How lovely  is  your city  and  its  districts?well  this is how  lovely funny and fabulous  our city Kampala is.As part of our training,three different groups  were sent out  into Kampala city to find out new various areas and how they function.Among these three groups, our group the Drapochilchrystab was also included and this group came up as a result of combining our project as the five of us, so we went out into the city of Kampala where we got to know many different areas, the way people socialize and how they work we even got to know how Uganda has improved on its security for the last threats of the Alshabab.

Despite all the fantastic movement we had, we also met different challenges on our way such as geting caught at parliament and at Bank of Uganda but the most funniest part is almost cainned at the kings palace in Mengo because of wearing trousers and yet we are girls so it made no difference between us the girls in the group and the boys in the group  and for taking photos at the palace but to some of us this was a new experience since some of us were from Northern part of   Uganda so this culture of Buganda was new to us.

All of us has ever been to the different places in Kampala such as shopping malls,hotels,theatres and even cineplex individually   but this time it was different because we went as a group and we were able to share different  thoughts

and ideas of the city and got to visit many different places.But all thanks goes to  all the managing staff at the Chrysalis center.


We are the Young hidden treasure members who reported on the Kampala taxi exercise visiting different places around Kampala on the 6th June 2015 and we were five in number viz. Ojok Junior(15),Lamaro Sharon(14),Atim Sarah(15),Okema Beckham(13), Ochola Kenneth(15).Above are the members of the young hidden treasure group. Where by we visited more new place in Kabalagala, Serena hotel, City Annex, Moodland restaurant, the national theater, nakumatt, the bank of Uganda, the Watoto church, the village mall, the parliament of Uganda, the garden city.And these were places we had never been to because it was our first time to visit those types of places. Some more of the interesting things that we also experienced were types of houses, types of dressings, peoples ways of living, modernization and so on. And these made us to think ahead of doing things in a way that we as the ones who has experienced something from the butterfly project. Appreciation goes to the chrysalis staff and the butterfly project staffs for their wonderful and amazing responsibility that they have played as change makers.lamaro sharon

(lamaro Sharon)


(okema Beckham junior)

(ojok junior & okema Beckham)

ojok junior

“Where is this leading to?……………,what kind of citizens are we?”

Hey, am Charles Obuk, aged 17 and a Ugandan from Northern – Lamwo District. When I talk of Northern Uganda, you all flash back at the war that occurred there for several years witnessed by massive massacres of Northerners for which we will still pay homage.  May their souls rest in peace.

Charles's picI was in a world characterized by a number of social problems. I am scared I may die in it because the situation keeps growing and worsening. This will give me no tales to tell when I reach Heaven. There is nothing I can jazz the heavenly angels  when I sneak into the heavenly kingdom. For what I will tell is only miseries, torture, racism, inequality and endless corruption.

Endless corruption will be my main topic. For it has roots right from top officials to the least common men. Do you know what….?, I will jazz mother Mary, ” In my country……..” I’ll pat her on her shoulder, ” corruption is the tale of the day, if you are not corrupt then you are counted off leadership.”

For those Ugandans and other citizens in their various countries (anti-corrupt citizens) who make allegations and criticize the corrupt officials which often the allegations are true and self evident, become great rivals to corruption die-hards. Such patriots are dismissed when given considerations, persecuted and privately executed. The next day’s news headlines on T.Vs, radios, magazines and newspapers read ” so….and so….who proved  to shout for the others forgetting that he’s born alone and will die alone has flee the country after failing to show up in courts of law”.  “Investigation of his whereabouts are going on”.  Where is this leading to?……..what kind of citizens are we…..?”. I am sometimes puzzled by these queries, do they puzzle you too?.

I hear my country and the whole world has moved from despotism to democracy and republicanism, is this true?… I don’t know but somehow the world has changed but is it to the tipping point?, do we have freedom of speech, equality and citizens’ rights…?. It is all an illusion, a mere fiction and then a day dream. We only possess them in second hand.

I do hear of a six lettered word, it ends with ‘ge‘ and commences with ‘ch‘. Can you guess what it is…?. They say it is either  positive or negative and that word is ‘change‘.   It is the only word I care about and overwork myself for it and to see that it is implemented and established in the whole world, do you also mind converting your efforts to working for it?. I shall only be happy when I  clearly see that corruption and the other problems I mentioned before are going down on their rates till they eventually stop. You should also note that it is only possible if we change our mindsets from corruption and selfishness, also we need reforms in the judicial system to promote peace and harmony and reforms in the entire leadership bodies. The democratic governments/leaders that the world has got also have to work tooth and nail for that ”word” which is termed as vulgar by most of my country’s and the other outside world’s leaders (governments) who have and are falling victims of corruption. You and I are the only ones responsible to renew and revive our bewildered nations otherwise I and you will still be melancholic and sad that we may die in this wicked generation.

I finally pray that God help us overcome the social enemies like corruption, brutality, racism,inequality, human rights’ abuse, child abuse and sacrifice among others by employing peaceful measures against them. Just as God you released the people of Israel from Egypt and led them to the promised land, so shall you release us from the hands of all these problems I’ve mentioned above, grand our leaders with the wisdom and knowledge to lead and put in them the heart to lead and to serve but not be served…….Amen.


READING IS FUN BUT………………………….!!

Hi, my name is Charles Obuk, aged 17 and a member of Butterfly project. I am from the Up-country Uganda from Lamwo District at the boarder of Sudan.

I am carrying out a cause of Reading project in my rural village, Agoro sub-county. It has been since 2012 and still progressing. I work with children of age bracket 5-15.
Reading is fun but advantageous in a way that it enables one to acquire reading skills, learn how to write, improves on their vocabularies and broadens their mind. It is essential that the children must know how to read and write and that’s why I’m concerned with the village children.
The fact is local children need to learn how to read and write but there is no one to come out and takes the initiative to help them achieve their wishes of knowing reading writing as well as English speaking. This is becoming a global problem since most of the children in the villages are taught using vernacular languages and they end up reaching upper classes without knowing a single word in English and they can’t even respond to a ‘’hi’’.

I’ve tried to analyze the causes of this global enemy (Rural children failing to read, write and speak English) and this acted as a moving force for me to take a step forward to have this project in place.
But before I came up with this cause, my fellow village mates whom I used to play with could not even say their ages when I ask them in English, it wasn’t a big surprise to me coz I also went through the same challenge before I joined the Butterfly project, I remember my first time to speak English for atleast 2mins was when I joined the project and I was for an exclusive interview, guess what, I exploded broken English like a baby learning to call dad and mum, wisely I could wait for other members who knew a bit of English to go first for the video shooting while I heed to the words they say and I could try to imitate the exact words but I would miss some.
But anyway that’s not the main point, the fact is there is no motivations and role model to the rural children, first of all most of our parents never went to school in their days like my mum, she was the last born from the family and she spent all her days looking after animals and weeding, she told me that she attended Primary one for two days and that marked the end of her education. So you can see such a scenario where a child is born by uneducated parents and lived among the uneducated population, the child will automatically have no inspiration. I tell you that it was only through getting exposed to outside environment – Kampala that I got inspired to learn and love English.
So, it is a challenge to us that if we can turn the children population in the rural to be literate by enabling them to read, write and speak English, and then the generation after them will live among literate population and automatically learn easily.
For the last two years of the cause – Reading Project, a number of kids have proved themselves ready to learn and that’s what keeps me going. But still like I said, the parents do not see the philosophy as to why the children need to be trained how to read, write and speak English and so they tend to keep their children busy in the gardens, I believe with time as this cause prospers and progresses with greater achievements, their ears and eyes will open up and more kids will join.
For the first time I arrived in Kampala in 2011, I thought it was only the village children who had this problem but to my surprise, I realized that there are local kids within slum areas in Kampala who also suffer from the same problem and I decided to have them benefit from the same training.
It was marvellous over the Easter Period here in Kampala where I had enough time to interact with some of the local children in the slum community of Acholi Quarter, I organised an Easter Readathon where an individual enjoyed reading more than 5 different books of small volume – story books.

”It is really fun” said this young girl. Nothing was more fun than to have the children reading story books.
I have made it a priority that every holidays when I am at home in the village, I have to get the children into reading and besides there are mobs activities for fun that we have with the children like Drama and other fun events.
The real issue is I’d like to see other people around the globe coming in to join hands for the greater success and achievements of this cause, I mean supporters and mentors. There’re lots we need for this project but the little you have matters a lot for the betterment of this world. Like I said there are always holiday activities that need supports
Please can you help??
Charles Obuk.

Northern Uganda – The Changing Life of Brian

“You’ve really helped me, Ben”, Brian says.  Brian is one of the newest members of the Butterfly Project recruited this

Brian at a recent visit to social enterprise farm, Katende Harambe

Brian at a recent visit to social enterprise farm, Katende Harambe

year to be trained as a social entrepreneur.  “Since my older brother lost his job, he’s only been able to afford to pay for my sister’s school fees and that meant I was at school but with no way to pay for the fees.”

“Actually, I had to hide in the school, as they frequently caned non-paying pupils,” he added.  “I found places they wouldn’t look for me and most of the time, I was able to avoid the punishment.”

I remembered the discussion I’d had with Brian earlier, when he told me that when he was younger his mother used to listen to the radio to hear about when the Rebels were nearby, how she told him to “Run, Run, Run” until dusk, when children had to hide under long grass at night, rather than sleep in their beds, because they risked being found and pressganged into the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Brian knew many that had joined that army and had seen many beaten up by it.  His mother used to run alongside him, with his small brother in her arms to save themselves, time after time.

Eventually, they were moved into a Displacement Camp, which were defended by local militia.  Even these camps were attacked by Rebels and the children inside would pray that the camp defence would be strong enough.

He told me that teachers were recruited into these camps and that he used to go into these schools knowing nothing at all and with little enthusiasm to learn.  The thinnest exercise books were then cut into pieces, so that most children could have some semblance of a book on which to write their class notes.  Maybe they would share pens too – I don’t know.  Brian knew just two words of English and he smiled as he said he used to answer all the questions using just these two words – his age and his class.

When the war in Northern Uganda came to an end, Brian was able to move back to his home from the camp and moved to a new school, near where our new Centre has been built in Gulu district.  The trauma of the previous years was still a problem and his education had hardly progressed and he found himself doing not very well and thinking he was not very good, even repeating a year. Gradually his performance improved and he started to realise that he was learning and shocked himself with a brilliant First Grade result early in his last Primary School year, then translated into a First Grade in the final examination to qualify for secondary too.  Brian explains that his young mind was immature and had not understood the importance of being educated beforehand, but I sense that there was more to it than that.

While his father was alive, his education also consisted of learning how to trap and kill animals for food, how to create snares and how to avoid angering dangerous creatures, risking injury.  But Brian has a special affinity to animals and above all he loves dogs.  He says he can sense things in animals and they will often respond well to him.  He hopes to be a vet in future and he plans his animal rearing projects with a finesse well beyond his years.  He recounts stories of going hunting with his sister and smaller brother, but in the end preferring to hunt on his own.

Brian at home in rural Koro, where our new centre is based

Brian at home in rural Koro, where our new centre is based

Brian’s father was killed by a hit and run driver, a woman driving to Sudan, Brian thinks, as they tried to trace the number plate in vain.  It was a few years back, but the impact is still being felt, as the family struggles with adversity.  His father used to lead a construction team and was a very skilled builder.  He died a few weeks after being hit by the car from his injuries.

We try to encourage our members to be thinkers and in fact we teach “Thinking Skills” as part of the Butterfly Curriculum, using de Bono’s six thinking hats.  It’s one of those sessions where you teach and you hope, but later you realise how exciting it is for children to be thinking and expected to come up with solutions themselves.  Brian has had a long-term idea to bring water to his village.  In fact it is really dreadful in Koro, as most children are walking or, in some cases cycling, 2-3 miles to the nearest borehole.  So I asked him how serious he was about his water project.  “Very serious”, he said.  “How many piglets would I have to sell to create a borehole?”

And this is the essence of the Butterfly Project.  Children exposed to hardship wanting to create a better life for others around them, using the education that they have been given, but their parents and most of their community have lacked.

Brian is also amongst those we have in our project who don’t yet have a sponsor.  £45 per month creates a new social entrepreneur for Uganda.  Please contact me at socentafrica@gmail.com for details, if you’d like to sponsor him or any other member of our project.

Written by Ben Parkinson, Director, Butterfly Project, Uganda

Why we need more changemaking youth in our world

Dogarra7 years ago in late 2007, a young boy from a remote Nigerian village said to me in Hausa “I don’t like my life in this village.  It is the same every day.  I know things can be different, but I don’t know how to change them.  Please help me.”  Thus began the long story of the seven year development of the Butterfly Project in Uganda.  This boy was 15 and clearly very adept, he had been going to a free Nigerian school, yet could not write his name and had rarely even held a pen.  His latent potential was immense, yet there was no project or strategy to empower him.

Access to education in Africa and elsewhere is rising and huge progress has been made with a higher percentage of children reaching the end of their Primary education than ever before.  However, this statistic does not record many of the hidden issues about education:

a) Curriculum is often based in the past, not the present changed world, and there is little practical application of knowledge learnt that is feasible in a school environment, where often there are 70+ children

b) Large class sizes make it very difficult to manage classrooms without the threat of caning or teachers that are very frightening for children.  Children who like to speak their ideas are often ridiculed or threatened with punishment for “disrupting the class”.  So children learn not to rock the boat, when at school, even though the country they live in is dramatically different from the one they are being taught about.

c) Free education does not exist anywhere, except for those who are sponsored and even in this situation, many sponsorship schemes mean that families still need to contribute to the costs.  This means that children often attend school sporadically, as they lack needed materials or fees and are regularly thrown out from school, even when sponsored.  This leads to learned truanting behaviour and unreliability as a learned character trait.

d) Quality of education is measured differently in Uganda where I have most experience, as it is based almost purely on exam results.  Exams are used to lever fees out of parents and pupils are threatened with poor reports if they don’t pay fees or even having to repeat a year, when they are perfectly capable of moving up to the next year.  Ethics and character are rarely if ever measured, as pointed out in the letter to children by a Lancashire head teacher in the UK – so the problem is worldwide, though very prominent in Uganda.

There are other issues, but I just wanted to demonstrate that traditional school education does not create changemakers and there are very many reasons for this.  Thus, we need new strategies, especially in those countries where you look around as a social entrepreneur and see things that need addressing like:

i) Community cohesion

ii) Lack of entrepreneurship ability

iii) Failure of youth to realise their potential

iv) Lack of awareness of how to use computers and the internet to find solutions to problems

v) High crime from disenchanted older teenagers, who have failed to find a job

vi) Fear of becoming ill and not being treated.

All of the above point to lack of proper engagement with youth, yet we know that young people are anxious about their future.  They do not want to be involved in the corruption they see around them.  They dislike being bored.  They fear being failures and living a life of poverty.

Some few children are able to see things differently.  Mercy’s blog of a couple of year’s back showed how she felt that she needed to be strong and be ready to shape the society she and other youth wanted, which is so important in our age of rapid technological development.  Mercy is one of 15 young people, who are Butterfly Project members, who have already started to change the world.  Here’s some examples how:

Francis2Francis Ssuuna has devised a training programme called Vision 4 Change, which teaches youth about how to develop the vision to spot social projects and then how to go about implementing these projects.  He believes that youth only should teach youth how to do this and this programme has now been spread to hundreds of young people in Uganda.

IMG_1196Eunice Namugerwa developed a poultry business while still at school and spoke about it to inspire other young people at TEDx Kampala.  She also contributes to local community cohesion and children’s talent development with her music and dance project for children and youth.

SamuelSamuel Lubangakene believed that children needed more than just basic food in schools and devised a way to encourage Ugandan schools to vary diet.  More recently, he has devised and implemented a project which uses videogames to expand the problem-solving ability of young people in the slums

Nancy2Nancy Lakot sees girls living in the village as her personal challenge.  She wants to empower them and show them a different option to the life that their mothers are leading.  Most recently she has been training girls in computing, but she uses every mechanism she knows to encourage young girls to reach their potential – such as drama, debates and even song-writing.

Charles2Charles Obuk has been a pioneer in the development of reading ability amongst children in villages and has devised his own reading method.  This year he has launched a reading library project and we are working with him to implement a range of reading libraries in rural Northern Uganda, based at schools.  Reading is never more crucial than now, when youth will need to read english to benefit from the knowledge the internet brings.

Every member of the Butterfly Project is an influencer and has a significant circle of youth that they interact with and inspire.  Each one works with a different community in Uganda and will take their inspiration to wherever they are needed.  In many countries in the world, young people may have a voice, but they have little opportunity to create change because adults believe they already know the answers.  In Uganda, youth are often better placed to provide solutions problems in their community than their parents, who have never had an education.  Young people have the energy and, if they have the vision, I believe they can realise it far more readily than in a country like the UK and we have proved this with these early projects from our Pioneer Butterfly members.

Cohort 3 CompilationThis year we have discovered 15 new young Butterflies, that need training and we need support for them to become changemakers in their communities.  Nine of these are from remote rural village areas and six are from very disadvantaged slum districts.  We need £45 per month for each member to carry out their training and this includes:

a) Education costs

b) Boarding costs at the Chrysalis Centre in Kireka

c) All training costs and vision development activities

More information about how you can support us is at this link.  You can either support with a one off donation or commit to a regular support each month.  You don’t need to support the whole £45/month, any regular donation will go into the Butterfly 2015 Fund.

Often sponsorship goes only to those in the right place at the right time or it is suggested that education alone will be enough, when we know that education alone rarely inspires changemakers – it gives many of the tools, but does not train children to have a positive mindset  that they can be the ones to be the change.  The Butterfly Project fills in the gaps by training Ethics, International Citizenship, Problem-solving, Activism, ICT, Leadership, Project Management, Accountability and Transparency and many more areas conducive to creating visionary world citizens.  This is what the young man in Nigeria wanted, so we do our best to provide it.

Birmingham Auction to Support New Butterflies

CYEN is to hold a special auction 10th January to support the training fees and education of the 15 new Butterfly members joining the project this month.

Lot viewing starts at 9.00am and the bidding starts at 10.30am.  We’d like to sell everything on that day, so there will be some amazing bargains to be had!

The event is at Small Heath Baptist Church, Jenkins Street, Birmingham B10 0QH.

Example lots can be seen at this link

Charity Auction2