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TRUE Action began as a grass-roots effort to help one man attend university. From there, a greater journey began.
Masaidio Kalenga, GACS school director, grew up in Goma, Congo amidst extreme poverty and violence. He was forced to flee his home to Uganda where he could find relative safety. Alone at the age of 21, he had to start his life over as a refugee in a new country. It was in Kampala Uganda where Masaidio met Anlo Sepulveda, a 26 year-old carpenter/film-maker from Texas. During Anlo’s four month stay in Uganda he befriended Masaidio and then returned home with the hopes of finding a way for Masaidio to attend university. Staci, a teacher in Austin, and Vahid, another filmmaker in D.C., offered to help.

After completing a four-year degree in Information Technology in 2006, Masaidio wanted to give back to his community. He moved to Kamuli Uganda,and taught the community how to better produce food with their land. While he worked, he met a group of inspirational young children. He realized that they stayed at home all day while their parents worked in the gardens. Understanding firsthand the opportunities that an education can reveal, he began envisioning a plan to open a small kindergarten of about 20 children in the village. He knew the enormity of the task, but resolved to send the young kids to school.

The school was initially supported through small funding projects in Austin, Texas, generating approximately $2,000. Masaidio joyfully accepted the money and began planning his school. It was an immediate success in the community, which embraced the school and did everything it could to support this important endeavor. Community members began building furniture and student desks and helping out in whatever way the could. Five months later, 50 children had new clothes and toiletries, a rented school building, supplies, and three teachers.

Around this time, TRUE Action was formed by Staci and others, and began formally fundraising to support the school. Through the collective efforts of the team in Uganda, and the team in the US, GACS has expanded and transformed into GACS and now educates and feeds 108 students. Over the past five years, the school has moved into an 8-roomed building, purchased playground equipment, created a library, provided uniforms for the students, bought bicycles for community, hired an instructional coach, and began serving 2 balanced meals a day.

Since the beginning of the GACK project and its expansion into GACS, the school has been both a central focus and positive influence within the community. The program has created a heightened interest and awareness of the value of education; and community members and parents volunteer their time into furthering the cause. Most importantly, students are advancing in their learning by taking ownership of their education.

With an equal access to a quality education, children will be empowered to make choices, seek opportunity, and live productive, enriched lives which will, in turn, better the quality of life in their community. At this time, we need to expand the reach of GACS so that we may serve a larger group of students (including those on our waiting list), as well as the surrounding community. Our goal of building a self-sustainable educational facility will provide educational, cost-savings, and community-building opportunities.