Edward Butimba, a former drug abuser through his different projects, has transformed the lives of vulnerable people in Kamwokya, a Kampala city suburb.
Butimba who is a CEO of Creative Arts 256, a Community Based Organization based in Kisenyi 2 Kamwokya that identifies and helps vulnerable people especially youth and children, says he quit drugs and alcohol when he realized they had started affecting his health. Having grown up in Kamwokya a ghetto area, he realized that many people were vulnerable and needed help.
He says as a Community Based Organization, they target children, adolescent girls especially school drop outs and single parents. With children, Butimba says they are so much in sports for development via different sports like football, netball and others where they identify talented children and help them develop their talents.
“In adolescent girls, we aim at skills development and we train children in our training center known as CHUSA School of beauty, where we equip them with hair dressing skills. Also, children with disabilities are also trained in different income generating activities depending on their level of disabilities, which has helped over 20 Children with disabilities-CWDs to get skills and be helpful in their families,” Butimba explained.
For single parents, they help them get loans to help them start up their business to be able to help their families and that money is returned at no charges in future. CHUSA is a Luganda word which means change.
At the beginning of 2020, with the help from Rotary club of Najjera, Butimba opened up a community library in Kamwokya to help children access reading materials during the lock-down, where every child has been redundant in the communities. This attracts over 30 children daily who spend their time reading, with the help of the library attendant.
Butimba who was once a musician is also known as coach Rector. He hopes that with time, CHUSA library shall birth a kindergarten school to render more learning services to children in the community. So far, the library has religious books, plays and other books that attract children.
Asia Aseru, a teacher from Happy Honey academy who helps children read books says when she opens the library in the morning, parents start sending children and this has helped them remain relevant in the community.
Sources of Income
Butimba told this Publication that creative arts 256 gets money from well-wishers to contribute generously towards the cause and sometimes they are helped by member contributions. Butimba works with other members who contribute whenever the need arises.
Kamwokya being a slum area, many children are fond of engaging into dubious acts like taking alcohol, loitering among others.
Beneficiaries speak out
Rona Leticia Nabbosa, , one of the beneficiaries of CHUSA beauty salon who graduated on 13th December last year appreciates the services by creative arts 256, saying this is a blessing because many vulnerable girls have skills and they are able to earn a living.
Nabbosa, who is a form two student of Luweero Progressive School, says she desires to be a lawyer but before that, hair dressing skills will be helping her to earn money until she becomes a lawyer. The course (hair dressing) took 6-7 months and each student contributed about shillings 100,000 for learning materials willingly.
Rita Nantongo, a mother of two children who have benefited from some of the projects at creative art 256 expresses how her children have benefited so much. ‘’My children have learnt how to read books, the youngest boy joined the library when he did not know how to write, he can now read and write, this is a great contribution towards this community” Nantongo, a parent narrates.
Peter Kirumira who has spent two years in the CHUSA football team told this reporter that he has benefited now that he is one of the good players in the team. He says, if it was not CHUSA, he would be a bad boy drinking Marijuana in the community. He is a senior one student of Kololo high school.
“CHUSA has helped me a lot and saved me from getting spoilt. I see myself as a great footballer in this country in the future.” Kirumira, a footballer in CHUSA football club noted.
On 13th December 2020, Creative Arts graduated over 25 students who had completed their courses in different trainings like hairdressing, art crafts, soap making, sewing among others.