When Minnesota native Sylvia Allen was asked more than a decade ago to be the honorary
grandmother to over 1,000 children in the rural African village of Mbiriizi,
Uganda at the tail end of a humanitarian trip, she set out on the conquest of a
lifetime – to not only love and support her newly adopted grandchildren, but to
make a difference in their lives.
13 years strong, her organization Sylvia’s Children has improved the lives of the children at the Mbiriizi Advanced Primary School and the village of Mbiriizi
by helping to implement and cultivate a self-sustainable economic and
entrepreneurial system. Since launching the organization, Allen has
successfully supported her adopted grandchildren by gaining annual sponsorship
for many of the orphans, and has raised over one million dollars, all of which
has gone directly to the school.
organization has constructed a 6,000-square-foot medical clinic,
increasing access to health care for both the children and the village at
large, in addition to a fresh well, a chicken coop with 4,000 chickens, a
kitchen, a corn milling building, a sewing facility, new classrooms, housing
for teachers and orphans, a fully-stocked library, a playground, a pig farm and
more. Allen also hosts a medical trip once-a-year bringing over medical
professionals to the school to treat and even save lives.
Some of the lives she has saved, or vastly improved the quality of life for, have included:
- Umar, a 12-year-old orphan suffering from Typhoid Fever, which caused him to suffer from intestinal bursting. Through the support of Sylvia's Children, Umar was rushed to the hospital, where his life was saved through emergency surgery. - Gloria was a 15-year-old girl who desperately needed a hip replacement. Sylvia's Children replaced her hip, and now she is able to walk without the assistance of crutches. - Baby Jjuko Matia was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect involving a baby's spinal cord, which as in this case can be fatal. Sylvia's Children treated his condition and saved his life. - Ibrahim, a 10-year-old boy, was badly burnt with third degree burns, following an accident outside his home involving a pot of boiling water. With the help of Sylvia's Children, his burn wounds were treated, and a year later, his scars were gone.
In addition to these four examples, Sylvia's Children has helped to set broken bones, saved children's lives from Malaria, and even performed dental procedures, including some dental emergencies.
Sylvia's Children now needs to raise $45,000 so that nine healthcare professionals can travel to Uganda and work at the clinic at the Mbiriizi School, saving and improving more lives. Will you help us to help them?
Sylvia's Children founder Sylvia Allen stops by Fox 5 in 2012.