I recently became acquainted with a director of a small school community of nearly forgotten children. They are orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Their common bond seems to be one of survival in the face of catastrophic events. Civil wars, HIV AIDS and starvation plague the country. What do we know of these travesties first hand? Some of these children are part of the Springs Alive community and school a rural part of Uganda near Kampala. I asked Martin, the Director, about his future plans for Springs Alive. Here is what he told me.
In regard to our school acquiring computers in order to be technically equipped, we have learnt that there are various organizations in America and Europe which donate used or refurbished computers to schools, we want to pursue this opportunity with you towards securing these kind of computers not only to our school but even to the community based organizations (CBO) – Springs Alive. … Computers which are mostly offered are those ones that need technical overhaul and not really ready for use if they are to arrive here-
We are also having discussions with an upcoming internet provider who wants to specialize in rural internet connectivity, in order that we tame the bombardment of requests to be technically resourceful and with time once we have acquired these computers, solar power suppliers & internet connectivity we shall start online services (voice & video conferences) involving kids.
I can see Martin’s point regarding the quality of the equipment they receive. If a person knows little about technology and they are handed a ‘fixer upper’ where can they turn for help? I can also appreciate how hard it must be to rely on expensive internet cafes to connect with the global community in search of support. Combing the internet for clues as to the conditions and provisions for children I discovered several corporate initiatives feeding technology needs specifically in Uganda it is an uphill battle getting people trained in rural locations. From what I can tell the country’s infrastructure doesn’t support a cohesive plan for implementation or longevity in any sense of the word.
Where is the hope? It is in the children’s hearts and voices. I recently completed the story of one such child from Northern Uganda called Girl Soldier. It offers a no nonsense personal account of the routine child abductions in Northern Ugnada as well as an overview of the country’s political struggles.
One notable Christian organization organizing support and funding is called Watoto. Their mission is to raise future leaders. Doubtless there are others involved in Ugandan mission. Watoto coordinate concerts across the world to raise awareness of the children’s plight and to spread joy, a paradox. The children have even performed in the White House Rose Garden. A brief news clip from Australia illustrates the impact the children are having on those they inspire to help. So, why do I even bring this up? Because our problems are trivial when it comes to technology. Count your blessing and while you’re at it visit the Watoto site. These children are the future.