The Canon Eric and Faith Bugaari Community Centre
Determining the Need
When visiting Kebisoni in Rukungiri, Uganda, during Christmas time in 2014, and during subsequent follow-up visits in 2015, and 2017, Jolly Bugari and members of OTYO! (A Sigh of Relief) conducted a thorough needs-assessment regarding youth programs and projects to promote education and health in rural Kebisoni. The community consistently expressed concern with the lack of educational resources available to the local youth, both during school and holiday time. We were often struck as well, by the lack of youth access to books or to a library, and by the many children home for Christmas without books to read, or study materials. The closest library is in Kampala 300 miles away.
Through our observations, and ongoing inquiry through our OTYO! members working in Uganda, we also determined that the community was in need of a physical space for health education programs and income generating projects. OTYO! and community members thought and reflected deeply on the observations and demographic aspects of the community. We believe that one of the best ways to help the youth in the community most effectively is to create a community center and library, beginning with one room, to provide access to books, health education programs, and an income generating Sanitary Pad project. In the longer term we will expand the Centre to include additional rooms to house a larger library with space for tutoring, a computer lab, a small medical clinic, a music room, and space for supporting other Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) and community business. We began looking at options for obtaining a site for the library/community Centre. Fortunately, the local church was willing to donate land.
Establishing the Site
Archdeacon Kirebete, and the board of the North Kigezi Diocese in Kebisoni, has donated the land for the library/community center enthusiastically, agreeing with the findings of our needs assessment. The site is excellent, and the location is within the target community. The church has also requested that we name the library/community center after Jolly’s late parents Faith and Canon Eric Bugaari. Canon Bugaari and his wife Faith were both prominent community leaders. Canon Bugaari was first and foremost an educator who taught at the Kakinga Primary School in Kebisoni for many years, who was also Canonized in the church. Faith was a leader of Mother’s Union for the Kebisoni Chapter. Naming the center after Faith and Canon Bugaari, would reflect and honor their roles as community leaders and educators, and is a gesture of recognition and appreciation to their community service.
We have met and conferred with the local community to decide what the community center will include. Our immediate near-term goal (1 to 3 years from 2018, $30,000) is a one-room site housing a library and space for an income-generating Sanitary Pad project. This project will in part help sustain the site. Our longer-term goal (3 to 5 years from 2018, $60,000) will be additional connecting rooms housing an expanded library, a computer room, a music room, a medical clinic, and a room for other CBO’s and community business. There is also space available on the site for a community garden as well as a sports field.
In addition to serving the local community in Kebisoni, one of the main ideas of the Community Centre is to allow OTYO! to connect closely with local community based organizations by providing a space for these organizations to work to achieve their goals. As one of the main missions of OTYO! is to provide technical and financial assistance to local community based organizations working with women, adolescents and vulnerable children, we felt this would be a perfect opportunity to strengthen these relationships with the community.
Making it Happen
The first room of the Community Centre, with bathrooms, will have approximately 700 square feet. The entire Community Centre when completed will ultimately have approximately 3000 square feet of enclosed building space. A donation of $50 dollars will translate to paying for about 1 square foot of construction. We look to our friends and previous donors to help us make the Community Centre a reality. Donations can be made via the PayPal link on our website, on our Facebook page, and through AmazonSmile.
We have included pictures below of the land where the Community Centre will be built, as well as a rough sketch of what it will look like. Because we believe in contributing to the local economy, the construction of the Community Centre will be done by local community members and will be managed by OTYO! based in Kebisoni locally.
The next steps that are needed to make the Community Centre reality require support from you. We have support from local community members in Uganda, as well as in kind donations for the library from contacts in the San Francisco Bay area. However, what is really needed at this time is your financial help.
We recognized that the Community Centre is a very large undertaking for a small non-profit.
We are currently fundraising in three main arenas: through online auctions of diverse items on BiddingForGood.com; through dine-and-donate events with GroupRaise and select venues locally; and through social media drives and outreach. We are also in the process of setting up a fundraising event to be held locally in the San Francisco Bay Area. Details on that event will be posted on our website as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages as soon as they become available.
OTYO! always welcomes outside donations via our Paypal account on our webpage (www.otyo.org) and Facebook page.