WHO WE ARE
Loving Hearts Foundation for Africa (LHFA) is a gospel-driven American nonprofit organization whose effort focuses on transforming the communities near Zirobwe, Uganda, helping them utilize their resources to sustain themselves as individuals, families, and communities by partnering with the Uganda non profit organization, Loving Hearts Foundation Ltd. (LHFL). Most rural Ugandans work in farming at subsistence levels, struggling to grow enough food to feed their families, rarely having a surplus to sell for income that could provide for other necessities like clothing and healthcare. We know from history that when poverty overtakes a village, spiritual and social decay follow.
These children are among the most poverty-stricken in the world and are in desperate need of access to education that will enable them to escape the cycle of poverty. Despite the fact that public education is compulsory and tuition-free for 6-13 year olds, many children in these rural areas cannot walk the long distances to the nearest school, nor can the families afford the required school supplies, uniforms, and testing fees not supplied by the government.Uganda has one of the highest elementary school dropout rates in the world. In 2016, nearly two-thirds (65%) of all elementary school students dropped out before completion. (2020 World Education Services wenr.wes.org) One report by Unicef identified poverty, a lack of nearby schools, inadequate and overcrowded learning facilities as the most critical drivers of the high dropout rate. LHFA’s goal is to enable them to get out of this downward cycle, remove the despair, and give them hope for their future.
ORIGIN OF LHFA:
LHFA was founded after Mike Noland and Karsten Mickelson visited Uganda, spending 10 days in May/June of 2019. They saw the dire situation that was in Zirobwe sub county. There was one primary school, Good Hope School, that served 3 villages.It was an open structure with a rusted, broken metal roof, dirt floors, no electricity, no running water, inadequate sanitation, and usually had no food for the children’s lunches. The school was run by two volunteer teachers, serving the 85 young children that were able to walk the distance to attend. Mike and
Karsten returned to the United States determined to help these children and the community.
LHFL and LHFA:
Our partners in Uganda, Loving Hearts Foundation Ltd.(LHFL), was established in 2019 to be the “the boots on the ground”, having members on the Board of Directors from both Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, and Zirobwe sub county, and are familiar with the needs and the culture, and language. We, LHFA, have partnered with LHFL to restore this rural, poverty-stricken area, which includes several nearby communities and villages. The original school shelter was reinforced, reroofed, and a thin concrete floor was placed. ( In November 2022, the entire structure needed to be rebuilt with bricks due to termite damage, which had rendered it unsafe.) Next to the original school building a larger, brick structure was built, complete with two classrooms, concrete floors, chair/desks, chalkboards, and a school office. We have even
had some soccer goals, netball hoops and swings installed on the playground, and provided jump ropes so the children can play and engage in sports activities. The simple latrine outhouse was first upgraded, then, in order to accomodate the enlarging student population, a new latrine was built with a six stall septic system. A new kitchen was also constructed that houses an efficient wood burning stove, with four cooking areas. As more students enrolled, cooks were hired for the daily food preparation, more certified teachers were hired, with
wages paid by LHFA, the village, and by the Uganda Ministry of Education. Many parents now volunteer to help clean and maintain the school grounds, fetch water, gather firewood, and assist with the daily needs of operating the school.
Along with all these projects, the community also desperately needed a new borehole well to be drilled and installed, as their only water source had dried up and was rendered useless. LHFA raised enough funds to drill and build a commercial sized well, able to supply ample clean water for the communities for many years.
We have purchased a 5 acre parcel of land and have been using it to grow crops and teach the villagers successful farming techniques. The crops, once harvested and processed (dried, shelled, milled into flour, bagged) have been used to feed the families in the communities during the 2 year covid lock-down, and now that schools are operating, provide for the two school meals every
school day for the students and staff. The village church has met many Sundays, using the school building as well, with the assistance of a pastor from Kampala and the willingness of some villagers to serve in that capacity.
LHFA continues to drive forward in fulfilling the vision of social, educational, and spiritual renewal for this area in rural Uganda. Through education, learning needed life skills utilizing the land, working cooperatively with each other, and establishing a Biblical foundation, LHFA is empowering these communities to positively contribute to their villages and to their society at large