To All The People In Uganda

Above you can see some mountains in Switzerland. There is snow now up on the top. There is also snow down in the valleys. There might be snow and ice on the streets as well.

Temperatures are below 0 ℃ Water will freeze to ice, as soon as it is outside.

People are freezing in this country as well.

People are lonely. If you could walk through the areas where they live, the streets would seem empty to you. All the doors remain closed. Cars parking outside, but nobody walking around. You can hear no children shouting. It seems to be very quiet.

This is one of the richest countries in Europe. Nobody is hungry here. There are doctors for everybody in need of them. You can buy almost anything that you can imagine. Every child is taken care of.

But where are the children?

Where is the happyness on people’s faces? – Where are the people?

You should thank the lord for your own country, which is warm and bright. Thank him for all the green colors surrounding you, and for all the plants.

Thank the lord for all the children around you and keep them as happy as they are right now.

If you walk through the streets near the place you live, you might hear a lot of sounds. You might hear some birds. You might smell a lot of different things. You might carry a heavy load. You might meet many people you know. You might be afraid of some of them. Some of them might be your friends.

You might be bored some times. But do not worry about that! Be happy!

You might be richer in your heart than many people living here in Switzerland …

To All The Pupils In Uganda

Do you know, what cryptocurrencies are?

You should, because they are your future!!

I am writing this to you from one of the old, old and lonesome countries in Europe: Switzerland!

And I want to tell you, that your time will come, to change the world, if you are lucky enough to get to learn about all the new technical stuff that is rising from the horizons in this world!

Cryptocurrencies is just one of them.

Cryptocurrencies will change the world, many people say. And if you are young enough, you will for sure live in a world, that is dominated by them.

You must know that this is not an invention that we came up with in Europe. It is not from America or from any other part in the world. Cryptocurrencies are a new kind of money, that people from all over the world have developed together using the internet.

If you can access the internet, then you can learn all about it, because all the information that you will ever need about it can be found in the internet.

For now, all I need to tell you, is: You need some knowledge, but little else to deal with crypto currencies. They will help you to receive money, even if you have no bank account, and no money whatsorever.

Cryptocurrencies have been invented to give you access to money without the need to trust anybody else. So do not trust the people that tell you stories about it. Just do never trust them! Onecoin for example ist not a good cryptocurrency for anybody in your country – or in any country of this world! There is Bitcoin and many others, that might help you in the future, if you take some time and learn about it.

Ask your teachers to help you learn about it! Even your teachers might not know about them. That is normal! Even in our country, teachers do not know about a lot of things, but they can be good teachers anyway. So, learn together with your teachers to understand what the future might bring to you.

Only if you learn, you will understand, and then you will be able to go on and find your path!

There are some people in my world that send old money to you. Today’s money, and not Cryptocurrencies.

But money is only worth as much as you can buy with it. How much of the money sent to your country from Europe can be used by you and your parents directly to buy food and anything else that you really need?

With Cryptocurrencies. you will receive money directly, and there will be no others in your way.

OK, this is the future, and not today! But …

Go for the future! It is yours!

A Short Interview With Irene Jacobsen

Irene Jacobsen  

“Toil and Acchieve”, “Learn, Apply, Proceed”

(Deutsche Version)

lyrx Publishing: Hello and welcome to lyrx Publishing, the publishing platform for anybody and anything! Please present yourself! How did it happen? How did you get involved in a school project im Uganda?

Hello! I am Irene. In 1995 I got a scholarship to work in a village in Central Uganda as an occupational therapist. Our job was to deal with kids with special needs.

The project was on the compound of Kalasa Primary. The teachers helped us a lot. We stayed in contact for the following years and funded university for a few of the teachers’ kids.

We (another scholarship holder – Silke- and I) stayed in contact for the following years with our colleagues, helping a few kids to go to university.

One of them was Ronald Mulondo. He became a University lecturer educating Secondary Teachers. In 2009 he won a peace of land in a Radio Quiz-Show. He started his school with self-made bricks and a loan.

Of cours he had asked me for help from the very beginning on, but I refused.

lyrx Publishing: St Peters, what type of school is it? How is it financed? , Why is it so difficult to give it a solid financial base?

It is a private school, this means in Uganda supervision by the state, but no funds (not even teachers salaries). This is hard to believe for germans.

lyrx Publishing: What is your personal motivation to do this? How does it feel to go on with a project for many years, though it is so far away from us and concerns people who live in a completely different society, that we are not really in touch with?

I might have the gift to feel very close to people although the distance in kilometres is a big one. Being new in Uganda in 1995 I first felt very much culture- shocked.

The people who rescued me have been the neighbours and colleagues in the village.

So a feeling of being able to give back was maybe a motivation for me.

In 95 the contact was through air mail letters- at least two weeks old!

Today we can mail and phone, so the contact feels quite close.

I never had planned to be active for a project for many years. I always just went the very next step.

I do not feel the life reality to be too different. The basic themes in human life seem to be the same (birth and death, work and resting, health and sickness, love and hate), culture is just a kind of decoration.

Giving and sharing feels great: It is a privilege. I know my funds make a difference.

lyrx Publishing: The German protestant church is also involved. How is that working? What is the role of the church in this, and what are the limits and the opportunities coming from this cooperation?

Ronald won the price in 2009. In 2011 (February) St. Peter’s was opened up. Up to end of 2012 I felt rather desparate how to get rid again of the whole thing!

We had just started with a private account and a few friends. From May 2013 on my church was willing to receive donations for St. Peter’s on their account (taxfree donations possible), a great step forward. We started the Uganda sustainers group, visits took place.

lyrx Publishing: You have been working hard to raise money for this. But Uganda is far away. They have a different culture, different traditions, a different mentality. How do you deal with that? How can you be sure that your money is not abused for purposes not related to your project?

Yes, this might be (except for pure ignorance) the biggest reason for people not to share.

I myself have been sharing for over 20 years now and in the beginning I often asked myself: What, if the student uses the money for something else?

What, if they betray me? How can I know?

And I always had to admit: I could not.

I tried the other way round: Would those friends share with me if the situation had been the other way round (me in a country where even brightest kids have no other option than digging…)

I never funded a kid when the answer was no.

I asked myself: What, if I refuse? What am I going to use the money for instead ?

I decided to take the risk, because consuming it did not seem to be half as reasonable.

Funding education is always an investment that gives a future.

Ein kurzes Interview mit Irene Jacobsen über St Peters

Irene Jacobsen  

“Toil and Acchieve”, “Learn, Apply, Proceed”

(English version)

lyrx Publishing: Ein herzliches “Hallo” und willkommen bei lyrx Publishing, der Publikationsplatform für Jedermann und Alles! Bitte stelle dich kurz vor und erzähl einfach mal, wie es dazu gekommen ist, dass ihr ein Schulprojekt in Uganda unterstützt.

Hallo! Ich bin Irene. Ich habe 1995 mit einem Stipendium in Uganda als Ergotherapeutin in einem kleinen Dorf in Zentraluganda gearbeitet.

Wir sollten uns dort um Kinder mit Behinderung kümmern. Das Projekt war der dortigen Grundschule angegliedert. Die Lehrerinnen unterstützten uns sehr. Wir (Silke, eine andere Stipendiatin und ich) blieben in den folgenden Jahren in Kontakt und finanzierten ein paar Lehrerkindern die Universität. Einer davon war Ronald Mulondo. Er wurde Universitätsdozent und bildete Sekundarschullehrer aus. 2009 gewann er ein Stück Land in einem Radioquiz. Er startete seine Schule mit selbstgebrannten Ziegeln und einem Kredit.

Natürlich fragte er mich gleich zu Beginn um Hilfe, aber ich lehnte ab.

lyrx Publishing: St Peters, was ist das für eine Schule, wie finanziert sie sich und warum ist es so schwierig, ihre Existenz langfristig zu sichern?

Die Schule ist privat, das heißt in Uganda, dass sie zwar der staatlichen Aufsicht untersteht, aber keine staatlichen Mittel bekommt (auch nicht die Lehrergehälter). Das ist für Deutsche kaum nachzuvollziehen.

lyrx Publishing: Was ist eure persönliche Motivation bei alledem? Wie fühlt sich das an, wenn man sich jahrelang für ein Projekt einsetzt, das weit, weit von der eigenen Lebensrealität stattfindet und zu dem man kaum “hautnahen” Kontakt haben kann?

Vielleicht habe ich die Gabe, mich auch über große Distanzen hin sehr verbunden zu fühlen. Als ich 1995 neu in Uganda war, war ich zunächst sehr kulturgeschockt. Die Menschen, die mich aufgefangen haben, waren die Nachbarinnen und Kolleginnen im Dorf.

Wahrscheinlich war das auch eine Motivation für mich – etwas zurückgeben können.

Damals gab es nur Kontakt über Luftpostbriefe – mindestens zwei Wochen Zeitverzögerung! Heute können wir mailen und telefonieren, es fühlt sich also sehr nahe an.

Ich hatte nie vor, mich jahrelang für ein Projekt einzusetzen, ich habe immer nur das Nächstliegende getan. Ich empfinde die Lebensrealität als gar nicht so verschieden. Die menschlichen Grundthemen scheinen doch überall auf der Welt gleich (Geburt und Tod, Arbeit und Ruhe, Gesundheit und Krankheit, Liebe und Hass), die Kultur ist eher eine Art Dekoration.

Das Geben fühlt sich sehr gut an: Ich halte es für ein großes Privileg. Ich weiß, dass mein Geld einen Unterschied macht.

lyrx Publishing: Die evangelische Kirche ist ja auch involviert. Was genau ist deren Rolle, und wo sind dabei die Grenzen und die Möglichkeiten?

Der Landgewinn war 2009. Februar 2011 hat St. Peter’s offiziell eröffnet. Bis Ende 2012 war ich schon einigermaßen verzweifelt, wie ich das Ganze wieder vom Hals kriegen könnte. Alles lief mit einer Hand voll Freunde über ein privates Sparbuch von mir. Ab Mitte 2013 war meine Kirchengemeinde bereit, Spenden über ihr Konto laufen zu lassen, so dass man jetzt auch steuerlich absetzbar spenden konnte, eine riesige Verbesserung. Es fanden sich Unterstützer in der AG Uganda zusammen, Besuche fanden statt.

lyrx Publishing: Geld, das ihr mit Mühe “herangeschafft” habt, könnte ja auch mal in dunklen Kanälen verschwinden. Uganda ist weit weg, und ews gibt dort bestimmt eine ganz andere Kultur und Mentilität. Wie geht ihr mit so etwas um?

Ja, das ist wahrscheinlich (abgesehen von totaler Ignoranz) der größte Grund für Menschen, nicht zu spenden.

Ich selber habe jetzt seit mehr als 20 Jahren das, was ich habe, geteilt, und am Anfang habe ich mich oft gefragt: Was, wenn der Schüler das Geld für etwas anderes nutzt? was, wenn ich betrogen werde? Wie kann ich das wissen?

Ich musste immer zugeben: Ich konnte es nicht sicher wissen.

Ich habe es andersherum versucht: Würden die Freunde mich unterstützen, wenn es zufällig andersherum wäre (ich in einem Land, in dem selbst die klügsten Kinder nur Kleinbauern werden können?)

Ich habe kein Kind unterstützt, wenn die Antwort “nein” war.

Ich habe mich auch gefragt: Was würde ich denn stattdessen mit dem Geld machen?

Ich habe mich immer für das Risiko entschieden, weil das Konsumieren mir nicht einmal halb so sinnvoll erschien.

Bildung zu finanzieren ist immer ein Investment in die Zukunft.