Our Programs

Rapha’s House

As author Chinua Achebe’s novel states, “Things fall apart.” For Mustard Seed students caught in those situations, we built Rapha’s House. It is a home for healing, located right across the road from the Primary School campus.

Mustard Seed students all join the school while living in town with parents or guardians. But, as students get older, sometimes the family situation changes. Sometimes parents separate. Sometimes a single parent dies. Sometimes a parent loses a job and can no longer afford the rent in town. Sometimes a child is abused. Things fall apart, but the impact is cushioned for MSA students. With the guardian’s permission, the student moves into Rapha’s House. Many brothers and sisters are there to befriend them. A housemother and housefather care for the kids. The apartment for the social worker is on the same compound, and she participates in the family life.

The quality of care and healing of Rapha’s House is reflected by the students who stay there. Although their backgrounds are among the most broken, they are among the happiest and most successful of all the MSA scholars. What a testimony to the healing power of love.

Nancy’s Girls

In 2006, RPU board member Judy Sconyers came back from her second trip to Uganda. She couldn’t get the young teen-age girls off her mind. She shared with her sister, Nancy Squires, the plight of these girls. After they finish primary school (7th grade), they have no opportunity for further education unless someone pays for it. Few parents have money for more schooling, and if there is a little money, boys are given preference.

Judy and Nancy hatched an idea that became a life-changing program called “Nancy’s Girls.” Over 100 young women from Lukaya have been educated beyond their dreams because of this program. Most have completed college and are working in solid, income-producing jobs. The few who didn’t complete the program still have succeeded in breaking the cycle of poverty. Through Nancy’s Girls, they have more education and skills than 70% of their peers. This gives the girls a broader, richer perspective on their lives. It helps them to be self-reliant, increases their standard of living, and benefits their children.

Community Water Station

In 2014, a Rotary Global grant brought plentiful, good water to the Mustard Seed Green Campus. As part of that grant, a community water station was located on a corner of MSA’s campus. This facility serves neighbors of Mustard Seed. Locals come by foot and bicycle to fill up jerrycans with good water, flowing from a tap, for free. This has improved the lives of hundreds of villagers and two neighboring schools.

Career Opportunity Pathways (COP)

The question of what students should do after Secondary 4 led to a program that has lots of admirers. We took a hard look at what would be the best use of the two years after the UCE. We found that it would be a different answer for different students, depending on whether they wanted to pursue a university degree or a vocational course.  For those who want a vocational path, the COP program was developed.

Choices include things like farming, business, technical institutes, nursing, catering, and hotel management.

The feedback from the students is unanimously positive, and finding a good job has been easy for them. Employers comment on their good English, work ethic, discipline, and ‘smartness.’ A Mustard Seed education plus two years in the COP program leads to big dreams coming true!

You can sponsor one of the COP students or contribute to the higher education program in general.

Sponsor a Child

We support several programs beyond Mustard Seed Academy that serve the children and families in Lukaya.

We have been matching sponsors with children since 2006. Many of those first sponsors are still sponsoring. Their support is financial, social, emotional, and spiritual. And, the fruits of the relationships are remarkable on both sides of the ocean.

Sponsors and students connect through photos, reports, letters, and small gifts. RPU representatives travel to Lukaya at least twice a year and carry the mail from sponsors with them. While at Mustard Seed, we take new photos of all of the students and work with teachers to help students write to their sponsors. Two times a year sponsors receive a special package with the new photos, letters and information from MSA.

More than 30 sponsors have had the great joy of traveling to Uganda and meeting their special child in person. Maybe you will be next!

Agricultural initiatives

‘Do you dig?’ Visitors to Lukaya often hear that question. Most Americans need a little translation before answering. We might say, ‘Do you have a garden?’ Or, ‘Do you like gardening?’ For most women of Lukaya, digging is part of their lives. Some do it in a very professional way, others go to someone else’s land and do what they are told to do. They may dig with a hoe or carry watering cans to water young plants. They may harvest ripe vegetables or dig weeds. It is hard work that is often done in the heat of the day. They get paid very little.

In Ugandan culture, digging is women’s work, and it is not respected. Few men enjoy working in a garden. Thankfully, General Manager, George Kateregga is an exception. He has been key in changing the image of agriculture through example and education.

MSA teaches conservation agriculture, and many kinds of crops are grown. Ornamental gardens on campus include herbs such as rosemary, Moringa trees, and fruit trees. Sukumu wiki (healthy greens) and cabbages also fill the beds near the classrooms.

Beyond gardening, small initiatives in animal husbandry have been made. The health and nutrition of MSA students and staff are improved with milk, eggs, fish, and even rabbit.