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Farragut students prepare books for children

Christy Davis, art teacher at Farragut Intermediate School, has gotten a wonderful charitable project going at the school.

Davis discovered The Memory Project, which is a two-pronged effort to do something for the kids in northern Uganda. Those children are suffering because of the civil war that has made life unsafe in their country and because of another-life-and-death war that has robbed many of them of their parents: HIV/AIDS.

Many of these children have become “night commuters,” Davis said. “They walk everyday into town and sleep in the bus hall or hospital floors, or on the sidewalks to be safe because their villages are not safe at night.”

The idea behind the books is that they will offer a personal possession for children who have very little, and will be a comfort to them at night.

The Memory Project is conducted in collaboration with the Association of Volunteers in International Service, an international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that supports “human development in developing countries with special attention to education and the promotion of the dignity of every human person.”

“The whole school has created their own original books,” she said. The students will send their personal creations to Ugandan children.

Davis said that she has recently found out that new and used children’s books may also be sent, and FIS students are bringing those in as well.

Davis said FIS has gotten great feedback from the project organizer. “We are the largest contributor by far,” she said. “Eight hundred schools are participating.

“I found this project in a school art magazine,” Davis said. “It started out as advanced high school art students doing portraits for children there.”

The portraits were created for the Ugandan children because they didn’t have photographs from their childhood.

According to the Web site, The Memory Project has no employees — everything is strictly voluntary. It was founded in October 2004, following the advice of a man in Guatemala. Having grown up in an orphanage, this young man did not have any pictures from his earliest years or any parents to share memories of his youth. Consequently, he felt that much of his childhood had been forgotten, and he shared this feeling with a group of volunteers working at the orphanage. One of the volunteers, a college student from the United States, was very moved by his story. Having always had a love for art, he founded the Memory Project as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization after returning home.

This program currently is focused on the children of northern Uganda, where a brutal civil war has caused unimaginable tragedy for the children of the area. To escape the danger, some 40,000 village children flock to the cities every night, where they sleep in shelters or on sidewalks. Then, each morning, they walk miles back to their villages to go to school or work until they return to the cities at night.  Regrettably, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has made the situation worse for the children, as many have been orphaned by the disease.

To help these children find comfort at night, students at all levels are invited to make story books for them to look at before going to sleep in the shelters.  Containing beautiful artwork and calming text, one purpose of the books is to help the children find momentary peace of mind.

Another purpose, given that the war disrupts their education, is to help them read. The national language of Uganda is English.

, and students in writing and art.

classes are encouraged to work together.  For your interest, here are the

instructions for participating in this program.  

This project

If interested in this opportunity, please email   

If you don’t receive a response within 2 days, chances are that we

wrote back but your school email system blocked the message.  If

you don’t hear from us within 2 days, please call 608-268-5721.

The Dalai Lama, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, once wrote:

The Memory Project is founded on this very philosophy.  In striving for a

more compassionate society, we believe that helping young people learn

about international humanitarian issues will encourage them to grow into

adults dedicated to working for positive change.  To do this, we organize

programs that allow students to become involved in international

humanitarian service through the use of art.  

In our Memory Portraits program, highly skilled high school artists create

personalized portraits for children around the world who have been orphaned

or abandoned.  Because of poverty and other circumstances, such children

usually have little or no personal belongings.  The purpose of the portraits is

to provide them with a special memory of their youth and a permanent

reminder of their immeasurable importance in the world.  

In our Books of Hope program, students at all levels work together to create

books with uplifting stories and beautiful artwork for children living in

extremely difficult situations.  Currently, the program is focused on the

children of northern Uganda, where a brutal civil war has caused

unimaginable tragedy for the children of the area.  

Through the efforts of these two programs, the Memory Project hopes to

raise awareness of the needs and rights of children around the world.

Since then, the project has quickly spread into hundreds of schools

throughout the country thanks to the help of many extraordinary teachers

and students.  In addition to the Memory Portraits program, the project has

also expanded to include a Books of Hope program in which students of all

levels make homemade books to send to children living in very difficult

situations abroad.  The Memory Project has no employees, as everyone

involved is a volunteer.  

If you would like to support our efforts, please check out our support page.  

The founder is also donating all of his proceeds from the sale of his recently

published book to the project’s general fund.  

Thank you very much for your interest in the Memory Project.  Serving both

charitable and educational purposes, it strives to contribute to the

well-being of people in many places.  


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