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SECURITY WALL FOR CHILD CARE CENTER

It’s approximately two months since I posted that Life in Africa Kireka developed a tailoring project that is aiming at training the teenage mothers, the teenage mothers are those young girls who conceived at early ages and can neither  continue with school nor get married.  The tailoring project is going on successfully with over twenty teenage mothers and their babies on the backs.  This pushed us to think about how to get hold on the situation of training these young mothers with their babies on the back. Some times they find it difficult to concentrate on the training as they would need to consul their crying babies!

the organization came up with an idea of starting a child care centre that would help look after these babies during the day as their mothers are learning. Having thought of that, we didn’t know that it was such a good project that not only will cater for teenage mothers who are getting training at the center, but all the people around the center because more trainees with similar challenges are coming. It is really a challenge for even a lower class people mostly ladies who work as house keepers, industrial workers and venders to perform their duties  better because of babies, some times they even loose jobs because of that.

Besides, Life in Africa Kireka is just 100 meters from the main road to the city and when we put our banner about the child care center opening soon, most of these ladies and gentlemen driving to work in the city had to begin inquiring about the service and most of them are very mush pleasant about the service as its easy for them to drop their kids as they go to work and pick them as they retire home in the evenings.

Stimulating toys and beds can be easily acquired   for this development to take place. However the center lacks security wall and this will not make the parents trust us with their kids because the place is wide opened such that any one can have access to it including those interested in stealing other people’s kids for various reasons. So to make parents more confidence, there is immediate need for security wall. At one point, we have had papyrus fence which people tore and got their way through and we feel should have a lasting solution. you reading this could be one of the best lenders to this project.

To learn more about this project, and about the online community who has committed to managing this loan, please visit the ongoing discussion at ned.com.

Mushrooms for Kireka

I am so excited to see this great project taking shape. The members of LiA Kireka are starting a mushroom farm at their center. Mushrooms have become very popular in Uganda and are served now in most of the hotels and restaurants. They have mostly been imported at a high price but there is a growing trend to grow them locally. And even the local residents have started buying the locally grown mushrooms and using them in their cooking.

They have used a small grant from Life in Africa USA to build the dark room needed to grow their gardens. They plan to set up around 400 gardens and are very confident that the enterprise will be profitable. The monies earned will help to support the center and will also go into a profit sharing fund that will be shared equally will all the participating members. There are around 30 members participating (mostly women).

You can read more about the workings of the Community MushroomCultivation Project and follow the discussions and planning. We will also be posting updates here. There is also more information and photos on their project page  with a photo of an actual garden. Check it out, you might find it really interesting.

And while you are there, why not take a few minutes and make a small donation. It only costs $1.50 to start a garden. We are helping them to raise enough for 400 gardens. That's less than the cost of a cup of coffee but the impact it can have on this community is huge.

LiA Kireka Mushroom Project

Mushrooms are becoming very popular in Uganda. They used to be consumed only in the big hotels and restaurants, but they are becoming more and more popular with the local market and the high cost of imported mushrooms makes starting a mushroom garden a very good idea.

LiA Kireka members plan to do just that. They have researched the market and have a good solid market already arranged  in Kampala. They will grow their crops at the center in Kireka as a community project which will not only help to support the center expenses but will provide a profit sharing program that all the participating members will share in. There are about 30 members (mostly women) who will participate.

The mushrooms are grown in black plastic bags which are called "gardens". Once planted it takes about 2 months until harvest. They plan to start 400 gardens and plant them on a rotation system every two weeks so they will be harvesting on a regular basis. Once harvested the garden will be replaced so they will continue to produce.

The mushrooms are started using  Substrate: this is the organic materials on which to grow the mushroom. Various agricultural wastes can be used singly or in combination like cotton seed husks, bagasse, dry maize cobs, dry banana leaves etc. LiA has chosen to  use cotton seed husks because of its availability and high yield productivity of mushroom.  The spawn (mushroom seed) is planted in the substrate.

Using a small grant awarded by Life in Africa USA, the community is busy building the dark room that will house their gardens. This part of the project is almost complete.

They have used heavy black plastic and papyrus to create the room. It will create the controlled environment needed for a successful crop of mushrooms.

Now it is time to start planting the gardens.     They are looking for sponsors to assist in this second phase of the project. It will cost approximately $1.50 to start each of the 400 gardens. That is less than the cost of a cup of coffee. They will be using part of the profits to re-invest in new gardens so the harvests will continue for years to come. The impact of this project will not only allow the center to be self supporting but will provide some necessary income to members and will provide training  in new skills that can be duplicated.

Please support this project with a small donation.

You can learn more about this project by following the discussions on ned.com

 

Including Teenage mothers in Computer & Tailoring Skill Training

As part of our efforts to transform the community through life skill trainings, Life in Africa Kireka thought that we should not leave behind the teenage mothers of Acholi quarter. There are more than 3,000 displaced families in Acholi quarter, and the numbers of teenage mothers contribute to this.  The life at this IDP (internally displaced persons) camp is very miserable and young girls have faced some serious conditions in this place. Due to lack of school fees, some drop out of school at the levels of primary seven to even senior four due to such problems and end up idling at home. Some end up joining their parents cracking stones in the quarry or making paper bead products to make ends meet.

At the end of the day, they are approached by men at the quarters who lure them with their money they get either from gambling or from the quarry works and make them pregnant at early ages!  Having conceived at this age, they are either rejected by these men, or get married to them under new hard conditions.  So the life cycle of poverty and suffering just continue like that. As concerned community, we have thought of how we can break this cycle, and that is giving them life skill training that would help divert their minds from these distractions.

The only life skills training we can give them at the moment are computer basics and tailoring. These are some of the skills these teenage mothers can acquire in a short period of time, and begin their own businesses such as a secretarial bureau, or perhaps they could acquire and open up a boutique.  At the end of their training, we shall see how to help some of them to acquire the equipment to start their own businesses through small loans. Also, some may get the chance to be employed by sole proprietors who would  need people with such skills.  Whatever the case, these teenage mothers have to go beyond stone quarry or paper beads.

So far we have registered ten (10) teenage mothers who are undergoing the training, working on the computer together with the young boys who began a little bit earlier. Tailoring will kick off as soon as we get someone who can help volunteer in that area.  And we have a very big number to register in tailoring because even those who do not know how to write and read completely can grasp these skills.

Grace Briefing teenage mothers

Training in progress

A Brighter Way

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Amy Wolf,  an amazing young college student with a vision to make the world a better place and the heart to make it happen.

She was personally touched by the Haiti earthquake crisis because she had friends who were there. Fortunately, they were saved but their world has been destroyed and she decided to do something to help. As a talented singer and songwriter, she naturally put her talents to work by writing this moving song and creating this amazing video with the help from some friends.

The hype has stopped, the media has gone on to find newer stories to report on BUT the people of Haiti are still there. They are still living in the streets, they still need food and water and they will need a lot of help to rebuild after this devastating event. Amy's project hopes to help them with their basic needs as the long road to recovery begins.

Amy exemplifies our belief that TOGETHER we can create a better world and make a difference in the lives of those in need.  Please join us in supporting this worthy project by making a donation or by simply passing this video on to everyone you know.

Lia Kireka with New York University students

These are some of the photos taken early this year when New York University students' dance group  visited Uganda and  performed with Lia kids at National Theater. It was very interesting to see our kids performing just like NY students despite the fact that training was only for four days.

Making Recycled Beads in Kireka

On my last visit to Uganda, I spent almost six weeks working with the women of Kireka to help them set up a program of group production so they could make their beads and jewelry faster. It was an amazing experience and I think that I learned as much as they did. They are an amazing group of women and we  can all learn so much from them about resilience, determination, and how to survive in a world where the odds are stacked against you.

Before, the women all worked on their own at their homes. They struggled to find the paper, the supplies, and the time to create their jewelry.  And it was difficult to get the jewelry to have any consistency. Lengths were different, colors were different, stringing methods were different and it was impossible to count on any consistent quantities. But, the new program has them coming to the Kireka center for a few days each week to work together as a group. In this way they can create necklaces that are all the same length and the same style. They can create bracelets that are all the same size. And they can have access to supplies that make the job a whole lot easier.

But the group production also offers something else that I had not thought of. It offers them an opportunity to socialize. Their lives in the camp are hard and at home there is always so much work to do to maintain their families. But at the center, sitting on mats working in this group, they can talk, laugh, share stories, ask each other for advice, and just be friends for a few hours.  Sometimes they sing together, sometimes one stops to nurse a hungry baby, and sometimes they cry together over some recent tragedy that has occurred. They do all this while creating the beautiful jewelry that we hope to sell for them to make their lives better. And as I sat on the mats watching them work, I was amazed at how much joy they were able to find in just coming together to work.

I hope you will visit ourCraft Shop to see what they have been able to create.

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish everyone a very happy 2010. We are looking forward to a great year here at Life in Africa. Please do let us know your thoughts and ideas as the year progresses. Cheers!

Sincerely,
Shawn

Kid’s Club

War and violence robs children of their innocence. At New LiA Kireka children are enjoying games and creative play designed to heal their spirits and reconnect them with the joy of just being kids. These children need to know that they have hope for a future free of violence. They receive counseling and guidance to help them grow into healthy adults.

The Kid's Club program includes healing through art. Here the children were asked to draw what they wanted life to be like in ten years. This young artist expressed a common wish. They want to go home to their villages, live in peace and have plenty of food. Both children and adults in the community share this dream.

The Kids Club is conducted at the LiA Kireka Center. The cost to operate this life-changing program is only $1.35 per day, per child. There are approximately 100 children at the center and most of them are orphans. Please help keep this program going by making a donation today.

 

Jungle beads!

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The LiA Kireka  Jungle Beads program provides employment for the members of their community in Kampala, Uganda, many of whom had lost their entire way of life as a result of  the Ugandan civil war that raged for over twenty years. The program also offers much needed education for the adults in the way of english, business skills, production training, and numbers. Jungle Beads sales also provide much-needed funds for other Life in Africa programs.

The beadmakers gather at the Kireka center to sort, measure and cut recycled paper for the beads.

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beaderstrip

Then each thin strip of paper is rolled around a needle and glued. The beads are then strung on a line and dipped in varnish several times. Once the varnish is dry, the jewelry assembly process starts.

stringingbasket of beads
You can purchase these beautiful handmade beads in our crafts shop by clicking here.