Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kampala Youth Volunteers Work Together To Improve Ugandan School For The Deaf

Bwette Daniel Gilbert /
Iryn Ikkomu from Early Life Radio painting the classroom block

By Bwette Daniel Gilbert
Senior Reporter
KAMPALA, Uganda – With a youth population of almost 70 percent, Uganda is one of the youngest nations in Africa.
Last week, as part of Global Youth Service Day, young people from many organizations worked together to make improvements at a school for the deaf.
Under the umbrella organization Generation Change, youth helped paint classrooms at the Uganda School for the Deaf in Ntinda, a short distance outside the capital city of Kampala. They planted a tree in the school garden and took part in interfaith prayers.
In Uganda, a massive influx of youth from the rural areas is moving to Kampala. The Kampala City Council Authority is stretched with the growing burden of sheltering and feeding this population as well as trying to keep the city and suburbs as clean as possible.
Getting youth involved in responsibilities and letting them know how important it is to keep the city clean, as well as other things like planting trees has been one of the toughest jobs city authorities have had to learn to live with.
But with the emergence of joint youth-led organizations such as Generation Change, the job has started to become easier.
Bwette Daniel Gilbert /
Generation Change team leader Wakib 
the youth.
Now, youth come out voluntarily to take part in cleaning the city. But is it truly Generation Change? Why do young adults trust it so much, to the extent of rendering their services and time for the benefit of the society?
Bwette Daniel Gilbert /
Kisirisa Mohammed leading the youth
in planting trees
Ahmed Hadji, one of the team leaders, explained.
“Generation Change is an international, interfaith, joint organization dedicated to young leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators for the purpose of sharing new ideas and information; networking and celebrating a new generation of change-makers in Uganda that is powered by the U.S. Embassy of Kampala,” said Hadji.
Another Generation Change team leader, Wakib Bunya of the Open Space Forum, said young people want to make a difference. The National Resistance Movement, Uganda’s current government, Bunya said, “neglects development made by other regimes,” including that the school for the deaf was built during the regime of former dictator Idi Amin.
Bwette Daniel Gilbert /
Joseph Opio from Green Light
Movement works with others to
clear the garden.
"But the development is in a sorrowful state, so as youth we have decided to complement the work of government by giving back,” said Bunya, in the form of renovations to classrooms, planting a fruit tree in the school garden and more.
Global Youth Service Day, a campaign of Youth Service America, an international leader in the youth service movement, is celebrated each year in more than 100 countries, with young people working together on important issues and to change their communities.
In Kampala, youth came from various organizations such as Uganda Youth Advisors to Washington, secondary schools and Rotary Interact clubs, Muslim Student Associations, university debate clubs, Rotaract clubs and other university organizations, the Bavubuka Foundation, Students for Global Democracy, Green Light Movement with additional help from the Uganda Muslim Youth Development Forum, Open Space Centre and African Youth Development Link.

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