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How far would you go for your children?

Dear Friends

“Till the end of the world” would be the first reaction of most parents. But what happens when a child needs help but nobody is left to look after him or her? We know that situation. Uganda’s just recently been forced to impose yet another hard lockdown. The poor and the marginal are the main victims of the collateral damage it wrecks. While we are in no position to change the hardship of our time, we can and we should walk the extra mile and more for children who need us to help them when nobody else can. In Buhweju, a beautiful settlement rises on a hill. It’s part of our effort to reach out into society, empower young people with skills, reforest hills which are prone to soil-erosion. It’s a win-win, a way to help many help themselves, to help forests recover and the climate to protect.

  1. Ugandas renewed Lockdowns: collateral damage and rays of hope
  2. Buhweju: a shining project on a hill
  3. Hidden Heroes – role models set examples which others can follow

Ugandas renewed Lockdowns: collateral damage and rays of hope

It’s causes a numbing feeling. We’re back to a full lockdown in Uganda. All schools are closed. Private travel is severely curtailed. Quarantine-rules apply. Jobs and incomes lost. Rising prices for food exacerbate depleting reserves among the majority of families. Those who lived at the edge of society are entering vicious circles of poverty. Elderly and children who lack shelter or family are living on a shoestring.

Of course, we cannot change such a trajectory of disruption. But we may be able to help a few. And yes – every child matters, of course. We may be able to school or train youngsters under the open sky and within the rules of the lockdown. We called it “Flying teachers” in the last lockdown. Good enough, Kids of Africa benefits from a seasoned management-team and deep local roots. Once again, we shall rise to this responsibility and help. To support skills, confidence and resilience. Because that’s what rays of hope are made of. But we need help to. Because no child should be left behind.

Learning skills in «Buhweju»: a shining settlement on a hill

We shouldn’t complain. Besides the lockdown, life has had much good to offer and it continues to do so. If we emphasize teaching practical skills during these unusual times, then there’s at least one good thing they do. Because behind every skilled job, there’s often a family or more. Today we can see the good our «Flying teachers»-initiative provided. Now we need to take it to the next level. Yes, it takes fresh resources. But above all, it takes creativity, mindfulness and a relentless will. In Buhweju, we find a good place to start: land, people and experience. That’s why we want to raise this project to set an example which others can follow.

We emphasize investing in skills because Kids of Africa is all about patient, sustainable development. Every long journey starts with a small step. So, let’s start today. And let’s invest into the skills of talented young people. And let’s share our work and our worries – because everything becomes easier when we think and act as a team.

Our skills-center in Buhweju offers a wealth of learning- and work-opportunities. This is a remote, yet fragile ecosystem in the hilly countryside of western Uganda. Tucked away from the dust of the cities, our youngsters are immediately immersed in the natural beauty of the area. But the soils are fragile. Tropical rains can erode them quickly. Reforestation is an urgent, but also rewarding need. That’s no easy task. But we’re using our management’s experience to expand this activity. That’s how we foster skills, improve the soil and contribute to our climate. What’s more, there are plenty of other things our youngsters can learn to do. Creating a source of water. Repairing small and bigger things. Tailoring, cooking, bee-keeping and many others. That’s our answer to avoid cabin-fever of quarantine and build a better future in many small steps.

Now, you can help us help more young and needy people. We have a promising opportunity. We can scale this project quickly. It will take extra resources, but the benefit of every dollar invested is significant. We need seedlings, materials, a bit of machinery and money for food and water to cater to more helping hands. It’s a project which can set an example – and lead the way out of poverty and rural degradation. Thank you for supporting our fosterlings in times of need.

Hidden heroes – role models set examples for others to follow

Let me introduce some of our hidden heroes to you. I single them out for their attitude towards a time like no other. For example Paul Kiyemba. He joined Kids of Africa when there was no family to look for him. So, Kids of Africa has become his family and he has shaped it with his good spirit and attitude. Sensitive and always happy to help, Paul is one of those who first thinks about the wellbeing of others before thinking about himself. He’s a very good pupil but he also helps others. And – who knows – maybe he also sends them a hint during exams? Intuitively, Paul knows that good fortune grows from sharing. Isn’t that setting an example which we can all follow?

Meet Hope Tugume and Isa Muhammed. The two were helping in an exemplary way in house and garden during the year-long quarantine, which we have just re-entered. They also excel at school. But that’s just part of their presence. More importantly, kids like them are sowing the seeds for a better future which in a small village like ours, truly creates virtuous circles.

Amina, one of our eldest has become a mature, responsible young woman. Having grown up in our village, she now looks after some of our younger fosterlings. She has taken them to Buhweju and sets an example as she prepares the coming day and week. Together with Godfrey und James she leads the young crowd. Aren’t most parents delighted when their youngsters take over and assume responsibility? It’s no different here. That’s how one generation looks after the next.

Last but not least, I must mention Mother Margret. She has been a caring and patient mother to many for years. It’s for mothers like her we chose our motto “We are family”.

Thank you for your continued support, enjoy the summer and stay well!

Yours ever
Burkhard Varnholt

2021-07-09T09:32:50+02:0010. July 2021|
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