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Kibo lending youth a hand

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th May 2008 03:00 AM

THE budding Kibo Foundation is changing the nfunira wa? (opportunism) attitude among Ugandans and replacing it with a give-back-to-society one.

THE budding Kibo Foundation is changing the nfunira wa? (opportunism) attitude among Ugandans and replacing it with a give-back-to-society one.

By Titus Kakembo

THE budding Kibo Foundation is changing the nfunira wa? (opportunism) attitude among Ugandans and replacing it with a give-back-to-society one.

Since its inception last year, the organisation’s 48 graduates have been equipped with computer knowledge, fund-raising, project planning and communication skills.

Lovice Muyana, the treasurer of the youthful group, says: “After washing 70 cars at sh10,000 each, at Kitante Golf Club, we have sh1.7m and 100 bags of cement to give these toddlers learning aides and patch up the holes on the floor.”

While looking for funds, they had doors slammed in their faces, cold shouldered by suspicious potential funders and shown the exit brutally. But they never surrendered.

“We had letters of accreditation and got the confidence of Hima Cement, Somani, caddies of Uganda Golf Club, Steel Works and ION Insurance Company and the Italian embassy,” Muyana recalls.

Trapped in an era of donor fatigue, job shortages and slow government services, Kibo is bridging the gap with free computer lessons. To benefit, all one has to do is apply for admission and foot the bills of transportation to the headquarters in Kansanga, a Kampala suburb. The training takes three weeks.

Popularised by word of mouth, Kibo management is overwhelmed by the volume of applicants. It has the capacity to contain 20 students for every course unit, which takes eight weeks.

The pioneer group got clothes, toys, food and cleaned up Sanyu Babies Home in Mengo, Kampala.

“We went there to help the staff clean up the place, wash the babies and play with them,” recalls Gerald Abila, one of the pioneer Kibo beneficiaries. He has gone ahead to engage in other ventures like salvaging vintage cars, environmental protection and playing golf.

On their heels came the second class, which endeavoured to help an HIV centre in Gaba.

In the study, they observed that it is not enough to give HIV victims ARVs, says Samuel Ameke. He says the drugs boost the patient’s appetite. The class mobilised resources to buy a bicycle to carry milk to the centre and ferry the weak ones back home.

Another beneficiary is a Buziga resident, whose children died of HIV/AIDS and left her with nine orphans.

“We raised money to enable her build a piggery. Today she is able to sustain her grandchildren,” says Akelem.

The other beneficiary was a tailor who is HIV-positive. They raised money and bought her a sewing machine

Early last year, Kibo mobilised youth from various universities in Kampala and they travelled to Mbiko in Mukono to plant trees, clean up the locality and offer free dental services to more than 300 residents. Today, Kibo has mobilised a total of 500 youths and 200 Kibo volunteers. Local companies are fast coming on board to lend a hand.

The ICT minister, Ham Mulira, hailed the youth and urged them to create more jobs by equipping themselves with IT skills, market their potential, boost their leadership skills and sharpen their accountancy knowledge.

“This is the only way to survive in the competitive job market,” Mulira said, adding: “You must have first before you think of giving away something.”

He gave the Kibo volunteer instructors four connected mobile phones to boost their communication.

Kibo Foundation is a registered corporation in Uganda and Canada. It is the brainchild of Abraham Temu and Judith Butagira, whose aim is to promote self-sustaining initiatives in health and education among youth.

The guest of honour, the director of Kibo Canada, Arthur Lambert, said he would mobilise resources and equipment back home to boost his Uganda counterparts.

Temu said instead of job hunting, people could boost their CVs by offering voluntary service to improve society. He said it also helps volunteers to attain team work and communication skills. “This gives you better grades for a job in the competitive world,” he said.

Kibo lending youth a hand

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