I went to Uganda, as I do each summer, to bathe my soul in the love and inspiration of the people who have suffered great hardship, yet hold onto hope in the future they are building. Every year I travel with optimism about the progress I will see and I have always been pleased! But this year was different. I went as a skeptic, determined to take stock of our progress with a critical eye, to look hard for evidence of stalling momentum or shortfalls in our plans.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelmingly positive outcomes of U-TOUCH training in Uganda. All five Digital Centers in Mbale, Pader, Kitgum and Kabale and the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) in Gulu have shown deep impacts in families and communities. As a result of your support, unemployed young women and men–with their U-TOUCH certification and computer skills–are becoming entrepreneurs; becoming employed; receiving promotions or returning to school. As a donor, be proud of the work you have been able to accomplish for the women who can now support their families to meet their basic needs and human rights. Best of all the increase in family income is putting children back in school, they have improved nutrition and medical care and many are learning computer skills, just like their parent or older sibling!
It was a terrific joy to be with all the U-TOUCH trainers, country-wide, for our week-long annual staff meeting. Once again, the U-TOUCH family was at work, growing and planning for the new year. This summer, the buzz at the TIH was about the first of U-TOUCH’s self-sustainability programs– the Graphic Design and Print Center. The graphic artists were busy creating eye-catching documents and visuals for headmaster’s of schools, politicans, wedding parties and for businessmen and women of the community. We are excited about its potential to help build a sustainable U-TOUCH future. The Women’s Empowerment room was aglow as local trainer, Beatrice, along with Zahra, a US intern, led 20 young women through the 3-week program. After becoming empowered women, strong with self-esteem and confidence, and understanding their rights, the women learned entrepreneurship skills to stand up tall and take on their future and that of their families and communities.
Your generous contributions are hard at work transforming lives through technology and training. U-TOUCH centers are opening wide the window of opportunity for those who only knew as far as they could walk. Our beneficiaries now have a window to the world through the Internet. They are breathing deeply the air of opportunity, learning computer skills, life skills, job skills and entrepreneurship skills. They continue to venture down their new path, with new skills in hand, to find their dreams.
Thank you! We are most grateful for your generosity, making a difference in the lives U-TOUCH!
With deepest gratitude,
Thank you to CompTIA MSP Partners as well as Small Business Owners and IT Business Growth Professionals for selecting U-TOUCH to share your most deeply appreciated philanthropic generosity.
U-TOUCH, using an innovative approach has brought technology to Uganda and is bridging the digital divide. U-TOUCH is making a differnce where brilliance was equally distributed though opportunity was not. At the U-TOUCH Digital Library Centers thousands living in abject poverty, that is less than $1.00 per day have successfully gained computer skills to certification. Using their natural brilliance and creativity they finally have access to gain knowledge from the Internet, the greaest library in the world. Instead of dependency upon others the people of these impovershed regions are becoming connected. Using their new found information to make decisions the people are moving forward, improving their livelihoods and creating progress in their world. Innovative solutions are being developed for problems faced in the harsh circumstances in which they live. Youth both in and out of school, health workers, teachers, government workers, farmers and small business owners, are but a few groups who are using technology to learn information and communications to develop new approaches in their fields. Students who never before owned a textbook have for the first time visually seen their course material come alive. Computer theory taught in schools has become practical. Students are gaining knowledge and passing exams with high performance grades. Health workers are updating medical information on diagnosis and treatment and developing electronic medical record keeping instead of referring back to years of hard copy patient record books. Members are gaining jobs, applying for educational opportunities and employment online. Job promotions are regular and members of the U-TOUCH Centers have become highly valued individuals in their local communities. They have learned to become community ambassadors, collecting data and creating power point presentations to share on health, life skills, job skills and peacebuilding and conflict resolution. U-TOUCH is changing the course of visions, of goals and of lives.
The seminal work that U-TOUCH is doing is only possible through the generosity of the three philanthropic CompTIA Communities including MSP Partners, Small Business Owners and IT Business Growth Professionals. U-TOUCH has greatly benefited by receiving $13,300 from CompTIA’s generous communities. Thank you does not convey how grateful we feel for CompTIA’s participation in helping to create such an important and impactful change in the world. With the generous support of these three CompTIA communities people living in disavantaged regions in Uganda are now connecting globally and working hard to pull themselves out of poverty. Please know U-TOUCH the world, making a huge difference!
Learn more about CompTIA Communities here: CompTIA – Creating IT Futures
Stephen shares his experience as a member of the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center in Gulu, Uganda:
This is Stephen and I’d like to talk about how the
U-TOUCH Digital Library Center, Gulu has benefited me. First of all, I would like to say I completely had no knowledge of what a computer is, in fact I had never even touched a computer since I was born and never thought of learning and using one some day. It was not until, the U-TOUCH project came in place and set up the Digital Library Centers here in northern Uganda that I got the opportunity to learn computer skills and at the moment, I really have substantial knowledge in computer skills and that has greatly impacted my life positively in a number of ways.
Having learned computer, and as a student in school, I realized that learning could be made easier with the use of computers and through the internet in particular and I’m so delighted to say I was able to frequently use the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center for my studies and it was not surprising that I was able to pass my high school leaving exams with really good and impressing grades, actually I emerged the best Arts student from my class in my subject combination of History, Economics, Geography and Entrepreneurship Education. After that, I got the opportunity to apply for University education and got admitted at Gulu university for a public administration course.
Still at the university I’m very much able to utilize the resource center for doing my assignments and course works utilizing the free internet access. So many of my friends and students from Gulu university have also been able to use the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center for research and study purposes and really they appreciate so much the services U-TOUCH is offering to the community in Gulu and other parts of the region. At the university, I’m able to do very well in class assignments and also exams as I can easily use a computer at the center for studying.
Besides that, I also got in touch with so many friends online and with the student to student connections and also the ementoring program, I have really gotten to learn and share lots of experiences with friends abroad especially in the states. I really hope these kinds of connection would in the long run become useful tools to students and other members of the community in Uganda as they get to share experiences of life and gain skills in their respective areas of interests. At the center still, I got to learn other enrichment skills being offered by U-TOUCH Digital Library center in Gulu and other centers in the region which include; job skills especially tips of creating attractive resume/CVs, writing application letters among others.
Also I learnt health tips and also attended the village savings and loans association training which has enable me to learn something about the need for saving wisely for future use and what is required to come up with such VSLA groups, it’s rules and regulations and so forth. Also very important is peace conferencing program that has really given me the skills in addressing problems and conflicts in the community and the world at large. I hope with all these skills I have gotten to learn from the U-TOUCH Digital Library Center, I would grow a responsible citizen and be able to work with self reliance utilizing all the great skills I have got to solve immediate problems around me.
“Long Live U-TOUCH!”
Please consider making a donation to support U-TOUCH. Your generous gift will help bridge the digital information divide, allowing bright and talented people like Stephen access to the knowledge they need to help change our world.
Madeleine, an eleven year old from San Diego, California, forsakes her birthday gifts and collects over $800 to provide opportunity to the people of Uganda.
U-TOUCH celebrates her generosity and compassion. She is a role model for children, indeed all people, around the world!