While in Uganda, we will be visiting and working with several local organizations who are affecting growth and creating opportunities within their respective communities. In an effort to help feed the momentum, we are raising money that will go towards supporting the various programs listed below. Thanks for taking a moment to read about these innovative projects and please consider supporting them in some capacity by following the donations link to the right of this page.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: Afri-Pads
Afri-Pads is an amazing example of how social enterprise can provide local work while at the same time tackle important issues in education. Did you know that in countries such as Uganda girls miss school every month during menstruation? This has a huge impact on their success at school. They fall behind in their studies and struggle to recover. Afri-Pads employs primarily female staff to make high quality reusable cloth menstrual pads. Afri-Pads works with local girls to tackle taboos related to menstruation. Their pads are donated or sold at a low price to local girls and women. What a simple, sustainable solution to prevent girls missing school one week a month! York students will visit the factory and learn how to make Afri-Pads. They will run an outreach activity alongside the Afri-Pads social worker and distribute their donated packs. Watch a video on Afri-Pads here.
ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: Solar Sister
Solar Sister is an award winning social enterprise that eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. They combine the breakthrough potential of solar technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa. Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. Solar Sister creates sustainable businesses, powered by smart investment in women entrepreneurs. Participants will learn first hand from a successful Solar Sister entrepreneur about their work, local networking, balancing work and their family life, and how women and communities are benefiting from access to reasonably priced solar lanterns, as well as, about the struggle of energy poverty and the benefits of renewable energy solutions such as solar lighting. York students will join a training day and work alongside new recruits to sell lanterns. They will purchase lanterns from the new recruits to donate to their partner primary school Kimunyu. The donated lanterns will be used for studying and safety while walking at night to the latrines. Special lanterns are also available as a social enterprise- they can be used to charge mobile phones for a small fee.
HEALTH: TASO Uganda
TASO (The AIDS Support Organization) is a world famous Ugandan run AIDS organization that has been instrumental in Uganda’s fight against the disease. TASO is a member based organization and members play a vital role in determining TASO’s programming. TASO’s programming is multi-faceted. They offer home-based care, outreach clinics, day care centres, and medical care. As well, they counsel people with HIV/AIDS, their families, their communities, and work on a national level to combat stigmas related to the disease. They use drama, music and dance to reach out to Ugandan communities. TASO also provides apprenticeship programs, youth groups, and support to AIDS orphans. Because of the sensitivity of TASO’s work, York students will focus on supporting youth members as they go through their clinic days. Donations will include books for the youth members to read while waiting to be tested, counselled, and given medication.
AGRICULTURE AND COOPERATIVES: Tekera
Many Ugandans are subsistence farmers and farming provides the primary source of work for rural Ugandans. How do farmers move from subsistence based farming to making a profit? They need access to knowledge, training, and to inexpensive solutions for irrigation and fertilization. This produces a long term, sustainable solution to pay for housing, house supplies, their children’s education, and help families save for medical support and other emergencies. It also helps remove dependency on the UN World Food Program and other outside food resources to improve local food security. Tekera is an unusual form of a social enterprise. It was founded by a Canadian nurse and her husband. They wanted to provide medical services but didn’t like the idea of it being 100% charity funded. So they created a community agriculture project where community members can work to earn money (their own form) to pay for medical services. Since it started they have opened a primary school, started a craft business, and started a farmer’s co-operative. York students will visit Tekera to learn about what Ugandans are doing to improve food security and improve access to agricultural knowledge. They will help with the pineapple harvest and preparing other produce for the market. Participants will also learn from the women’s business initiatives and get a chance to participate in some of their income generating activities- learning how to make woven baskets. The York students will use fundraising money to purchase Tekera mats and baskets to decorate the new Kimunyu Primary School library.
EDUCATION, LIBRARIES AND LITERACY: Kimunyu Primary School
This is an exciting year for Kimunyu Primary School in Ibanda. The York students will be converting a basic room into a welcoming library. The students will work along side a local painter and carpenter to transform the room. Bookshelves, a table and chairs will be added. Decorations such as mats purchased from Tekera will brighten the space. Solar lanterns from Solar Sister will be used during homework time for the boarders. And the shelves will be filled with books from Kidsbooks in Vancouver as well as locally sourced books from Uganda and East Africa’s active publishing industry.