My name is Lindsey Ogilvie. I am a student at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, and I met Gilbert in Uganda while completing an internship. The organization I was working with had provided Gilbert with some skills training and wanted me to meet with him to collect his success story. Upon hearing his experiences, and also his plans for this school, I knew I needed to do more than just document his story, so I created this fundraising page on his behalf. Please help my friend, this incredibly talented and determined young man, achieve his goal! Thank you!
A Message from Gilbert:
My name is Tumusiime Gilbert Junior. I am an artist, a fashion designer, a pole lathe turning demonstrator, and a voluntary art teacher at St. Gonzaga Senior Secondary School in Kijjukizo, Lyantonde District, Uganda. I am also the Lyantonde town council youth leader, as well as a church youth leader in the Kijjukizo parish. Additionally, I am the owner of Gilbart Creationz, an art company I established in 2014 in Lyantonde, Uganda, that works in fashion design, painting, sculpting, and multimedia crafts.
As an experienced artist and craftsman, with a passion for teaching and helping others, my goal is to establish a craft school in Lyantonde, where I can empower vulnerable youth in my area by teaching them hands on skills like the ones I possess, which they can use to produce functional and decorative products to generate a sustainable income.
My school will address an area of serious concern in Uganda: that of youth unemployment and low educational attainment. In Uganda, millions of young people do not have the opportunity to attend or complete primary and secondary schooling, and consequently miss opportunities to develop skills and discover their personal gifts and talents. Although primary school education is universally accessible, many families do not have the economic capacity to send their children to school. Lyantonde town is located in the dry corridor of southern Buganda, where farming and agriculture is the main income generating activity, but due to frequent and prolonged droughts, crops do not yield and animals lack adequate pasture and water. As a result, families often live in poverty because they cannot generate sustainable incomes.
When parents are unable to pay school fees for their children, these young people are forced to drop out. Young female drop-outs often engage in prostitution, as Lyantonde is a stop-over town for transit vehicles travelling from Kenya, through Uganda, to the DRC and Rwanda, and back again. This puts them in danger of acquiring HIV/AIDS. Young male drop-outs similarly engage in risky behaviours, like gambling and drug use, which often ends in imprisonment. I believe with my skills, unique gifts from God, and your financial support, that we can give new hope and a brighter future to these vulnerable youth.
The craft school will provide youth with skills like:
- Pole-lathe turning, where they can make a variety of products including foot massagers, stools, Windsor (rocking) chairs, lamps stands, etc;
- Fashion designing, where they can decorate a variety of fabrics using different techniques including embroidery, tie and dye, patch work, etc;
- Metal fabrication, where they will learn to make doors, windows, sofa chairs, beds and other decorative crafts; and,
- Multimedia craftsmanship, where they will learn to make shoes, sandals, wallets, jewellery, etc.
After learning these skills, program graduates will be able to make their own products and provide services to generate income throughout their lives.
Currently, I have been given a plot of land from the Church to build my school. I now need capital to build the structures. The school compound will consist of modest, yet artistic structures made from local Ugandan materials, and will include a craft shop, workshops, a show room, cafeteria, washrooms and an administrative office. The estimated cost of building is $12,000. Once the school is established, we will sell the crafts produced therein to be financially independent.
I would like to thank Dr. Dennis Willms, of Canada, founder of the Salama SHIELD Foundation, and its administrators for connecting me with two professional pole-lathe turning demonstrators, Mike Gordon from England, and Roy Godber from Canada, who taught me the art of pole lathe turning, and provided me with the skills and confidence to share my knowledge with others.
I also want to thank the Catholic community of Kijjukizo Parish, Masaka Diocese of Kampala Archdiocese for believing in my vision, and supporting me as a young leader inspiring change in my community by providing me with land to establish my centre.
Lastly I want to thank Lindsey Ogilvie and Tanya Sharma, intern students at the Salama SHIELD Foundation, from the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, for helping me create a fundraising platform.
Thank you in advance for your contribution.
Tumusiime Gilbert Junior