afc and jnfc working together
Jolly Nyeko is the founder of Action For Children (AFC), a non-government organization that strives to improve the quality of life of children and families who are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and poverty in Uganda. Since 1995 AFC has become a strong national agency with a holistic approach to child rescue.
The Jolly Nyeko Foundation Canada (JNFC) was built upon the principal of working together with AFC. Based in Canada, JNFC has collaborated with AFC since 2007 investing in the future of vulnerable Ugandan children and families. Through Sponsorship and other programs JNFC connects Canadians with Ugandans with the objectives of building strong infrastructure as well as supportive social, educational and family networks.
Jolly sits on the Boards of both AFC and JNFC.
Board of Directors
Leanne Stokes – President
Meeting Jolly for the first time in 2006 had a deep impact on me, and I wanted to learn more about her far-reaching work in Uganda. As I did, I felt a deep respect and compassion for who she was and the difficult childhood she had overcome. We share a tenacity and strong faith in God which has helped us both to keep focused on the hope of a better future for children. In 2007 Jolly and I knew that God was bringing us together for a much greater purpose than we could ever imagine with the birth of JNFC. Even though it has been a difficult road to navigate because of 15,000 km distance and an 11 hour time change, the rewards have been great. We have witnessed a generation of children start in preschool and advance all the way to secondary school. It has been an honour to serve as President since the inception and to build meaningful relationships both in Uganda and Canada. I’ve had the privilege to lead an amazing group of volunteers. In Canada I maintain most of the administrative work as well as manage the Child Sponsorship program. Encouraging the children to complete their education has always been the most important part.
Stephanie Hunter – Vice President
I have been working with child focused charities for more twenty years in both Asia and in Africa. I first heard of JFNC through Geoff and Leanne and met Jolly in 2012. I was moved by Jolly’s passion, vision and commitment to children within her community. Since then, I have been sponsoring a child within the JNFC fold and helping out with events. More recently I joined the JNFC Board of Directors. It is great to participate in a program that provides both education and hope to young people beyond surrounding circumstances. There will always be poverty. My own inspiration is rooted in relationships and particularly the growth I have witnessed in individual young people who now can envision and grow into a better future.
Jill L. Stokes – Secretary/Treasurer
When I was a little girl, I fell in love with the continent of Africa, because of the wildlife. I had a dream to travel there to see Zebras, Giraffes, and most of all, Cheetahs. To my surprise, as an adult, I can now say I’ve been to Africa, and the reality has far surpassed my dreams. After having met Jolly in 2006, I have been a long-time supporter of JNFC and AFC, and now I’m a board member and I help wherever I can. Knowing that the work JNFC does will have lasting effects by providing education to children who may not receive it otherwise. I was the first child sponsor and have continued all these years and this continues to be an amazing experience.
Jolly Nyeko – Director
In 2006 I travelled from my home in Uganda to the University of Victoria (UVic) to embark on a long but fulfilling journey to complete a PhD in Youth and Child Care. Shortly after arriving I met Judi Peacock the leader of Navigators at UVic. It was through this group I met Leanne Stokes. She invited me to her home for a dinner, with the purpose of getting ‘to know more’ about this lady from Uganda! Over time and after much prayer it was clear that we had to start an organization in Canada and JNFC was born. In the six years I spent completing my PhD I made six visits to Canada. It’s been a long journey of learning and implementing. However, it’s been a journey of listening to the voice of God, and being guided by Him alone. We have learnt a lot over time, and God has shown us his favour and blessings. We have created space for Canada to bless Uganda, and also created space for individuals to be a blessing to those who are less fortunate.
My prayer is that, for everyone who positively touches a little child in Uganda, the labour of your hands, will never go without being noticed, and a reward awaits you in life beyond the here and now!
Shannon Nichols – Director
I became involved in JNFC almost 10 years ago and it has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. JNFC is doing amazing work in Uganda to help children reach their full potential through education and family support. When I first became a member, the school in rural Masuliita only offered a few early primary grades. Now they offer grades 1 through 7 and some children have advanced to high school. The school has grown and, thanks to JNFC fund raising efforts, the children have a solar powered library, a protected spring providing clean water, a sports field and new kitchen to provide them a healthy lunch every day.
For a number of years I’ve sponsored two girls. I receive regular, comprehensive reports about them that gives me a real sense of who they are as people and what their lives are like. I also really look forward to the occasional personal letter and photos that I can post on my fridge. I believe education is the most effective means of fostering long-term change and growth in Uganda. I look forward to being part of the continuing journey.
Rashna Charania – Director
Rashna has served on the Board for over four years and has been a child sponsor since 2011. Geoff and Leanne met Rashna in Rotary back in 2008 and became friends. Rashna is one of those people who loves to do hands on volunteer work and has been excellent at managing the cash desk at our events. She has been extremely generous in supporting the children in the school because she understands the need to overcome poverty, and through Rashna JNFC is now a beneficiary of PECSF – The Provincial Employees Community Services Fund. Rashna has a compassionate heart, and we have appreciated all that you bring to the work of JNFC.
Geoff Stokes – Founding Board Member
I was on the initial Board of JNFC served as Secretary/Treasurer until July 2018 when I decided to step back to make room for new and younger Directors. I continue to be an advisor to the Board, resident photographer, and involved in the organization’s planning and financial management, communication with Action For Children, and reporting to the Charities Secretariat.
Leanne and I have been child sponsors for 11 years and have been a part of Sophia’s life starting in preschool and advance to secondary school (grade 8). Currently we sponsor two children, and through this we have first-hand experience of the effectiveness of the program. Every time I meet kids in Uganda my heart goes out to them and my commitment to JNFC grows. Leanne and I continue to work together closely, on a day to day basis, both here in Victoria and when we are in Uganda.