04/20/2011 07:55 pm ET | Updated Jun 19, 2011

Let Me Tell You About a Man I Know

You've probably never heard his name or wouldn't recognize him if you were standing next to him. He's no Brad Pitt and his wife is by no means Angelina Jolie but with the amount of children they have you would beg to differ. This man, a dedicated professor at a teacher's college, has taken nothing and helped create a schoolhouse for the children in his small village. His bright smile and warm heart is so infectious that you understand why he does what he does. He is without a doubt dedicated to the welfare of his children as well as his fellow educators and students.


Ben Oryang is the driving force behind Just Like My Child's Universal Education Program. A program that offers rural Ugandan communities a chance to take education into their own hands and build self-sustaining schools and education systems. Lending a hand to the parents, the teachers, and surrounding communities, Project Universal Education provides the necessary tools to operate and manage schools without further investment from outside their home country. The program also ensures gender equality, teacher education and training, and monitoring of student progress.

Ben and his wife, Beatrice (she's a professor at the teacher's college, too), believe in Just Like My Child's mission and have become influential in their community, inspiring educators to become visionary leaders and mentors to the children. Just Like My Child's first school, the Children's Academy for the Collective Heart would not have become what it is today without Ben's contributions. The academy has provided classrooms and a stable learning environment for hundreds of children since opening early 2010.

I am not just writing this to talk about a man doing good somewhere in Africa. This is about a man doing what he knows is right. Both he and his wife inspire entire communities to rise up, work together, and build a future for their children. With so little he and his wife have created so much. Between the two of them they have very little income for their own immediate family and yet when a distant relative dies Ben and Beatrice take in their orphaned family members. Beatrice would rather her family go without food than have her children, both maternal and adopted, go without an education. Both parents understand the value of a skilled and inquisitive child. Caring for so many children is a huge sacrifice that I'm not sure many people would make.

The work that Ben and Beatrice are doing is changing the future of so many teachers, students and communities. So little provides so much to the schools in rural Uganda. A small tax-deductible investment, as little as even $10, can support a school by suppling school books and furniture. Be a Ben or a Beatrice and inspire a community of educators and children today!

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