Who Are Youth With A Vision?
We are a small and steadily growing not for profit Ugandan based and registered (Reg. C.D. 2211) grassroots organisation operating in a desperately poor region of greater Masaka, lacking most of the facilities that one could take for granted, found in 2002 by John Mugabi, who and all his siblings were raised up in a humble family, and mainly by their mother who was denied an education for being a girl and later forced into an early marriage by her own father. Denying John’s mother an education and forcing her into an early marriage was an abuse of her rights which greatly affected the entire family. She could not access a paid job to sustain the family and some of John’s siblings died before the age of 5 years, and of preventable diseases simply because of ignorance. John’s mum had learnt skills in crafts, basketry and baking which she passed on to her children.
John learnt a lot of skills in crafts from her mum which he later employed to supplement his living and that of the young people he encountered along his lifelong journey. For John and his siblings, life was just about survival. And very often older siblings could help the mother with their hardly earned and pooled stipends from the crafts and wages to provide for the necessities of the young siblings.
As John was struggling to acquire an education, in 1991 a brother who was supporting him died of HIV/AIDS, and this was when John was just about to complete his High School Certificate of Education. So he dropped out of school to look for casual work to pay for his education. And when he finally completed High School, John was enrolled into a Teacher Training College at Kibuli TTC with the support of his sister who also after a short illness died of HIV/AIDS-this was in 1991 when John was just a semester away about to completion of his teaching course. Life became more harder for John who struggled and he had to always get in and out of the College, to do casual jobs which helped him to raise his College tuition and good enough he managed through and completed his Teaching Course with success!
When John was posted to teach at Kako Primary School in Masaka in 1995 (a year after graduation) he encountered many children who had been made orphans by HIV/AIDS, homeless, living in unimaginable poverty, hunger, diseases, poor housing and sanitation alongside lack of work and educational opportunities - a situation he himself went through before.
By then John got married to Josephine (a teacher too) with whom he shared his vision and they together drew action plans to address the plight of less privileged children and youth. John mobilized the impoverished young people and provided them art and crafts lessons as a way to empower them to become financially sustainable. He could get orders for art and design works in the community and employ these young people to get the works done and earn a living for themselves. He brought into his house orphans and cared for them
John’s reflection on the impact of the abuse of his mother’s rights upon the entire family, the loss of his siblings to HIV/AIDS, his experiences with poverty and his encounter of children without stationery, no tuition, wearing almost rags and starving everyday simply because of poverty, motivated him to leave his teaching job and in 2002 he started Youth With A Vision to directly help change the hopeless future so many young people (who live in a situation he once went through) faced.
Poverty and acts of abuse of human rights and deprivation still exists and greatly impact many young people in Uganda. So Youth With A Vision trains and empowers local village authorities to protect and promote human rights and provide schooling opportunities and access to other basic necessities to children in poverty and enhance employability of Youth lacking access to employment so they will one day be self-sufficient. All our projects depend on friends, partnerships, sale of organization materials and crafts made by children, generous donations and grants, and own fundraising events to deliver better living to the disadvantaged children and youth.
Since our inception, through our various programs, we have touched lives of 1,080 children, youth and adults directly, and 3,500 children, youth and adults indirectly in greater Masaka region of Uganda. Today there are many families which have seen one or two of their children and youth come through Youth With A Vision and begin to change their lives! And there are many more in need of our support everyday.
YWAV is overseen by a 7 members board, while daily operations are run by John Mugabi assisted by two full time staff.
In 2002, John Mugabi (then working as the Children and Youth worker for the Diocese of West Buganda) led a few young men and women and banded together in an informal village group to respond to the unchallenged hardships faced by the disadvantaged young people in Masaka District in an effort to save them from HIV/AIDS, poverty, ignorance and abuse of their rights. They succeeded and formed Youth with a vision. Today Youth with a vision (YWAV) is recognized by the community-based organization's board, as a not-for-profit Christian community-based youth network in Masaka District, solely and comprehensively embracing young people from all backgrounds. The overriding objective of YWAV (Mission) is to partner with government organs, individuals and organizations committed to defending and advocating for the rights of the disadvantaged young people so that we create for them fair avenues and opportunities to succeed in life and to usher them as resources within their communities. Our interventions aim to advance the education of young people and their communities in areas of academics, health/HIV/AIDS awareness, environment, human rights, poverty reduction strategies, job creation, and employment skills, civic engagement, provision of facilities for recreation and other leisure time occupation in the interest of social
YWAV is entirely driven by young volunteers. The organization is overseen by 3 trustees, and they are citizens of high integrity and caliber. Members who are young people from the age of 5 years - 30 years are registered and organized through vision teams located in various parts of the region. The board which is the supreme governing body of the organization is formed by team leaders and secretaries of the vision teams. John Mugabi in the capacity of the director is in charge of the daily running of the organization as a volunteer. We don't receive any State funding so our programs entirely depend on; flexible subscriptions by some of our members, generous donations from friendly individuals and organizations locally and internationally.
What, Why and How we do it?
Youth with a vision is deeply concerned about the wide range of conditions that increasingly affect the standards of living among the young people mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have witnessed first - hand how HIV/AIDS, family breakdown, depression, low respect for human rights and financial instabilities, have destroyed hopes and opportunities of mainly vulnerable young people in Masaka region, causing lasting damage to their potential.
Most young people lack opportunities to succeed in life, several young people grow uncared for, and they constitute to a cycle of generations of elders who fail to offer the right example to their children who, in turn, are becoming infant adults. Such cycles have greatly contributed to the creation of societies where adults, having not been properly cared for as children, are themselves unable to bring up their own offspring.
It is also believed that children who are taught good practices and values at a young age are more likely to continue to live by those practices throughout their life. We believe that in order to create a more unified community we must start teaching children at an early stage and it is for this reason that our programs focus on passing over life skills and good practices to the young people so that they turn into positive citizens when they become adults.
Recognising that our society today is faced by deprivation of basic needs, corruption, violence and conflicts, abuse of office and resources, greed, ineffective leadership and lack of respect for basic human rights, all of which have contributed to prevalence of poverty, hunger and diseases mainly HIV/AIDS within impoverished families and societies….
The output of youth in such circumstances may be determined by their transition from childhood to adulthood, a process mostly influenced by the above issues...
We consider youth: nurtured and supported into responsible adults at an early stage, as important actors, most active, dynamic, creative, innovative, and accountable, committed to the reconstruction of a participatory civil society to recapture the values and practices that embrace all stakeholders, and ready to pass over such practices to the next generation in search for a just and fair society.