The Butterfly Project
Helping develop a generation of social entrepreneurs in rural Uganda
The Butterfly Project is part of Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network, a charitable organisation operating in Uganda to support the development of young social entrepreneurs living in remote rural and disadvantaged slum districts.
FunTech has been working with this project since 2012 and we are delighted to be able to partner with this worthy cause that is having such a positive impact on young people living in very challenging circumstances.
“I feel what we have been doing with FunTech is a glimpse into the future, where people with skills can teach children in countries where education is significantly under-resourced, giving opportunities to nurture the global talents of the next century,” says Ben Parkinson, Director of The Butterfly Project. “By nurturing these children, we are also helping to develop the economies of these countries, as well as feeding the worldwide need for experts in computer coding, so FunTech has a unique part to play, with their expertise in coding.”
FunTech’s involvement started with a simple project supplying FunTyper licences so that the young people on the programme could begin to benefit from typing lessons. We followed this up by supplying technical equipment including computers so that more young people could gain access to the training and then increased our support by delivering the same virtual classes that we do in the UK, on a whole range of IT topics. We have also sponsored some of the children on the programme to enable them to attend other educational activities and widen their learning experience.
“Our focus with FunTech has been to have three specific courses,” says Parkinson. “The first is to teach basic computer skills and assess the aptitude of the children we work with. The second is to teach graphic design to those already with known artistic skills. Thirdly, for those who already have ICT experience, FunTech have been teaching coding skills such as Visual Basic, Java and C+++.”
In time it is hoped that the project can spread into village areas, where developing income streams will greatly increase the quality of the lives of children and adults living there. If children can learn to write apps, then they will earn money to spend on local services and products and this money will circulate. The children that have been taught so far, because they have suffered in poverty, are the first to realise the importance of this strategy.
The latest phase of our work with The Butterfly Project has involved helping to fund a borehole that has enabled local people to gain access to a reliable supply of clean, fresh water. This initiative has transformed the lives of hundreds of village children who no longer need to walk or cycle several miles to collect fresh, safe water. We also sent out a supply of aluminium water bottles for Christmas.
With a project like this, things never stand still, and there is always progress to be made. We look forward to supporting The Butterfly Project in a variety of new ways in the future.
“I want to thank FunTech for their vision with the project and their patience with the children, especially when lack of electricity, poor quality internet and school priorities have created challenges for its development,” says Parkinson. “Now that the internet has become much more stable and of a higher bandwidth, then I can see even faster improvements than we have seen previously, where all of our original children in the group now teach others, as teachers themselves.”