Our story begins in 2013 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This is where we met back then. We both decided to do a semester abroad at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University during our bachelor studies. On the first evening we met in our student accommodation and were directly on the same wavelength! We spent the entire semester together: studying, partying and traveling through South Africa and Lesotho. Especially in Lesotho we were confronted with enormous lack of perspective and especially inequality of opportunity. But during this time we became really good friends.
We both specialized in the third sector (NGOs) from our bachelor’s degree in political science to our master’s degree and finally we both ended up in Cologne.
As part of her studies in Sustainable Development Management, Charlotte travelled to Uganda in November 2017 for her research project. The goal of her research was to find out what future prospects young people have in Uganda, especially in a rural, poverty-stricken area like Bukedea District.
Through the organization Glocal LifeLearn e.V., which had already established a sponsorship program with Lifeline schools in Bukedea District, she was able to interview secondary school students. During her stay, she also came into contact with Solomon, the founder of the organization BUYOPA and its project Bukedea Vocational Skills Training Centre (BVC), and was allowed to meet the young people who are undergoing training there. She quickly noticed how enthusiastic and committed the young adults there are to their training. Most of the students had already had to drop out of formal schooling after elementary school or at the beginning of secondary school. There are many reasons for this, often difficult family circumstances and poverty.
For the young people, BVC is a second chance, as they can learn a practical trade there, which gives them the opportunity to build a self-determined life outside poverty in the future.
Through many conversations with the young people as well as with Solomon, the director of BVC, and the head of a Dutch organization Youganda, Albert Koffeman, she developed the goal of establishing a sponsorship program for the young people who, due to their difficult living situations, cannot pay for their school fees themselves.
Back in Germany, she first told the members of Glocal LifeLearn e.V. about her idea. Since Glocal LifeLearn sees itself as a platform that enables its members to realize their own projects, she immediately received great support and encouragement.
Back in Cologne, Theresa heard about the sponsorship program and was enthusiastic about the idea, she was directly on board! Together we pushed the project forward and built it up. Today we are very proud and happy about the result!