A journey of thousand miles...
Arriving Entebbe at the end of August this year, I lived in Kampala and visited Ugenya district of Kenya near Uganda border. Kampala itself predominates my impressions with its beautiful landscape, soft, green hills and its people's daily life. I can say it is my Kampala and I learned to like it with all its challenges, poverty, lack of water, power cuts, congestion and air pollution resulting from crazy traffic, char coal stove cooking. I developed a great respect for its people, their daily struggle with these challenges, their calm attitude and their dignity.
My main concern of visiting Kampala was to initiate an income possibility for a group of young people. The concept was assembling portable solar chargeable LED lanterns for the boarding schools to mitigate their daily problem of insufficient power. St. Henry Secondary School, 20 km away from Kampala accepted to establish the work shop for the purpose of self assembly under initial instruction, mainly for self use instead of common energy saver bulbs with mercury content. Though the energy savers are noted with their relative long duration , when the power cuts happen to be in short intervals they burn out and in Uganda there is not any way of proper disposal rather than throwing them anywhere!
St. Henry Secondary School is founded in 2012 by Good Samaritans to give shelter and education for orphans and children from street. They also have some few students who can afford the school fees. I visited the school 3 times, talked to Head Mistress Mrs. Nanyiti Immaculata, a strong lady with a warm heart for the children of St.Henry, listened to their daily struggle to feed the young students with whatever food available, mainly maize flour mush and boiled beans. Mrs. Nanyiti is happy when she is able to give the children on Sundays meal of porridge with spoonful plain sugar as a good treat! She and many other teachers often have to give up of their monthly salary in order to feed the children and pay the fixed costs for power when the irregular donations fail. So the support of this school became an important aim for me.
I learned Vicent and Didas and spent a lot of time talking to them. These are two young men with lively engagement for slums of Kampala, their project -Orphans Alive Uganda- aims to give livelihood for the orphans which means school education, health care and possibility of initiation for their talents, dancing, singing and handcrafts. The first success was persuading Mr. Ssengendo, administrative Father of Catholic Church at Ggaba Road, for a room to operate. Mr. Ssengendo accepted to give a room in a nearby school which belongs to the church. I completed the first steps of registering our association in Kampala, so in future we` ll work together.
I visited with Mr. Ninwesiga Edson, his vocational school near Jinja Road. The school is at its beginnings so to speak, a simple open air construction . He told me that he rented the premises with his own financial capacities. His aim is to offer vocational education for young people who were not able to acquire education due to the circumstances in which manys Ugandan families have to live. We believe there is a lot to do in this direction in order to give chance to many.
120 km away from Kampala, Ugenya District in Kenya, I visited Matibabu Hospital to meet Mr. Daniel Ogola, Executive Director of the hospital. Originally established in 2001 as Community Support Group (CSG), founder Daniel Ogola improved access to quality and affordable AIDS services, additionally promoting behaviour change in community groups, schools and religious institutions.
Matibabu Hospital has great need of stable power supply since the power cuts are also routine. Our aim is to achieve a 30 kWp solar park which will secure medical services as well as proper preservation of vaccines and the medication. At the same time very costly diesel generator would be dispensable.
His recently founded Lifunga Soccer Team was very happy to meet me and receive the two soccer balls I brought. I am very happy to achieve the promise of Fenerbahce Club, a famous soccer club in Turkey to support the Lifunga Soccer Team in coming year.
"A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step" is indescribable, the impacts rule the life and the hope stays for not only a single step in the future.
Nazli D. Lenglachner
Founder and Executive Chief Officer of AGEDA