On 14 November 2008 Jaap Taal founded the Astrid Uganda Foundation in memory of Astrid Joosten, his wife who had passed away in July 2008. She was the first European tourist who had been infected with the deadly Marburg virus during a holiday in Uganda. It had been Astrid’s dream to improve the bad circumstances of the school children she had visited during this holiday.
The goal of the foundation is ‘Children of Uganda going to school together for a better future’. The Astrid Uganda Foundation makes a direct contribution to the education of children by taking care of the construction and equipment of schools. The foundation also supports both directly and indirectly the community in which these children live. The Astrid Uganda Foundation works closely together on this with existing local organizations such as ARDI and ASOD. The foundation focuses on Ugandan children who are former child soldiers, children and their parents/guardians who have been infected with HIV/Aids and vulnerable families from neglected areas.
Local partner organizations and projects
The first project that was supported by the foundation was the construction of the Green Valley Orphanage Centre & School in Bwera. It was here that Astrid Joosten met the orphans in 2008 whose living conditions she wanted to improve. Fred Obala who at the time was a project manager for the Service Centre International Contact Uganda (ICU) supervised the project and in December 2011 this school was opened.
In the Lira district the Astrid Uganda Foundation has found a collaboration partner in the organization called ARDI, which stands for Acoke Rural Development Initiatives, which is managed by the former child soldier Fred Obala. After monitoring the new construction of the Green Valley Orphanage Centre & School, Fred founded ARDI in 2004. It is an organization that takes care of former child soldiers and helps them to deal with their trauma. These young people receive a vocational training which will help them to take care of themselves and to return to a normal life within the Ugandan society. Project: in 2012 ARDI built, with the support of the Astrid Uganda Foundation, a Youth War Recovery vocational training and counselling centre where each year 200 pupils can attend a vocational training. The next steps will be, amongst others, equipping the building and increasing the capacity of ARDI itself.
In 2004 the Ugandan doctor John Tumwebaze founded the organization ASOD, which stands for Action to Support Orphans and Disadvantaged. John grew up in a poor family in the west of Uganda. Despite his background John had the chance to study and become a doctor. He wants other vulnerable young people to have that same opportunity, which is the reason he started ASOD. It is a place from which some 80 orphans and other vulnerable young people are supported in their education, health and social welfare. Project: In the disadvantaged area Kyebando (in Kampala) ASOD wants to establish a community centre for education, health care and social services. The centre will also offer an open house to vulnerable young people whom ASOD can support from its own revenue and through sponsoring.