Paradise Eco-Hub Foundation
Before the start of the Paradise Eco-Hub Foundation located at Itambira Island in Lake Bunyonyi in South-Western Uganda ten years ago, communities around Lake Bunyonyi were becoming poor and poorer when outsiders would come, buy their land, invest and become richer and richer.
Having been born in 1952 in a polygamous family, getting also basic things was very difficult for Rev. Captain Wilson Byarugaba in his mother’s family. His father having many wives (six of them) and his mother being the first wife with eight children were neglected by him; they had it very rough and tough in making two ends meet as the day succeeded another. Leaving others alone, it had been a struggle in his upbringing and if it had not been through the support of the humanitarian/compassionate people, the story would have been very different and he would not be the person he is today.
He has been supported in all his educational endeavours even by the persons he has never known or seen up to today, as for example when he went for his graduate studies in the Middle East studying at Near East School Of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon for five years from 1988-1993, during the war. Hard times when life was uncertain. He was fully sponsored by someone who never wanted his/her name to be revealed to him. It has remained a mystery to him up today.
“There is cause and reason if not a calling for us from the divine to reciprocate the same passion to someone else especially the young generation. That was the start of my journey towards empowering my family members and other good-hearted members of the community to support vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community. I have started from the youth who have a very bigger mandate to transform the society into a better sustaining future with hands-on practical skills and experiences in various fields for self-independence and community sustainability.”
Each of the strata was asked of the entrepreneurship initiatives they could do better in their social groups that could raise their livelihoods and boost their savings and investment capacity in harmony with nature.
Several suggestions including Credit and Savings Cooperative Society was formed for the youth, women and the elderly; skills training for the youths and women especially in handicrafts that would capture the existing market of the tourists, transportation of children to their Island schools to promote literacy, feeding children at school to avoid dropouts and malnutrition, income generating projects like beekeeping and home-based ecotourism and all were initiated and are being implemented for community good.
Paradise Eco-Hub works with social groups of people in the community for improved livelihoods and environmental sustainability.Paradise Eco-Hub Foundation generates the income from well-wishers and tourists that book and use her facilities that include accommodation, canoes hire, boat transport, the sale of art and crafts, meals and drinks among others. 75% of all the revenues from these goods and services go back to support the initiatives of the social groups in the community. The project mobilized and organized community members into strata, namely youth, women, children and the elderly.
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