Sponsor a Girl's Education

Established in 2006, the Mandela Project is a sponsorship program that eliminates the financial barrier for qualified students to pursue higher and professional education.

1. Choose one of these donations to help sponsor a girl's education:

Your gift to Just Like My Child Foundation’s Sponsorship Fund will help keep more vulnerable girls enrolled in school, so they can graduate from high school and pursue their dreams. As a thank you for your support, which carries the power to transform a girl’s life, you will receive a special gift…

Receive a strand of beads, handmade by women from Northern Uganda, many of whom are mothers, AND a handwritten note from one of the Girl Scholars benefitting from your support.

Receive a strand of beads, handmade by women from Northern Uganda, many of whom are mothers, and help the Artisan uplift her family and community.

Receive an e-card that you can keep or share to honor a loved one whose name you are donating in.

...OR scroll down to become a dedicated sponsor of a single girl for the entire year!

Meet Our Coordinator: Janat's Story

My name is Janat Nakigudde and I am a Girl Power Project® Coordinator for Just Like My Child Foundation (JLMC). My work is deeply personal for me not only because I am the mother of two beautiful little girls, Pauline and Petra, but I am also what’s called a “total orphan” in Uganda.

When I was 14 years old, I watched my mother die of AIDS. My father had already died when I was just a baby. I was the girl with no shoes, who was shuttled from one mud hut to the other, landing in the center of families who agreed to take care of me — but instead treated me like an indentured servant. My caretakers constantly told me I should be grateful for the scraps of food and attention I was given. 

I was so lonely, but somehow I grew strong. I knew that education would get me out of my predicament. No matter how challenging it was, I showed up at school and I did my best. I was constantly struggling to find school fees, but I never gave up. I guess I must have shined, because I was recognized by a teacher who advocated for me and mentored me. As a result, an American organization* sponsored me throughout my high school education.

This sponsorship literally saved my life.

My struggles are far from unique, but most girls are not nearly as fortunate as I was. In central Uganda where JLMC works, and where most families live on less than $2 per day, nearly 50% of girls drop out of school early (often after completing 6th grade) because they can’t afford the school fees of higher education. We met this girl, pictured right, while we were out visiting a rural community and after speaking with her, we learned she, too, was out of school.

Through the Girl Power Project®, our team of social workers and teachers reach hundreds of girls in dozens of schools each week. One girl at a time, our staff learns the joys, challenges, and heartbreaks that a girl faces growing up in extreme poverty. In this daily work, we are able to spot the brightest and the most determined girls with the grit to really rise above their unreasonable circumstances. These are the girls we encourage to apply for the few high school sponsorships that JLMC is able to make available each year for the girls we serve.

Margaret, pictured left, would have dropped out of school after 6th grade without the support from JLMC’s Sponsorship Fund. Her father was abusive and isn’t around anymore. Her mother single handedly provides for Margaret and her 7 siblings by farming on their small plot of land, selling extra crops to earn less than $6 per month. Last year, Margaret applied and because of her strong school performance and her interview with JLMC staff, she was awarded a sponsorship. It costs $2500 a year to send Margaret to one of the better boarding schools in our area. These funds pay for books, school uniforms, medical care, and those incidentals you can’t predict. JLMC is able to keep girls like Margaret in school with support from individuals like you.

I personally oversee the progress of each and every girl in this program. Each girl becomes just like my child as I learn about her strengths and help her navigate her challenges. I work closely with each of them to ensure that they excel academically. I am dedicated to each and every girl’s success because I know how powerful it is to have someone believe in you.

With love and gratitude,

Janat Nakigudde
Girl Power Project Coordinator for Just Like My Child Foundation
*Concern for the Girl Child was the organization who sponsored my high school education.

Each girl is nominated by their teachers and peers to receive a sponsorship for their high school education. In each of their cases, their families cannot afford the school fees to continue to keep them enrolled, despite their high marks and stellar academic performance. They are awarded a sponsorship from JLMC’s Sponsorship Fund on account of their school performance and interviews with JLMC staff.

Now accepting sponsorships for 2020!


While JLMC is committed to sponsoring these girls’ high school fees through graduation as long as they continue to perform well in school, we work hard to match each girl with an individual or family sponsor who is dedicated to her success. For these girls, the opportunity to exchange correspondence with the person sending them love and support from half a world away literally changes their life.

It costs $10,000 to sponsor a girl’s high school education ($2,500 per year for four years). With your support, she can attend one of the best boarding schools in Uganda, which includes:

  • School application fees
  • Transportation to/from school
  • Medical and preventative health care for the student and her family
  • School uniform and scholastic materials (textbooks, paper, pencils, etc.)
  • Tuition and fees
  • Room, board and supplies
  • Mentorship for the scholar and her family (so she is supported to succeed)
  • Dedicated sponsors commit to an annual recurring gift of $2,500 per year (over a minimum of four years)

When you commit to a girl as a dedicated sponsor, you (or your loved one) will receive an introductory profile of the girl benefitting from your support that includes a photo and letter from her, as well as annual updates about her personal and academic progress. Your individual support and the relationship you build through the opportunity to exchange correspondence is motivating and transformational for your scholar. You may just find this relationship transforms you, too.

Use the link above to donate and check the box to make your $2,500 donation occur annually for four years.
If you prefer to write a check, or would like more information, please call us at (858) 255-1264.

Meet Our Current Mandela Students

(Click on the girls’ names to learn more about them.)

Questions? Fill out the form below to learn more!

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