The idea of helping the elderly is exactly what I am trying to do. I am in the advanced stages of setting up a Lango Benevolent Pensions Fund whose primary purpose will be assist to all of the elderly of Lango, beginning initially with the 70+, widows and widowers and those with dependents under 16. The idea is to give them a basic monthly pension, just like here in the UK, say £50 per month. This pension would be means-tested, ie eligibility would be based on verified income and other means of support. The second aspect of the Fund would concentrate on addressing basic poverty issues, for eg I am going to set up a food bank at suitable locations through-out Lango where elderly people can come and collect food parcels, attend mobile clinics and collect simple medications and clothing or have their homes repaired or re-built. Lastly the Fund will help the elderly with small interest loans to set up viable small cooperative scale businesses.
I have been selling this idea now for at least 2 years and so far I have raised over £250,000 in commitment but I need a starting capital of at least £500,000. My estimate is that about 100,000 Elders will initially qualify. From an organisation I worked with in the Philippines recently when the Tsunami struck destroying most homes, I have learnt a lot how to mobilise funds for people who have been struck by disaster or those facing imminent emergency..Most of the Filipino Tsunami victims have now had new homes built for them, I have made contact with at least three organisations who helped the Filipinos and all of them have told me to let them know when I am ready, and they guarantee they will build these homes in less than 6 months. The obstacle I am having is the same as yours, in that, I can not build each elder his own house in his or her compound as this will sky-rocket the cost. They would have to agree to live in small sheltered units of say 30-50 homes, not in single self-contained bungalows. This would also make it easier for facilities like water, electricity, sanitation etc to be connected.
But for the project to succeed needs me to be there personally, but my commitment in the UK still does not allow me to stay in Uganda for much longer than two weeks at a time. This is a relatively simple project, but it needs a team of very dedicated and honest managers to make it work.
I know the elders have suffered more than any other age group under the fascist regime of Yoweri Museveni Kaguta. I am not going to allow their suffering to continue for much longer if I can help it.
I am also working with the Dokolo Catholic Diocese to build a Community Technical School for 150 school drop-outs. This is completely private. I have not spoken about it here because it would have been premature. Right now as we speak, the buildings are going up. I am building the school in memory of my late father. The latest Collection I sent to them was a £50,000 donation from the Catholic Churches of England and Wales. Your Nubian nitwit who resides at Wellesley Avenue thinks all I do in London is drink beer. He does not realise the extent of my commitment to humanitarian causes in my homeland and elsewhere in the world.
GEORGE OKELLO VIA THE UAH FORUM