ROME: Ritah Aliguma was one of 30 young reporters to participate in the first AIPS Young Reporters Programme held in collaboration with FISU during the 2011 Summer Universiade, which was held in Shenzhen, China. That her first international experience proved to be pivotal in her career and life trajectory. “I'm very happy that a lot has come out of me just because of the experience that I got from the Shenzhen Universiade,” Aliguma said during the 84th AIPS Congress in Rome, where she took the stage for some minutes to speak about her five-year old project aimed at tackling poverty in the slums of Uganda.
Keynote Address: Aliguma Foundation CEO Ritah Aliguma speaking at the 84th AIPS Congress in Rome. (Photo Carlo Pozzoni/AIPS Media)
ALIGUMA FOUNDATION The Aliguma Foundation, established in 2017, is using sports to transform lives in the slums of Uganda, especially Acholi Quarters, with great help from organisations like the UEFA Foundation for Children. In a touching video presentation which gave an outline of the activities the Aliguma Foundation engages in, Urs Kluser, General Secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children lauded the initiatives of the Aliguma Foundation, saying: “We really appreciate the work that the Aliguma Foundation is doing and we hope that we can continue our partnership for many years to come.”
Good Works Recognition: Ritah Aliguma shows of the award she received at the 84th AIPS Congress in Rome two months ago in recognition for the foundation's works in transforming communities through sports and enterprise. (Photo Carlo Pozzoni/AIPS Media) GIRL CHILD The NGO organises a Slum Soccer Tournament, embarks on schools outreach and runs a girl-child protection campaign called “Ndi Mwana”. “We've reached out to different communities, we've reached out at least 500 girls and women in our country. Not leaving out the boy child. The girl child campaign started with a young girl we found at one of slum soccer tournament finals, who had been sexually abused by an uncle several times. So we started the girl child campaign and it's been running. We target to reach out to at least 2 million girls and women in Uganda,” Aliguma explained.
The Big Dream: The Aliguma Foundation has already broken ground in Masindi for the Empowerment Centre with work on the playing fields in the initial stages. (Courtesy Aliguma Foundation/Media Department)
EMPOWERMENT CENTRE Meanwhile funds are being raised to build a Sports and Empowerment Centre where kids and women can play sports and learn income-generating skills. Aliguma also spoke about “a very good exchange programme” that her foundation was recently involved in, which gave two Ugandan girls a brilliant opportunity to participate in a life-changing summer camp in the USA. “In 2011, when I was selected to represent Uganda in the AIPS Young Reporters Programme, itt was my first international trip and my mother, my father and I think my entire community escorted me to the airport. Now imagine some of the kids who come from such areas as the slums, how important it would be for them, especially with the exchange programmes that we will continue have. Imagine how their lives would change. If my life changed can't other lives change?”
Game Changer: Sports, especially football, has made a telling difference for many children; boys and girls from underprivileged communities. (Courtesy Aliguma Foundation/Media Department) BIG DREAM She concluded by calling on individuals and organisations to “become a part of this big dream” of changing lives in different communities in Uganda and help raise funds for the second phase of the Empowerment Centre. Visit www.aligumafoundation.org to find out more.
Originally published by Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam - AIPS Media - October 28, 2022