“I am the future”, or “AmFuture” for short, is the name of a very special group of young people I’ve had the privilege to become friends with and lead over the last nine months.
I first got involved with them when a friend asked me to come along with my guitar one Saturday afternoon. After that first meeting, I was hooked. Hooked by their vibrancy and passion; their selflessness and generosity; and their sheer tenacity and overwhelming positivity. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to get them out of my head for a single day, for the whole of the last 3 weeks I’ve been in the UK.
When asked to speak at my church last Sunday, I couldn’t help but focus it on AmFuture. For me, they sum up a lot about my experience in Uganda, whether it be friendships, youth culture, Christianity or anything really.
So what exactly is AmFuture? And why is it so special?
Well, Uganda has the world’s largest percentage of young people under the age of 30 – 78% and a large proportion of these young people are uneducated and unemployed. In fact, Uganda has the highest youth unemployment in the whole of Africa.
Since March 2013, AmFuture has been meeting once a week in one of the leader’s homes to share stories, sing together and hear the word of God. Beginning with around 20 people, the group has now grown to over 50 regular members.
AmFuture inspires, encourages and nurtures its members to believe that they are the future of Uganda, and that they have the potential to make positive changes towards their country, families and in their own lives.
Specifically, we believe that every person that attends AmFuture is special (especially to God), and that they have their own talent and something to offer. Our vision is to see young people making positive changes and believing that they can ‘pursue their dreams’ by offering them words of encouragement, a listening ear and a safe place to attend.
So what happens at AmFuture?
Every Saturday afternoon we meet as a group at one of the leader’s homes. It’s a time for our members to hang out, listen to and play music, share food and talk, pray together and reflect on a topic introduced by one of the leaders (often this involves a bible study).
Lately, we have also been running regular movie nights and on a few occasions have taken some of the members to visit other youth groups and fellowships.
Songs learnt as a group have also been sung by some of the young people at church services within the community.
Why is it so important?
A lot of AmFuture members lead difficult lives, with family problems and youth unemployment affecting every single one of them. As a result, AmFuture doesn’t just serve a social purpose, but a family one too. AmFuture is there for the young people in a way that a lot of friends and family aren’t, and members support each other unquestionably and to the full. Already, a number of individuals have been given the courage and guidance to turn their lives around, and it’s an amazing thing to witness.
In 2015, AmFuture’s vision is to help tackle youth unemployment amongst its members, by establishing projects such as a piggery, as well as providing funding and support for the young people to start up their own enterprises and businesses, using their personal talents and skills.
We would also love to purchase some musical equipment so that some of the members can grow their singing talent and perform in the wider community. In time, we believe that this group could find paid bookings at functions, restaurants and hotels in Kampala, resulting in funding for AmFuture and the young people themselves.
To help AmFuture achieve its vision, please consider supporting one of our projects. Any contribution is very welcome and we will be sure to keep you updated on our progress.
(a) Donation towards the running of AmFuture –
Help us to cover the cost of weekly meetings and additional events over the next year.
(b) Sponsorship of an individual to start a business (e.g. arts & crafts, tailoring, farming) –
£25 is enough to help an individual with a talent or idea to start a business. Closely monitored and guided by the leaders of AmFuture, these enterprises will not only teach them valuable skills such as book-keeping and management, but also provide a vital income for them and their families.
(c) Donation towards the AmFuture piggery –
Support our 2015 project by sponsoring a piglet! Starting with 4, we will slowly expand our piggery under the watchful eye of two of our young people with farming experience. The profits generated will go to those working on the project and AmFuture itself.
Each piglet costs £25 but all contributions are very welcome!
For any more information on AmFuture, please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or go and check out the AmFuture facebook page – just click here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amfuture/476703619089133?hc_location=timeline
Thanks for reading!!