Thank you for the opportunity to share the story of how Global Mosaic International has begun what many naysayers see as a pipe dream – to establish a degree-granting counseling college in Kigumba, Uganda. Just
remember that we are talking about a God-given vision of Evelyn Biles, who has never been easily discouraged.
Since 2002, Global Mosaic International has brought training to leaders and people groups throughout the South East Asian and African world. These venues have been from remote areas of India and Cambodia to the most
modern worlds of Hong Kong and Singapore. Global Mosaic has been based primarily in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia as the take-off point to over thirty different countries throughout Asia and Africa. Each place of training and leading has presented unique challenges. Culture, language, transportation, materials,
food, facilities, and expectations have been just some of the factors always needing to be addressed. Recruitment of volunteers to assist in teaching and training has also been an ongoing enterprise. All who join Global Mosaic
on a project self-fund their personal expenses for travel, food, and housing. Global Mosaic has raised funds for on-site needs of training and materials. There have been over 500 individuals who have volunteered through the
years to be feet on the ground. Many more have been supporters financially and with prayer.
Currently the manual which Evelyn wrote on People Helping skills is being translated in multiple languages. A few of these are places to where Global Mosaic has not been physically but has developed contacts. Another
future vision is to send volunteers to each of these places at some point to train local teachers to be able to teach the content and skills to their communities.
But now back to Uganda. We say there can be naysayers because Uganda, despite much support from the world community, remains on the list of the 25 poorest countries in the world. 17 of these countries are in Sub-Sahara
Africa along with Uganda. We, as so many before us, must examine carefully how we use and provide our resources and how we help those we are assisting best to use and sustain these helps.
This undertaking began in 2005 in Lira, Uganda. Evelyn and a team from Global Mosaic International, conducted a training program with topics such as counseling and listening skills, and crisis and trauma recovery.
This was only a few years after many of the deadly wars within Uganda and the displacement into refugee camps of thousands who lost homes, families…everything. There were multiple relief organizations in the area
providing housing, food, and medical assistance. On ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ these are the first items needing to be addressed. But a little group of volunteers added another level. How do we help these people help
themselves emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically?
One of the students was a young man named Jimmy Obang. His heart was awakened to the great need to address this level of need. At the time he was a schoolteacher. As many of those in this area, he had migrated farther
south to safer areas, such as Kigumba (“Chigoomba”), which had escaped the war. On his certificate from the training was the signature, Dr. Evelyn Biles. He went to Facebook, (yes, Facebook is everywhere), to locate
Evelyn Biles to send a message of need for more training. This was pre-Facebook time for Evelyn. It was to be two years before she saw his message. Much to his delight, after patiently waiting, a line of communication was opened. He had already begun to make
use of the few materials from the training in Lira to start teaching others. Over the next several years Evelyn corresponded with him, sent training materials electronically, prayed for his work, and promised to one day
come to Kigumba. Six years ago, Jimmy left his teaching position to become a full-time pastor. He also began studies toward a degree from a Bible school in Kampala. God’s timing was slow for Pastor Obang but 2018
became the year ordained for Global Mosaic International to bring resources of people and instruction to Kigumba.
The decision was made late in 2017 to trust God for the planning, developing, and realization of a training project in August 2018. Back then, this seemed as adequate time for all to be made ready. It is not like we were
going to the moon. You could think that, but it was more like going to Mars.
You can picture all the logistics and needs. From our side: who would be able to go, how would they get there, where would they stay, visas, immunizations, funding, materials, what topics on which to focus, clothing,
packing, funding, expectations, orientation, malarial area, yellow fever area, passports, jobs, school, communication, and so on.
In April 2018, one volunteer travelled to Kigumba as a scout on a fact-finding mission only to find there were not many facts to be discovered. A small group of people knew that they wanted to serve their communities
better and understood that they needed training in doing so. They really had nothing else to offer except their enthusiasm.
The long-term goal was to establish an accredited school offering a bachelor level degree, diploma, and certificate. A name was given to the school – “Kigumba Christian Mosaic Counseling School.” The school was
registered with the local government. A small office was rented – Tiny small!
August 2018, eleven volunteers from USA and twelve volunteers from Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore travelled to Kigumba to teach three different classes over two weeks. “Healthy Relationships,” “Recovery from
Trauma,” and “Learning Basic People Helping Skills” were the covered topics. This first endeavour was more in the format of seminars. There were 197 students, many traveling from afar. Our volunteers also conducted a
daily Children’s program for around 150, and a parenting workshop. Even though this seminar was under the umbrella of KCMCS, we could not grant any college credit. Participants were given certificates of attendance.
November 2018 was to be the first credit-granting courses.
The expectations for granting credit are much higher for the students. Attendance, accountability, testing of knowledge, and participation must be documented. We now saw the numbers decrease to around thirty students with fewer than ten qualifying to achieve a bachelor level. The others qualified for the certificate or diploma levels.
May 2109 five volunteers travelled to Kigumba and offered three different courses over three weeks. The number of students did not vary from earlier, although we did see some new faces. Word was getting around.
We concluded that 3 weeks was too intensive and challenging on both students and volunteers.
As of now, GMI is committed to offering credit classes three times per year. The schedule is based on when a local primary school is on break so we can use needed classrooms at no cost. The school’s owner generously
provides us this space. The timing, however, is difficult on the volunteers’ schedules and the higher airline fares. KCMCS technically charges student fees. This is a requirement for any future process of accreditation. Back to
one of the first paragraphs of this report. The people have no money – literally. This is one of those concerns we must address as we work toward the future. Paying the equivalent of US$22-$43 per course is a hardship (and impossibility for some). GMI donors generously sponsor up to half of the fees for most of the students.
In summary: We are actively developing a degree-granting counseling school for the local community of Kiryadongo, Uganda in the town of Kigumba. Their goal is to achieve accreditation. We understand it is the only one of its kind in all of Uganda and the Department of Education keenly gives their endorsement. Our goal is to step back eventually and have the teaching led by locals who are the first to receive their bachelor’s degrees. It appears to be at least a five-year commitment. We understand that some of the obstacles will never go away. We know that we are serving a very small number of people and that it will require a large amount of resources from our side. We know that we must always be aware of the need to help them become self-sustaining. We know we are fighting a tough battle that multiple groups and individuals through the years have not won. We plan to have a different outcome. We will continue to be good stewards and always to pray that we make wise decisions.
- To organize student records – urgent
- To create/organize financial books/records – urgent – ANSWERED!!
- To organize and catalogue the library books – urgent
- To help locate and negotiate procurement of larger venue for the office/library/classroom(s) – urgent
- Teachers for topics of Counseling, Theology, and English Composition
- Source identification and procurement of Bibles, children, & youth material from Uganda – needed
- Funding for physical infrastructure of school
- Office/Library: [present room monthly rental with electricity ~ US$60]
- Larger location needed to accommodate classes
- 3 tables and 18 chairs – needed
- Secretary desk with chair – urgent
- 3-drawer metal locking filing cabinet for student files – urgent
- Projection screen – needed
- 1 desktop and 2 laptops with locks – needed
- Hard-wired Internet access (a monthly continuing cost) – urgent
- Shelving for library books
Thank you for your interest in our work. Thank you for dreaming good dreams with us.
The Global Mosaic International Board