A Journey of One Million Trees

Hands of Action Uganda, in partnership with The Pollination Project which provided funding, works with school children and teachers to plant fruit trees that provide soil stability on steep mountain slopes, food for an impoverished community and shade.

Special thanks to Musabe Apollo Bwebale for making this documentary for us!

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Farewell to our friend, Chris Gelken, 1955 – 2014

“What counts in life is not the Mere Fact that we have lived. It is what Difference we have Made to the Lives of others. That will determine the Significance of the Life we Lead.“ – Nelson Mandela

chriscamera

On 4th April 2014, we lost our Best Friend, Chris. It was a Black day for the Hands of Action Uganda Staff.

Chris Gelken, Journalist, gave us Advice and helped us with Publicity

I befriended Chris of Ridealist Productions on Facebook on November 3rd 2010. It’s now been almost Five Years but I have not remained the same. Most of the steps Hands of Action Uganda has made is due to Chris’ guidance and advice.

Chris made countless contributions to Hands of Action Uganda.  He trained me how to use Facebook, which I didn’t know well at that time. He also helped to set up our page in the names of Hands of Action Uganda.

He conceived and developed the Hands of Action Child of Uganda program, an art project with our local school children designed to help the Orphans in Bududa District. He has been among the friends behind the Orphans Feeding Program. And with his wife Shirley Han Ying, he produced Teach A Man To Fish, a documentary for the purposes of empowering the Bukibokolo Community.

Chris linked us to very Important People who have made us proud. He helped Hands of Action Uganda to get where it is today by linking us to Marcia Bujold, who has volunteered with the designing and updated of the Hands of Action Uganda Websites and Blog. He linked us to a very important person, Leigh Thorsen. Leigh is our Consultant in different areas, and we have won several Grants because of her expertise, including that of USAID. Another important person we connected with through Chris is Gabriel Saftescu, who he has been in charge of the web domain for Hands of Action Uganda.

Chris was diagnosed with stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer in July 2013. He went through more than 8 months of traditional and complementary cancer therapies, and fought every step of the way. On April 4th, 2014 he died of kidney failure related to the illness in hospital, and was later buried at the Rochechouart cemetery near his home in central France. Chris remains an inspiration to anyone who chooses to live life on their own terms.

Even while fighting his illness, Chris had planned to visit Hands of Action Uganda to help People who are sick with cancer in Uganda.

Chris, you will be missed by my Family, by the Hands of Action Uganda Staff, and by the Children you have been Caring for.

“WHEN WE THINK ABOUT YOU TEARS ROLL ON OUR CHEEKS”

be the sky700re

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One Million Trees Progress Report

A student plants a tree at her school

A student plants a tree at her school

 

In October 2013 Hands of Action Uganda (HOA), received $500 as part of a $1,000 grant from The Pollination Project towards HOA’s Fruit Tree Planting Campaign of One Million Tree Programme, which aims at reducing poverty and provide environmental education through tree planting projects at local schools.

The Pollination Project funds are to be used for the purchase of over 1,500 fruit trees and establishment of woodlots in the following schools: 1. Shitumi Secondary School, 2. Bulimino Primary School, 3. Shikhuyu Needy Care Primary School, 4. Lunganga Primary School 5. Busamaili Primary School and we added one more Bukary Primary School to make (6) six Schools which are to benefit in this Programme in Bududa District.

On 25 October 2013, 800 Seedlings of jack fruits, pawpaw, mangoes, Guavas and Albizia trees were planted in three schools. At Shitumi Secondary School 350 fruit and tree species were planted; in Bukary Primary School 300 Seedlings were planted; 150 fruit tree seedlings and other woodlots species were planted at Shikhuyu Needy Care Primary. The next round of funding will cover the remaining three schools, Lunganga, Bulimon and Busamali Primary Schools. Continue reading

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Orphans in Bukibokolo subcounty in Bududa District

By Nina Wegener of Hands of Action Uganda

Nandutu Nanstanoio

In the whole world there are 15 million children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS, which is similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom.

12.1 million of these are African.

Children who are orphaned or vulnerable due to AIDS are less likely than their peers to have adequate education, food or medical treatment and are more likely to suffer from abuse and psychological trauma. In addition to that 1 billion children live in poverty which means 1 in 2 children in the world. (source: http://www.globalissues.org)

These are some facts about the situation of orphaned children in the whole world but now I want to concentrate on a special area: Bukibokolo subcounty in Bududa District, Eastern Uganda, where I spent one year doing volunteer work work with “Hands of Action Uganda”. During my time there I talked to many families to find out about their lives and problems they have. Many of these families were hosting orphan children who lost their parents and nearly all of these families were fighting hardly to survive, to earn enough to feed all the children and to come up with money for school fees – and so on.

Buteme Mauren, Nandutu and Nabusiu Prima, 3 and 4 years old, already lost both parents to AIDS in their young ages. Now they are staying with their grandmother who can`t even afford money for treating Mauren’s eye problem. She has to do casual work for guaranteeing the children at least one meal per day, because the crops from the own garden are not enough for all of them.

Continue reading

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Hands of Action Uganda is awarded One Million Trees grant

Trees were planted at Bukari Primary School in 2011. More fruit trees will be planted at four primary schools, helping to feed children.

Trees were planted at Bukari Primary School in 2011. With the grant, more fruit trees will be planted at
four primary schools, helping to feed local children.

 
Hands of Action Uganda is pleased to announce that The Pollination Project has awarded us a grant to plant fruit trees in our community!

“The first phase of the Fruit Tree Project will take place in four local primary schools, and will offer selected students indigenous environmental knowledge and practice, while supplying food and wood for the school. The Fruit Tree Project aims to address both the food and fuel shortages in the area by providing affordable nutritional fruits for children and woodlots for every family with a child in primary school.”

The project will support planting and monitoring of 1500 trees. The plantings will help to feed children, but also will be part of the school curriculum, teaching children about sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, and how to solve local social and economic challenges. Eventually, the project will be extended to five additional schools.

Hands of Action Uganda sincerely thanks The Pollination Project for their support!

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One Million Trees

This article was written by Robinah Tie, a student in one of the Universities in Uganda, who describes the firsthand story of Kato Saul’s adventure. He intended to show all the readers of his book the good intentions of Hands of Action and particularly those who have never gone to the Eastern parts of Uganda. He very much appreciated the climate, climatic changes, people’s way of life, relief and the hospitality of the Eastern dwellers.

One Million Trees

The One Million Trees Planting Mission was established by Hands of Action Uganda and supported by Captain Planet Foundation from the U.S.A.  It has carried out one launch so far and expects to carry out so many launches to spread the gospel of Environmental Conservation both theoretically and practically throughout Uganda. In its mission sometime back, I was trusted by the Executive Director for the task of video shooting and editing later. But since the Pearl has the capacity to attract foreigners from the well–to-do countries and after paying dollars and pounds, it attracted me in the same way having stepped in the Eastern Region. Realistically, the mission turned to be an adventure and an important lesson.

Traveling to Mbale

As a video shooter, I was happy about the U.S.A’s Captain Planet Foundation through the Hands of Action Uganda because of preserving the environment of Uganda particularly in the East.  My eyes were refreshed by the nature. There was precious Owen Falls Dam, Bujagali Falls at a distance and the sites of the Hydro-Electricity generation that we use 24/7 and all being in Jinja District. Smoothly we continued with our journey up to Mbale Town.

We had left the Capital late, and though I felt like sleeping on the way, my colleague insisted on continuing with the journey. I even proposed that we could get a room somewhere in town and he finally bought my idea. At that time my body was entirely tired and his acceptance made joy knock my heart. We went to a certain Hotel and this was “Amazing Eldima”. This was so surprising and I believe if any one steps there, laughter may occupy his/her lips because of it’s constructional setup. The reception location unpredicted, we got food from another Restaurant instead and move back to Eldima. Surprising meals at our tables, this was Kamatoole, Maleewa and Obusuuma.

Continue reading

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Can an Ordinary Child Survive Abuse Amidst Escalating Poverty?

Young children are often forced to do heavy work in the fields of Bududa District.

 

Children are a gift from God – fragile, delicate and, above all, a blessing to every African community.

Failing to have a child, a family is deemed accursed. Such couples will give their all in search of a child through different ways, such as prayer and medical consultations. This serves to portray the value of a child to African communities. Raising a child is not a simple task, and requires love, patience and commitment, as well as feeding, clothing, nursing, healthcare, shelter and education. This is naturally expected of parents, but it is also required by the state, which informs of children’s rights. Failure to perform is deemed abuse and is punishable by law.

The Constitution of The Republic of Uganda emphasizes the right to family and also obliges parents to provide basic needs for their children. The Children’s Act also defines Child Abuse as a situation where any adult who is responsible for a child willfully assaults, ill treats, neglects, abandons or exposes the child to injury or suffering. It provides for a penalty of not less than 10 years imprisonment for anyone guilty of such abuse.

This implies that the potential perpetrators of child abuse are none other than the children’s own parents, guardians and caretakers who are naturally expected to protect them from all sorts of danger. Such a fact has however not barred child abuse.  Research clearly shows that children are not only neglected and abandoned but also grossly abused sexually, physically and emotionally. Continue reading

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A Welcome Song from the Tubana Bukibokolo Women

The Tubana Bukibokolo Women's Group sings a welcome song for Jennifer Anderson, who visited Uganda and Kenya to help the women establish their jewelry making business.

A welcome song for Jenn.

Posted in Poverty, Self sustenance projects, Women | 3 Comments

Women’s Bead Project

 

Tubana Bukibokolo Women’s Group
makes paper bead jewelry

Buy handcrafted jewelry at the Tubana Bukibokolo Bead Store

The women in our villages have come together to develop new skills and opportunities, seeking ways to help themselves overcome the poverty in our community.  They call themselves the Tubana Bukibokolo Women’s Group.  TUBANA in our Lumasaba language means united.  Lumasaba comes from our common name Masaba.  In our history, Masaba is the first person to live in Mt. Elgon, the ancient volcano that we live on.  In fact, the local name for Mt Elgon is Mt. Masaba.

The Women’s Group chose handcrafted paper bead jewelry as their first venture, and have been making necklaces in many lengths, styles and colors.   We are offering them for sale, directly from our community, and also with the help of our friends around the world.

The members are from many different villages. Women who are interested in beads and necklace making are trained, and in turn they train others who benefit from the skills.   Many of our women struggle with immense problems, but this training has already yielded positive results.

For example, among our group there is a woman who’s granddaughter is HIV/AIDS positive and has lost both parents to the disease. The savings from beadwork has greatly helped to support this child, contributing to her basic requirements like school fees and medical bills in Mbale hospital where she is currently getting intensive care.

Another member, Wakigomu, is a widow who cares for 8 young orphan children.  She was first trained in Mbale and has, in turn, trained a number of women to make beads.  As a result, she has managed to earn enough to pay school fees for her children and sustain herself.  She has trained other women voluntarily in collaboration with Hands of Action Uganda.

This project helps to eradicate poverty among our people, and is a source of income to the needy people and Orphans in rural and urban areas.  Beadmaking is the first project we have started with to eradicate poverty among women. We are also developing projects such as mushroom growing, poultry, music and dance, and hairdressing. Hands of Action Uganda (HOA) dearly appreciates your support to Africa.

To learn more, visit our Women’s Bead Project page. We will soon offer necklaces for sale.

Looking at the history of beads, our ancient ancestors used to wear beads, as an African culture we feel proud about it and keep it for our next generation.

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Children’s Art Project

Zebras Eating Grass

Ridealist organizes Children’s Art Project and Exhibition in Bududa District

Step into a world of lush trees heavy with fruit and zebras grazing under green trees.  Where men herd cows, women tend gardens and children jump rope in schoolyards.  There are tables of food, and homes busy with people cooking, working and playing.  This is Uganda through the eyes of our children.

Here in Bududa District, we are very excited about the Children’s Art Project, a recent effort to raise funds and awareness for the people of our villages.  Hundreds of school children in four schools have been drawing pictures of their homes, families, and daily life.

The project is the brainstorm of Chris Gelken at Ridealist, a Hong Kong based media company.  Chris first proposed the project in September 2011, and sought donations via various social media outlets.  Thanks to a generous first donation from Simon P’ng of Malaysia, we were able to purchase art materials and begin the project.

Our volunteers and teachers worked closely with the children to produce over 600 drawings on several topics, such as women working, family life, and Ugandan animals.  The results are unique and charming!

“Sending art of Ugandan Child to Hong Kong is a pleasure to me because when such are exhibited abroad the people who see the pictures get an impression of what is happening in Uganda. I also feel that a Ugandan child artist can feel proud of his/her exposure abroad. This can also create good relationship between Uganda, China and Hong Kong,” says Teacher Namahumba Deogratious of Bukari Primary School.

Ridealist is busy preparing the drawings for online viewing and will frame 30 to 40 drawings for a gallery exhibition.   Drawings will be auctioned, and resulting funds will be donated to our schools.

But for the children, this is a special chance to show the world who they are and how they live.

Wamono Sam, a 16 year old orphan says, “… I feel very happy and I take this opportunity to thank Mukhobeh Moses K. the director of Hands of Action for partnering with Ridealist of Hong Kong and to introducing us over there, so that people can know about our natural talents especially me. And I think ART is becoming number one world subject because in Africa every school is doing it.”

If you would like to help with a donation, please look for the orange donation box on Ridealist’s blog.

Click here for a preview of things to come!

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