This series of posts features the winners of grants from the ‘UWC Atlantic College – Go Make A Difference’ initiative sponsored by Jill Longson and Colin Habgood. UWC AC GoMAD has reached it’s 10th Aniversary of Grants. Read other GoMAD 2011 projects here. Sheila Namirembe’s Kenya/Uganda Environmental Sustainability/Food Security/IT Training project recieved a £1,000 grant under the UWC AC GoMAD 2011 initiative.
Sheila Namirembe (Uganda, UWC AC 2009-11)
As I walk on the street of Kampala, I see uncertainty, hunger, a craving for food and desperate hope on the faces of street children. While growing up, I always wondered where they came from and why they were not in school like other children. The reality of their origin was a blow to me. Harsh and unbearable circumstances have left them with no homes but the streets. They lost their parents, relatives and friends to a civil war that lasted more than 20 years and left Northern Uganda in an alarming state. About two years ago, a peace agreement with the Lord’s Resistance Army was signed. People from the Internally Displaced People’s camps are going back to their homelands. In building a strong nation, I believe the needs of children should be catered for as they hold the future of any country.
This summer, I return to my motherland, not as a messiah for these children, but to help rebuild the villages and homes from which they originate. These children are special and deserve equal opportunities, caring families, food and proper education. They have the potential to change their destiny for a brighter and more fulfilling life.
A team of dedicated and hardworking students from Atlantic College share my passion for this project, which I am starting this year. We hope to be able to stabilise some of the homes from which these children come. The extended families which could have looked after these children are suffering under poverty and live on less than a dollar a day. The main predicament is food, without which they will not survive. If we are able to teach them how to grow their own food crops, supply them with free tools, seedlings and teach them sustainable agricultural skills, there is no doubt that they will have a more secure future. This will also be a breakthrough as they are trying to rebuild their families and return to the places they once called home. In the short run, the families will have a secure food source and the children will stop ending up on the streets to beg for food. In the long run, the families can expand their farms, sell off the excess food, earn money and send their children to school.
With my team, we are going to provide free farm tools, food crop seedlings and tree seedlings to help the returning people as they start their new families. The main aim is to create food security in a land that has so much potential. In addition to this, the region is prone to desertification. As a way of tackling this, we are going to provide tree seedlings to farmers and families. In the areas that are owned by the government and local councils, we are going to start forests. From this, we know that the people will appreciate our effort and join the fight to create more sustainable homesteads for them. In years to come I hope to expand to even more villages and supply cash crops seedlings that will fetch the farmers more money.
If you would like to lend a helping hand, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org