Our visit got underway and it was as if we were passing through a complex labrynth of a place. The narrow ways full of rubbish and in the air there is a stink of urine
HIV, Aids, immune deficiency are all words which thankfully are no longer prevalent in the reality in which we ourselves live. They are illnesses which we only began to know about from the sixties.
However these terms are still very much apparent and in use in the slum of Kampala. We had the experience to see for ourselves the reality of the situation in the slum.
The security guard who accompanied us to the slum was able to show us what life there is all about…
Namuwongo is one of the biggest and most desperate slums in the whole of Uganda. 20,000 peope live here and they live in a put-together camp, surrounded by dirt, rubbish, and excrement.
The little water available for the inhaitants of Namuwongo comes from the drains of the city and it is for the most part contaminated. The poverty which one sees and feels in the air in thse places is alarming. 40% of the population earn an average of 250 Ugandian shillings a day, that is less than a Euro a day, and it is of course too little to guarantee any type of dignified existence. To this difficulty is added the fact that HIV is a great problem and touches levels of 20%, and this figure itself is on the increase. The women in this part of the world give birth to an average of 6 to 8 babies and a recent estimate had it that around 2,500 of those living in the slum are HIV positive.
Our visit got underway and it was as if we were passing through a complex labrynth of a place. The narrow ways full of rubbish and in the air there is a stink of urine. The people sat in front of their habitats stare at us and in the distance we can see crowds of young kids with bloated tummies, they dressed in an improvised manner and with bare feet but playing happily in the middle of a rubbish dump!
When they see us there goes up the cry of “Muzungu, Muzungu” (white man, white man) and in an instant they are upon us, these urban kids surrounding us and shouting out and touching us and above all smiling. I will never forget the image of that two year old child, totally nude, who took my hand and smiled up at me. It was the most undescribable emotion that I felt.
How is it possible that these young kids, infants for the most part, have to face up to such a cruel and horrile destiny? What have they done to deserve such? Deep in thought and reflection I was possessed by a sense of impotence and anguish. I couldn’t hande the moment. I needed to move on.
We began to seek out Ajani, a child of 6 years of age, who had volunteered to introduce us to her family. We found her near a waste heap playing football with her friends. She soon came across to us and greeted us in the traditional way of the locals - “Wasuteotya”! She a smiling child, carefree and with a full life ahead of her. Unfortunately, and as so often happens in this part of the world, any euphoria and joy are shortlived. Our guide was quick to inform us that Ajani is HIV positive but as yet does not know it. How is all this possible? Why is it that a child of six has to put up with all this? How shall we tell her of her fate? Who is going to take the responsibility to inform her? How will she react?
Piccolo Ajani… sei positivo all’HIV!
Michil, thanks to him, the foundation project has been born. In 2007, together with his family, he brought the foundation to life and made its work possible. His commitment is great, he has got to know the Tibetan people, he has approached its thoughts. Michil’s contribution is of unexhausted creativity.
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Francesco Ricci is from Modena, since years he is active in company and social communication. To the foundation he offers his time and his words, rich on honesty and joy for life.
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Lisa follows our donators with attention. She screens all the donations with precision, before they arrive entire and untouched to the ones in need. In 2012 Lisa, together with Stefan and Paolo, has been to Togo visiting sister Patrizia and Maristella. There she has lived the sustained children’s smile.
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Pio took a big commitment: he'll help Elide in controlling the numbers that turn around the Foundation. Budget, funding, revenues, loans are all figures important figures that have to be monitored regularly. Pio is that good, that he's also involved in writing down the annual report of the projects we endorse in Uganda.
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Andy is an adventurer. Six months spent in India alone, several trips in far lands have formed him. He likes jokes and has always one ready for you. At the back-office of the Hotel La Perla Andy and Fabian are the perfect duo. At the end of October 2016, he has been to Uganda for the inspection of the projects. His critical spirit and enthusiasm, have brought home the will to improve and help even further.
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Hannington Kakembo is the founder of the Ssezibwa Demonstration Farm in Mukono, Uganda. He follows his project, by the community for the community, with great commitment and passion, but most of all with transparency and efficiency.
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In 2011 sister Patrizia has got here by chance, she was sent by the Providence to enrich our souls with tales of life. Together with Maristella, in Togo since thirty years already, she follows the school project there. When she happens to be in Italy though, she always finds the time to pop by to say hello.
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Lobsang Tsomo is project manager at the Tibetan Children’s Village in India. She is Tibetan, escaped from his oppressed homeland looking for freedom of expression and life. Thanks to her, the distance between here and the Tibetan people exiled in India, is less huge and richer on possibilities.
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When one is good at so many different things it is likely that one will be involved in organizing, arranging, planning and more. That's the case of Nicolò. For our foundation he is in in charge of fund raising events: if there is a meeting, an evening or a dinner to organize as it should be, he knows how.
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Joe follows the foundation since its birth in 2007. She is the mother hand which guides us gently and with great sensibility. Her advices are precious, her look honest. Twice she has been to India visiting our projects. She is responsible of the foundations press office and communication.
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Davide is project coordinator of ISP… in Africa. In Uganda since always, he has lived the tragic years of guerrilla, revolutions, Kalashnikov and hunger side by side with the locals. His efficiency is reassuring. He lives in Kampala with Giulia, his wife and little Leonardo, the second one is on his way.
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Merch follows the practical and less practical aspects, like bureaucracy, organization, fund raising. He is a tireless resource of ideas and like magic, from small thoughts, he gives birth to great projects. From his trips to India and Uganda, he has come back richer. Richer on thoughts.
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Elide is responsible for the Costa Family Foundation o.n.l.u.s. since 2011. She is silent, her eyes are sprightly, her attitude sweet. But don’t get fooled: she is very determined and admonishes us when the work is not properly done. Elide doesn’t like to appear, but as nobody else she manages to move the public.
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Ludwig is the foundation’s auditor. Our actions pass through his attentive control. He follows us with enthusiasm and commitment not only for the accounting aspects. He concretizes our ideas, our projects, our activity in numbers.
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Manuel takes care of the dialogue with the Tibetan Children’s Village. He follows our Tibetan projects. During his trips to India, he has got to know the children of the Tibetan peoples in exile developing a strong and honest relationship to them. When not on the road, he is the creative director of our meetings.
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His happiness is contagious, his advices precious. Daniele is managing the fund raising at Insieme si può… but his commitment goes well beyond. Together with him and Piergiorgio, in 2012 we have started our two green projects in Uganda. Daniele is a honest hand to hold in moments of necessity.
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Brigitte von Imhof
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Born in Munich, for many years Brigitte has been chef-reporter for the travel magazine “abenteuer und reisen”. During a work trip to Alaska, she got to know his husband Chris, who “at the end of the world” has created the biggest ski-resort. Now she works as a free journalist between these two worlds.
Alessandro is project coordinator for ISP… in Africa for Karamoja. He follows the projects directly, and makes them blossom. But his main strength, is listening to the local community, translate their needs and make possibilities out of them. He lives in Moroto with his karimojong wife Florence and the two children.
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Francesco De Pasquale
Francesco is development director at ISP in Karamoja and he is our person in place to follow the school projects with accuracy and great commitment. His joie de vivre and passion for what he does, is contagious even through email.
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