Posts Tagged ‘uganda’

Horton Hears a Who?

March 2, 2008

Monday, March 3 is a tribute to Theodore Geisel and considered by elementary school children to be Dr. Seuss Day. As an author Geisel explored topics involving social responsibility. In Horton Hears a Who, Horton the elephant is able to hear the Who’s plea for help from a spec of dust. No one believes him because they cannot see it with their own eyes. For me, Martin Sebuliba is my Who. Have you heard him? In this day of modernity where the impossible is possible and previously unheard voices are beginning to speak over the internet, Martin is leading the chorus, “We are here! We are here! We are here! Can you hear him? He a pleads to help the children survive. He has a vision and the persistence of a man on a mission.

On December 3 I posted an overview of the Springs Alive community in Uganda and their pressing needs. As a result of the post I received an inquiry from a reporter:

Moira Sharkey Says:
January 23, 2008 at 1:39 am edit

I am a reporter with the South Wales Echo in Cardiff, UK and was wondering if the photo on the website is of children from Spring Alive School. The reason I ask is that I am hoping to do a story on a appeal fund launched by local Welsh children to buy equipment and supplies for the school in Uganda but I don’t have a photo of Spring Alive. If this is the school can we use the photo?

Martin reported that the school in Wales planned to send to adult delegates with some much needed school supplies. They acted very quickly perhaps because they had a fund for this type of venture. Here is the update from Martin about their visit.

I also have an update on the visitors from Wales that visited our school ie.Simon and Julian, in one of the successful encounters we have had as regards Global links. These visitors told us that the children in their school have contributed money toward renovating our old structure and they said that with time if this collaboration could be sustained, they would think of other ways on which to make the collaboration with their school beneficial, this needs to appear in the website, I don’t know how yet! Could you advise please? We also will write an update article which we will email Moira, Roath Park School and you.

In one of the most unfortunate encounters with them was when they said that they could not give us the video conferencing kit because we did not have electricity at our school, but they promised that if we got the electricity, they would give it to us. I have to tell you this Kathy in order for you to know that down here in our country, we really are having a struggle to make ends meet, and you being very close indeed you could be supportive in one way or another.

 

I have promised to create a website for SpringsAlive and if Martin can make some banking arrangements I will be able to post a Chipin.

My friends ask me if this is legitimate. I have been convinced from the outset that Martin is what he claims to be, the Director of Springs Alive and that he is in fact in Uganda. I will be contacting the school in Cardiff Wales for further confirmation and to ask them for advice as to ways of providing assistance effectively. I will admit that I want very much to help but I do not want any donations to fall into the wrong hands. I think this can only be arranged by partnering with a local Ugandan banking institution or perhaps through a University as a possible funding for a grant specifically designed to assist Springs Alive.

 

If you have any experience with this kind of partnership I would appreciate your advice.

 

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Enough Technology? For some, survival may depend on it.

December 3, 2007

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.