The Slum Run is a unique event held both in Uganda and in the UK concurrently, where people run to support children growing up in the slums of Kampala. It was born out of the ideas of Butterfly Project member Francis Ssuuna, now 18, and the runners in Uganda are mainly from his athletics club, known as Project Circulate.
He called it “Circulate” because he believed it helped the blood circulate around the body, but also because the runners actually trained on a circular circuit, which Francis and another Butterfly Project member, Samuel Lubangakene devised. The slum circuit is 2km and on the day of the run, the young athletes will run five circuits or 10,000m.
We have devised a very similar road circuit in Small Heath, Birmingham, also of 2km and we also encourage others to set up a similar run in their area and invite people interested in the welfare of children living in Uganda to sponsor them to run (or walk) 1 – 5 circuits.
This year we are also partnering with Boys’ Brigade, Birmingham, to support their work amongst disadvantaged youth in Birmingham and their runners will be running not just for Uganda, but for equivalent youth in Britain.
In Uganda we have 25 runners, including four girls for the first time, who will be running the circuit. We need to find £25 to sponsor each runner, which will cover:
- A Slum Run T shirt
- Educational support (£15)
- Food and water before, during and after the run
- Running shoes
If you would like to support our runners, then click below for Paypal.
***THE FIRST £1000 IN SPONSORSHIP WILL BE MATCHED – SO FOR EVERY £1 YOU DONATE, WE WILL RECEIVE £2***
Over the forthcoming weeks, we will be introducing you to our runners and we encourage you to find one, which you would like to find out more about. Every child is a member of the Chrysalis Centre and we support them in a variety of ways:
1. Every member can come to the open clubs that we have on Sunday afternoons.
2. Every member can attend a weekly club, tailored to their specific talents
3. Full members can use the centre computers and many are registered on Funtyper, a wonderful programme that makes learning to type competitive and fun.
4. Some members take part in specialist ICT training or are invited to attend workshops in Kampala, tailored to thier individual abilities, whether it is dance, drama, ICT, sport, creativity and art or music, for example.
All the children live in or near the Acholi Quarter slum district, an area given to families fleeing from Joseph Kony, during the war in Northern Uganda. Most have seen incredible hardship and it is rare that our members are able to attend school, without some level of support. A recent survey showed that only 1 in our 40 runners had school shoes and most were missing books and pens, even if they were being sponsored for their school fees.
So, we hope you follow this project as it builds over the next few weeks. There will be many photographs and even films of the children as they prepare for the run.
Lastly, if you would like to contact us, then please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network is the charity managing the Slum Run, so donations will attract gift aid,
SPONSORSHIP FORMS AVAILABLE HERE OR EMAIL SOCENTAFRICA@GMAIL.COM WITH THE HEADING “SPONSORSHIP FORMS”.
The second in our series, from Gilbert Byamugisha (17)
Almost every child in Uganda, has gone through rough punishments in life, and these most of the times come our way in schools that we attend. Some punishments or rather most of the punishments are not punishments just but corporal punishments and these most of the cause permanent damage on young people and we never forget even if there are no marks like scars but something that is worse and all the anger towards it is at heart, and there is absolutely no way we can forget about them.
For 4 good year s now, I have not experienced any of these corporal punishments but I definitely did while I was still primary school, just one mistake done could get one a punishment of their life time. I remember one of the worst I ever suffered is when I was caught borrowing a pen form a fellow student and this head teacher comes in and says ‘’you two are making noise get out!’’. And in just about no time, I was forced to do something that I had never imagined to do in my life ever, to crawl on my knees on a rough ground with lots of stones other sharp objects both my knees got wounded and not just the crawling we were given 4 bricks to carry up in the air with my our hands, yes it wasn’t just me, the whole thing was painful and I have and always will look at it as one of the worst punishments I ever suffered because I wept through it all.
It’s just about being really sensitive and also knowing the right thing to do when a student misbehaves the right punishments to give them, we don’t really want to hurt them, but teach them a lesson that they’ll learn from and not do whatever they have done ever again, so let’s get real and force violence out of lives am sure it’s not a gene people are born with!
My passion is to be a doctor (a medical doctor or maybe a brain doctor) because your day determines your tomorrow and that dreams can come true. It requires concentration on what you have to do, putting much effort on science, like Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.
My passion is not only to become a doctor but to be a doctor who is also a changemaker, who brings positive changes to people’s lives by emphasizing on social enterprise and encouraging them to do business.
I want to change the world with tree-planting i.e. putting forth afforestation and discouraging deforestation because without trees there would be no good supply of oxygen and rainfall because of vegetation.
My passion is also to help set up an organisation or project which would help empower young social youth to create change in their community. I want to make the world a better place to live in and sensitise people to use the available resources they have to earn a living i.e. using and re-using resources to make money.
I say together we can all join hands and make this happen and I say this for God and my Country.
AKENA REAGAN PETER
My name is Manisuli Miyingo and I am a member of the Butterfly Project Pioneer Group. My passion lies in ICT training and this has helped me create positive change in my area.
I train young disadvantaged children how to use a computer, most especially the Microsoft Windows Operating System and I also give them experience of working with other networks, such as the internet.
Now many of them know how to use Microsoft Office and they can now type, as fast as they can write and some of them even teach their fellows what they learnt from me.
Because my passion lies in ICT, I want to extend my project into other remote areas of Uganda, like Rakai, where children don’t even dream of having access to a computer. We are living in a dot com generation, so it is important that as many young people as possible are given the opportunity to learn how to use a computer and I love to see new young disadvantaged children have this chance get access to computers.
In Uganda,village science is highly believed in mostly in most of the villages especially in the Ganda and in the northern part of the country.Village science includes the use of herbs and myths-magic to solve some of the problem affecting the people of the country.
Most people have use this system just because of the belief they have in it and because of the ancestral example shown to them.
Most of the people believe in this science to the extent of failing to go to hospitals for medication when they fall sick and instead they go and search for herbs in the bush and in some aspects,they even reach the extent of believing that the sicknesses result from witchcraft and hence they believe some diseases can be healed after going to witchdoctors.
Several examples of village science include;
1.People believe that dropping human urine in a sick ear can heal it!
2.People believe that if someone loses a beloved one and he fails to dig around the tomb atleast every month,then the soul of the deceased will soon return to punish him/her.
3.People believe that black jack juice(sere in Luganda) heals wounds!
4.Many people who have AIDs have failed to got the hospital for medication and instead they go to witch doctors to seek help and eventually,they die.
5.Did you know that when a baby is born here in the Ganda,after some months, he is taken to the witch or any elder to see whether it has big teeth(ebinnyo in Luganda) so that they are removed.Here they try to cut the gums of the young and they let some blood ooze from there and that there it will be done!!!!!!
6.Our elders in Kyamulama village-Lyantonde district don’t irrigate their crops that if they irrigate them, they won’t have a share of they i.e they will either be stolen or they will sell it of unknowingly!
7.They also believe that a certain plant roots called mululuuza in Luganda cures malaria. (See picture above)
8.What about concentrated acid curing toothache?Did you know that they also believe that?
Village science wouldn’t have been so bad since it worked for our ancestors and in some aspects it is still working but the extent at which it is believed in has become more dangerous resulting in death of people. However,this is not the way a hen is dressed,there are still options to take despite the fact that people don’t accept and they take everything to be ancestral.
Village science is still dominating in villages since people of the town have at least been to school and now know that diseases have causes and how to prevent them in order to be secure but in some instances, it is very hard to explain to a villager that there are germs that cause diseases yet since he/she was born, she had never heard of such a thing.This has become a problem resulting from illiteracy and arrogance where by many people never went to school to learn some science and so at their age, they must believe in what they saw when they were still young.
However,although some parents in these disadvantaged areas have tried to take their children to school,they still can’t believe in what their children tell them about what they learn and this is because culturally, it is not allow for the young to go against the elders’ knowledge.And some one who does so is said to be indisciplined.More so someone who tries to advise the elders is said to be ‘touching in their mouths’.So, to show a sign of respect, young ones must still listen to their elders and continue to believe in village science like their elders do. But all this taking the young ones to a false direction and in the wrong run,children and their future shall still die and from there, we pose a question;where shall we end with the impacts of village science arising from the ignorance and arrogance of our parents?
Getting back to the children themselves,they can’t stand to believe some circumstances that arise in their lives and so they still believe in magic and herbs despite the fact that they have gone to school.The whole of this does not stand on education but to fight village science,we can only begin from education and because there are a few educated people in the villages and the educated ones don’t believe in themselves,then the question shall stand still.
Observing the dependence rate of children on their parents, it is very clear that most of the children in Uganda are still depending on their parents especially financially and so it is very hard for them to ‘manipulate’ them behind the truth of advising.For example, many children get their school fees from their parents and in areas of UPE (Universal Primary Education) and USE (Universal Secondary Education), still the children’s scholastic materials are bought by the parents, many children are still fed daily by their parents,many children sleep in their parents’ houses and to the worst,some children depend on their parents in everything. Therefore,this create fear among the children and they lose the ability to talk to their parents about the dangers of village science and hence the issue shall still remain!
Surprisingly, the whole of the wrath is rotating on parents, who were also taught by their parents and they believe they are teaching future parents! The journey is still very long and we need to find a solution to the growing issue of village science.
However, there are many solutions to the problem only that we have not talked about them the truth is that better communication and internet will be the key
THE BLOG ON
The art for children rights project
Since I’m from the disadvantageous remote society where children rights are not well cared for and I am one of the children whose rights were not well cared for, I decided to start my own project THE ART FOR CHILDREN RIGHTS PROJECT. This project aims at helping the children from different part of the country not to go through the same problem I experienced. Actually the I went through the problems like child abuse in some circumstances like
1> Over beating and corporal punishments by the parents due to any little mistake in the home. This beating is sometimes caused due to the poverty of the family when the parents doesn’t want any annoying mistake and this makes them to harm the children by beating them
2> Over working the children for example doing the hard works like the quarry work. To be with the truth I myself was once the child working in the quarry site in Kalongo where I lived till my father passed away in 2009, so for this made me to start the project to improve on the right of the other children so that they don’t face the same forms of child abuse I went through.
To add on to that I also faced the problem of proper schooling. When my father passed away, in 2009 I sat for my PLE and in the other year 2010 I was supposed to go for senior school but I had no school fees so these problems made me to repeat the class in the village where Ben Parkinson found me and made me what I am today. For these I give him respect and honor together with thanks. I also thanking the sponsor of my project together with school sponsor for helping me and the project to advance, continue helping me and the project so that am able to make other children succeed in their lives and change the country
So, in this project I have managed to make the art pieces for children rights improvement and making the notice advocating about the children rights and also making the videos to sensitize people for better living of the children as the future of the country.
SOME OF THE FORMS OF CHILD ABUSES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING
2>Defilement. This is the abusing of the child sexually by some older ones.
3>Child sacrifice. Is the process of offering the child to the witch doctors or the undersea gods in order to get riches. Some of the children are also beheaded by some of the sacrificers due to the demand of the witch doctors.
4>Raping. The issue of catching the child by force to have sex.
5> denial from schooling
6>denial from food
There are many rights each child possess in the country as follow:
Right to eat, schooling, right to good clothing, right to be close to the family members, right for proper medication,
SOME OF THE RESULTS OF CHILD ABUSE
Leads to the growth in the number of the street children because after being mistreated the child he or she will decide to leave the home
Child sacrifice leads to the death of the children before they reach their age of helping the parents and these denied the child life.
How the project is doing to advance the information over the communities to help sensitize the improvement of the children rights:
>>we always draw and paint the pictures concerning the child abuses in the communities and make some of the posters to teach the people on how to handle their children for their well being in the future, and also making some of the collages or kind of craft works to make our works easier as shown below.
So, in the above crafts we come up with different forms of child abuses to teach the people in the community examples.
This shows the drunkard father. Drunkardness always leads to very many home misunderstanding like
Divorce in the home between man and the woman (parents) and this makes the child to fear living in the home and also denial of the child. So for this makes no proper care to the child.
This shows the man seriously beating the child for the single mistake and the child is asking for forgiveness
This shows the child being given heavy load which is not good for the health of the child.
This show a man abusing the child sexually which is defilement case.
This shows the child being sacrificed by the parent having the knife in the hand to kill him in order to get wealth.
This shows the child herding the cattle in the bush instead of going to the school. This means he has been denied schooling.
This shows the child with the fingers being burnt because of stealing the 1000 shillings [25p/15c]. This practice are always done by the step parents of the child.
>>we also advanced to start making the videos with the kids of Acholi quarter to tell some of their life stories on how they are mistreated in any form of child abuse in the community he or she is living.
We are also looking forward to starting the writing of the articles and sending to the news paper to make the information from the project advance to the other parts of the country to make the people from different parts also understand about the project so as to make them support the children around them.
On top of that I as the manager of the project also started to make some sensitization in the village where I live and some understanding people are very happy for them. Some children in the village also became confident to talk over their rights in the communities they live.
IF YOU ARE THE ONE CONCERN IN THE COMMUNITY EXAMPLE LC 1 [local council chair person] WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR THE IMPROVEMENT ON THE CHILDREN RIGHTS?
PLEASE LET’S JOINT HAND TOGETHER FOR THE CHILDREN
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS PROJECT TO MAKE CHILDREN RIGHT AND LIVES EASY FOR SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE
CHANGE IS ME,
IT’S YOU, IT’S US.
Please click on the photo below to download our New Year Newsletter from January 2013.
On Wednesday 26th September I had a meeting with Paul Polak, the famous author of “Out of Poverty” on Skype, with two of my Butterfly Project colleagues Mercy Moro (13) and Gilbert Byamugisha (16). This is the report of the conversation he had with me, Francis Ssuuna, from Kawungu village, Lyantonde, in Western Uganda.
Firstly, I had three questions for him but I only asked two,( a/b) because time was not enough due to it being late at night.
1.In my village there are a lot of problems, Which makes it not developed:
a. People not working co-creatively together
b. People drinking alcohol
c Lack of proper planning and preparation
How should I, as a young social entrepreneur try to tackle these broad problems?
“If you want people to work together, then you must find a project that will help them to come together and share their ideas” As a young person you can go and talk to the old people in your village to help you do that, Maybe have a meeting and talk to the people about change,tell them what you have learnt from the Butterfly project. make the people to see that poverty can be eliminated.
Me: I know some people in my village believe that they are poor and even they do not think about being rich.How is it possible to change people who think like that?
If you make a good meeting and tell the people about what they must not and what they must do, I hope they will understand.
You know it’s not easy to change people who drink alcohol but you can also tell them what results from alcohol because I believe that many may not know the results.
2. As a social entrepreneur, you know about problem-solving and you go to your village. You see an opportunity around harvest time, where people have more money and could club together to buy some equipment which might change their income greatly, if they worked together. Instead they just buy, buy, buy and misuse money. What is the solution to this, which will help them in the long-term?
If people have money during the harvesting time and don’t know what how to use, they you must teach them about the ways of making money how to use Capital to produce more money. In your village if people do farming twice a year, then they can change and maybe start irrigation farming during the dry season which will help to double their income. They can use that money they get during harvesting to help them invest in the irrigation farming.
Another way is like this,”Do people in your village rear goats?”
Yes they do.
If people rear goats and have a suitable climate, it’s good if they set up a goat rearing club which will help them to get milk and meat and at the sametime they can sell the goats. If your people can find a place where to buy the goats from, I am sure it will help on their development.
I told him that in my community, it is a rural area where you find poor people as the main problem because they do not have permanent jobs to get them money, instead they all do farming on a small scale. These people do not take time to think about their problems because many of them believe that the problems are impossible. Many of these people don’t provide education to their children due to being poor..
These people have no way to earn money daily instead, they earn seasonally at the time of harvesting, so you find that they get the money twice in a year in a small amount. When they get the money, you find that they are buying Christmas clothes, drinking alcohol as a sign of celebrating the season.
They do it annually and you find that they do not have better plans for their money and this has affected them negatively, and it has caused the area to be undeveloped, disadvantaged, poor people and uneducated young people. I do believe that these people really want change but they don’t know how to seek it.As a young change maker how can, I solve these problems in my village?
Paul said, “Have you ever thought of a solution?.”
I told him that I don’t know the better solution. I told him that if people come together, maybe start a chicken farm on large scale, and then share the money could help them to improve on their well-being.
He asked me if the people rear animals.
I told him that they have goats.
Paul advised that if people can come together and buy goats it can help them to get access to the money easily because they can use them for many things. He said that the people can sale milk from goats, which can help them to have a daily income for themselves; I told him this cannot work out because people in my village do not take milk from goats.
They can maybe use it for other purposes but not milk. He said there are special goats that provide milk and I believe that it difficult to get them here in Uganda.
The conversation was too long but these are the main points I picked from it. I would like to thank Paul for listening to and answering my questions.
Editor’s note: We have located a source of dairy goats in Masaka and hope to trial them early next year.