In 2015, one hundred international runners travelled to Uganda, and did something amazing- they completed a 10K, half marathon or full marathon on the equator. But by doing this, they did something even more incredible- collectively they raised a staggering £73,000 for nine Ugandan charities.
Working in partnership with these charities, we’ve been able to use this money to implement real change, impacting lives today and over the long-term.
And one of those charities we’ve been able to make a difference with is ‘Youth with a Vision’ (YWAV). Both to the project as a whole and to the people it supports, on a personal level.
Here’s the story of how the Uganda Marathon has been able to help YWAV & three of its students, helping them to fulfill their potential and aspirations.
What is ‘Youth with a Vision’?
‘Youth with a Vision’ is a community-based youth network in the Masaka district, supporting young people of all backgrounds.
For children in Uganda it is quite easy to fall into a cycle of abuse, through absent, deceased or neglectful parents. YWAV seeks to end this cycle, by placing children in loving foster homes and helping these families support those children in their care.
YWAV also sees education as a powerful tool to end this cycle- aiming to teach children and their communities, YWAV offers education in academic subjects, health, the environment, human rights, poverty prevention, employability and civil engagement. It aims to inspire real change in the next generation and generations to come.
How is the Marathon supporting ‘Youth with a Vision’?
Before the partnership between YWAV and the UGM, support for a young person would stop when they reached maturity. But the fundraising by our 2015 runners has lead to the launch of the ‘UGM Youth Financial Scheme’ & a micro-finance scheme. These have allowed YWAV’s young people to pursue their career aspirations with support, through the provision of: apprenticeship schemes, mentorship schemes, business start up opportunities, job opportunities, and other steps towards financial independence & responsibility.
What follows are three exciting examples of how the UGM’s partnership and support has given individuals at YWAV the freedom to set up their own businesses.
Namaganda Sandra (15 years old)
Sandra has used her investment to set up ‘Nutritious Eggs & Chickens’, which will sell eggs and chickens to local restaurants. She was given a small space of land by her family, and has used her start-up fund to set up the chicken coup to hold the live stock, as well as purchase coffee husk (for the chicken coup floor), the first month’s feed, materials for roosting poles and 250 layer chickens. She has also used the funds to buy charcoal stoves for warmth and to create a brooding area for the birds.
In 5 months, the chickens will start laying eggs, and the revenue from this will mean she can start repaying her loan off. Then after six months of operations, her loan will be paid back in full.
The paid back loan will then be available for another student to use, giving them the same opportunity as Sandra.
Loubega Lucky (19 years old)
Lucky is using his loan to invest in his business, ‘Trust Piggery Farm’. The investment is being used to rent a space for 150,000 ugx a year, which holds two male and two female piglets.
They are all currently two months old and separated. One male has already been castrated, so it grows bigger and fatter faster, and he will go on sale for meat in four months time. The second male will be raised as a mating boar, and produce litters of piglets with the females.
In six months time after the first litter is born, they will be sold for breeding. Combined with the sale of the castrated male and subsequent litters, Lucky will then start to make a profit from his sustainable business.
Again, the paid back loan can be used by another student at Youth with a Vision, to help them to reach their potential.
The design business ‘Jesus is lord, Quality Artists’, has been set up by the talented Paul. He used a portion of the loan to buy a computer to create elaborate designs and attract business from customers looking for creative imagery.
With the support of his business mentor Bowazi, Paul has got four contracts with schools to design and print their logos, as well as similar custom from local DJ’s and a local priest. He’s also been supporting his business activities with practical creations for local clients (see image below).
Paul’s business is growing at an encouraging rate. The financial scheme and micro-finance scheme has allowed his to find plenty of work, and turn his creative talents into a business.
As someone who visited this project myself on ‘Make a Difference Day’ and made a few subsequent visits to mentor the students afterwards, it’s amazing to see them reaching their aspirations from the two initiatives, and knowing the dividends will be used to help even more of the students.
A massive thank you to all the 2015 runners, who made this possible. And to our signed up 2016 runners, who are going to be able to help expand the scheme to include more students at a time.
With the 2016 Uganda Marathon set to be even bigger, and with 11 projects being supported (including YWAV), it’s set to have an even larger impact in Uganda and create many more inspiring stories, just like these.
Like to know more? Here’s some useful links…