Monday, 13 July 2009
Our Induction Weekend - did it sink or swim?
I have spent much time recently wrapped up with developing the platform for the ongoing Butterfly Project and this past weekend was the first combined Kampala and Lyantonde event, where the selected Butterfly group were briefed on what is to come.
For those that are unaware, the Butterfly Project aims to train up young social entrepreneurs from disadvantaged parts of Africa, by giving them specialist training, stimulus sessions and a chance to participate in the work of an NGO. This weekend was a chance for them to be meet each other and take some time to visit Lake Mburo National Park, where I was fortunate enough to meet the Director for a possible new project.
Butterfly is for Gifted and Talented youth, as these are the ones that are most likely to be able to learn social entrepreneurship quickly alongside their standard school curriculum.
Funding for Gifted and Talented is never easy in the developed world, as it is presumed that these young people will rise to the top, but in the main it simply does not happen, as schools are designed for the mainstream, not the exception, unless they have a specific disadvantage and then these are often too difficult to access.
In Uganda, there are as many gifted and talented children as there are in Britain, yet few ever reach anything like their potential, so Butterfly tries to harness these potentials in a way, which might support more social development of all kinds in the future.
Part of the project is to let the Butterflies explore their environment and let them learn from the experts that exist in Uganda. Child Aid Uganda support very disadvantaged children in Lyantonde and they took us to visit some of their beneficiaries as part of the weekend. On Sunday we visited Lake Mburo National Park, which was a beautiful place with zebras, elands, buffalo, fish egales, hippos and many more creatures living wild.
A few weeks ago, some of these rural young people had never seen a body of water larger than a pond and on Sunday, they floated across the water in a boat for the first time. I tell them that this is what they deserve, not a luxury or good fortune. In time, I hope they will come to realise this....
1.Our innovative induction session around the pool table - someone had commandeered our briefing room!
2. A few weeks previous, some had no idea what a life jacket was. Now, Lake Mburo demanded them!
3. Left - Francis (14) from Lyantonde Right - Gilbert (12) from Kampala. The rural Butterflies may be smaller, but they have just as much potential