as a nursery school by Ugandan Joanita Bbaale, a teacher in the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda. She was troubled that many of  her young students were being denied an education because their parents were too poor to pay school fees, so she started holding free classes on the porch of her parents’ house. The school grew rapidly when the news of her excellent teaching spread.

The first class of Circle of Peace School, Joanita on the left.

Today, Circle of Peace school teaches 105 students in the Lower School and 92 students in the upper primary grades. Classes are taught in English to both Christian and Muslim children, with this one mission statement: “Children are gifts from God! Children have a God-given right to be educated. No matter who you are or where you live, we’re all looking for a better life and deserve that opportunity.”

Neat & tidy and ready to educate!

Amina Bbaale, the family matriarch, as well as Joanita, her six sisters, and four brothers all continue to either work at the school or support it financially. Many of the children are AIDS orphans and live in the dormitories on campus, and the school’s operating funds are supported by raising poultry –an operation in which all the children participate. Despite meager conditions, the school claims to produce the best-behaved and highest-testing students in the area.

It's fun to be smart!

If you want to break your own heart, read the Wish List on the Circle of Peace blog – requesting chalk, pencils, legos, basketballs, jump ropes, calculators, and classroom rugs. I’m giving $100 today to Circle of Peace School, in gratitude to the amazing Bbaale family — and artist Jiashan Wu with Joyce Meng, CEO of Givology, who produced this video that has brought the world’s attention to one beautiful little school in Uganda.

To join me & donate, click here