Monday, October 31, 2011

Thank you for your tremendous support

*event pictures by Photography By Ardean

Dear friends:

We are thrilled to share with you the good news that with your support we raised $10,500 at the Nzirambi Photo Exhibition Fundraiser.

It was a spectacular night: the photos by Brian Pieters were stunning; the abundance of items donated for our silent auction was amazing; the food, wine and beer were great; and Pikto Gallery was filled to the brim with people, enjoying the fantastic drumming.

As the organizers, we were overwhelmed at the outpouring of support. The children at the orphanage dream big with thoughts of higher education, and with your support we will help get them there.

All of the funds raised at this event will be put toward a scholarship fund that will pay for university tuition, as well as secondary school. Currently, the Nzirambi Education Fund is supporting 4 girls in high school and another in Law School. Next year, the number of children we support will double. As more children grow older, more will need our help to access higher levels of learning.

Your donations will go a long way in ensuring the children of the Nzirambi Orphanage in Uganda have the best chance possible to succeed.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution and for helping to fulfill dreams. None of this would have happened without your support.

We hope you will stay connected with us on Facebook at

Thank you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

News Release: Nzirambi Photo Exhibition Fundraiser in Support of Ugandan Orphanage

The “Nzirambi Photo Exhibition,” providing a glimpse into life at a Ugandan orphanage, will be unveiled during a special fundraising event on Oct. 27. Funds raised will go toward the Nzirambi Education Fund which ensures the boys and girls of this orphanage have access to higher levels of education, including senior levels of high school, college and university.

“Most of the children at the Nzirambi Orphanage are there because their mothers died during childbirth or due to AIDS. Some are there because they have been abandoned by their families,” said Karen Snider, co-founder of the Canadian-based Nzirambi Education Fund. “Despite the odds, these children are striving and healthy. We hope the resilience of these children, as captured in this photo exhibition, will inspire others to give so that we can continue to help these children go to school.”

The collection of photos will be on display at Pikto Gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District on Oct. 27. Doors open at 7 p.m. Along with the exhibition, there will be a silent auction and raffle for which local businesses have donated more than $6000 in gifts. There will also be a live African drumming performance. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at

Among the silent auction prizes included are: an iPod Touch with Beats by Dre headphones; $500 dinner for four in your home catered by chef Matt Kantor; a limited edition print valued at $400 from local artist Arto Yuzbasiyan; certificates from Toronto’s top restaurants; and a 1.5 hour social media consulting session with Canada’s leading tech guru Amber Mac. There will also be a $500 Toronto ‘foodie’ raffle prize with gifts, restaurant certificates, Niagara wine tastings, a special Starbucks Reserve coffee tasting and cupcake making class.

Food and drinks at the event will be sponsored by: Caplansky’s Deli, St. Louis, Le Dolci cupcakes, Underdog Wine and Mill Street Brewery.

The Nzirambi Education Fund would like to thank the following organizations for their sponsorship and donations:

Brian Pieters Photography, Pikto Gallery, Underdog Winery, Mill Street, Caplansky’s Deli, St. Louis Bar and Grill, e11even, Acura Sherway, Molson, Arto Yuzbasiyan, Nathalie-Roze, Any Direct Flight, Meditative Arts, Parent Central, Amber Mac, The Mother of All, Le Dolci, Te Aro Coffee, Fuss Hair Studio, Unmarketing, Poetic Art, Bloom Restaurant, Starbucks, Putting Edge, Evoke Hair Salon, Danier Leather, Fair Trade Jewellery, Lou Dawgs, Bootycamp Fitness, Il Fornello, Magic Oven, Nota Bene, Solo Bace Hair Salon, Table 17, Pangaea, Little Kitchen, HoneyFig, Help We’ve Got Kids, Belly Bootcamp, Borden Communications, Chocolachocola, Michele Nidenoff, Art Gallery of Ontario, Yoga Sanctuary, Green Lavender


About the Orphanage

The Nzirambi Orphanage was started by Dorothy Nzirambi more than 20 years ago when she took in an abandoned baby whose mother had died during childbirth. She was living in a grass-thatched home at the time, with little means. However, under Ms. Nzirambi’s care, the child flourished and this was the humble beginnings of the orphanage.

Today at this family-run orphanage there are more than 85 boys and girls, ranging in from newborns to 21-years-old. Many of the children lost their mothers in childbirth and their fathers could not, or would not, care for them. Some are there because their mothers have died of AIDS, or because the children have been abandoned by their families.

About the Nzirambi Education Fund

This Canadian grassroots initiative aims to raise funds to ensure that every boy and girl reaching the levels of higher education can afford to go. Primary education in Uganda is free. However, higher levels of education are especially critical for these children, giving them additional resources to become leaders in their communities and break free of the cycle of poverty they are in. The Fund aims to raise $30,000 in the next three years to pay for nine children who will be in post-secondary school.

For more information, contact:

Karen Snider, Nzirambi Education Fund

416 518-2844 /

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blog Action Day: Droughts and Matoke

Today is Blog Action Day 2011, a day when bloggers around the world are encouraged to blog about one particular theme. This year’s theme is ‘food.’ I just wrote a post for the Canadian Red Cross blog on the current crisis in the Horn of Africa because of the lack of food, but I wanted to share something on this blog too.

Northern Uganda has indeed been affected by the drought that has impacted at least five countries in the Horn of Africa. Thankfully for the orphanage, the situation has not been as dire in Uganda as it has been in other countries, such as Somalia and Kenya.
The orphanage we support is in southern Uganda, and should the south be affected by droughts, it would indeed, hurt the children.

The orphanage is currently working hard to become self-sufficient through farming. That way they can rely on their own crops and livestock and sell any extras. They currently grow foods, such as matoke (a kind of banana very popular in Uganda), potatoes, carrots, cabbage and other greens. They have a chicken coop as well, so they have a daily supply of fresh eggs. Based on this, you can see why good rainfalls are important.

I’ve often wondered what would happen to the women and children of the orphanage if they did experience a drought. Although they are fortunate to be sponsored by so many of us in Canada and the UK, it would still be an incredible challenge to overcome if the entire country was facing a food shortage.

Imagine going to the grocery store and there was no food on the shelves to purchase. That’s what could happen if a country that relies on agriculture experiences severe long-term drought. Crops don’t grow and therefore there is nothing to consume or purchase.

Thankfully, this is not a challenge we have had to confront.

So, on a much lighter note – and still on the theme of food -- I thought to share with you a recipe for a dish that the House Mothers in Uganda spoil me with when I am there.

It’s a peanut stew that is poured over rice or potatoes. This recipe calls for peanut butter, which they do not have at the orphanage.

Instead, the women grind peanuts using a traditional mortar. It’s hard work too. I tried once and my arms were aching because the mortar is heavy and it takes time to grind the peanuts right down to a paste. It is, however, worth every effort.

Click here for the recipe.