Saturday, 16 May 2009
Many who know me will know that I devised the Butterfly concept, when I was with Emmanuel Nehemiah, an Ashoka Fellow in Kaduna, Nigeria. We did some work to pilot the concept and it was an incredible success. In a nutshell, it is a project designed to train up social entrepreneurs from gifted and talented young people living in the world’s most disadvantaged areas. There is little on the web about it yet, as the full trial has yet to go ahead, but there are many awaiting the results of the trial with interest. Unfortunately, I was unable to pursue it in 2008, due to visa issues for Nigeria and thus I had an enhanced project ready and waiting to go and nowhere to implement it. Until now, that is…
It was agreed with KJT that we could implement it in Kampala, actually Kisenyi, gathering young people aged 11-15 from schools with a catchment in the area. On Tuesday we visited these schools and presented the programme to them.
The first school was the main base for KJT and the location where they operate most of their activities. It was quite large and took pupils up to 15, so was ideal for the project. The presentation ran smoothly, the headmaster asked pertinent questions and he agreed to recommend some participants for the project.
By now we were getting used to the traffic in Kampala and the various modes of transportation. Back of a motorbike is usually an adventure, but this motorbike took us right through the heart of the muddiest parts of Kisenyi. Rains had just come and water was pouring through the gutters. We stopped at some rusty gates which had some kids standing outside and inside we heard singing and drums. The headmaster was a small man with excellent English, although he had an unusual “persistent” manner. He ran a private school of 600 pupils, but a hundred of these were orphans, for whom the headmaster himself had to fundraise.
In Uganda orphans include abandoned, lost and one parent (male) children, but the school had a few rooms devoted to the bunks for these 100 children. They slept two or three to a bed, in a very confined space, yet, here they were dancing and singing in the uneven broken down school courtyard. I presented the Butterfly project and the Head smiled and said he knew of the right young people for the project and we headed on to our last destination, which was right on the other side of Kisenyi.
This time by taxi, the driver put on some great funk music and turned a corner into a narrow muddy alley. Somehow he and a matatu in the other direction managed to pass each other and through a maze of alleyways, we spotted a man standing at the top of a muddy slope. He was our third headmaster and he advised the taxi to stay at the top. Keeping our feet was difficult, but the school at the bottom was beautifully built, apparently with money from the UK. Children were filling bottles from a well there too, as we headed into the building.
By now the computer was running low on power and the presentation wouldn’t go, but with my colleague Kayiwa’s assistance, we covered the ground and recruited our third school onto the project.
A successful and inspiring day.