So the best kept secret in Fort Portal finally went viral and inevitably the effects were felt all over the place. Only those who were lucky enough to be there can explain the total standstill as the SSL invasion led by our senior citizens marched into town. Fort Portal being a peaceful place that it normally is, was for once a hive of activity as the unprecedented sight of so many old people marched for a good cause. In other words the whole town was totally captivated as the breathtaking revolution unravelled in front of the locals’ eyes.
Written by Simba Smp. The SSL revolution has arrived in town and fireworks are to be expected. You have been warned, so they say.. Forewarned is forearmed. It is all happening live in Fort Portal on the 15th June 2019 and it is going to be explosive. There are those who have already witnessed and/or experienced the trendsetting SSL charity’s revolution and cannot wait to come and celebrate the official launch. Then there are those who are simply sceptic about the whole idea or those who have never heard about this SSL thing. Well, the stage is now set and it is time to witness the facts from fiction.
Simil Senior Life (SSL), the charity that has been transforming the lives of senior citizens in Uganda since last year will be officially launching and fund raising on the 15th June 2019 at the Booma grounds in Fort Portal. Not only are we going to see stage performances by the old people and hear their testimonies but it will also probably be the largest ever gathering of old people in Fort Portal. It is going to be a fun-filled day full of enlightenment about old people’s welfare, fundraising, raffle to win genuine electronics from the UK and inspirational speeches from high class dignitaries. The icing of the cake will be live music performances by the multi award winning talent Eddy Kenzo and the inspirational cultural maestro Kigambo Araali.
As the hosts, SSL will also use this platform to enlighten attendees about the importance of African people investing in local causes, respecting African culture and the downside of over reliance on western aid. Generally, it is more progressive to invest in local causes as it not only benefit local communities (including old people), but also create local jobs. As a brand, SSL intends to create self-sustenance projects to survive without relying on handouts which can dry up at any time.
To enhance an uninterrupted happiness on the day, we have made sure there will be exciting food for sale, bbq, children play area and again the raffle to win exciting and genuine electronic prizes from the UK. And to add an extra incentive, attending this extra -ordinary event is free. Yes, FREE as in FREE, meaning you pay zero, zilch, busa in local language or nada in Portuguese! So there is no excuse, all you need to do is to turn up and benefit the wisdom from our senior citizens, take the opportunity to win a prize on the raffle, socialise with interesting people and watch live music from two top drawer local musicians. But indeed to help the cause, we will be accepting donations on the day. We will be grateful with whatever you can help as every little helps to add smiles to the older citizens. Any money donated will help run our centres, mostly to buy food and offer transport to those with financial and/or mobility issues. You will also have the opportunity to understand in detail how money raised by the charity is accounted for. With such a variety of interesting things to cater for everyone, it is surely an event not to be missed. And better still, by attending you would have done your part in supporting a great local cause. I for one will certainly be at the event of the year in Fort Portal. Lets join hands and do this!!
Simba Smp is the Managing Director. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Video: Simil Senior Life (SSL) conference at the Serena Hotel, Kampala..
Written by Simba Smp. As the unstoppable SSL charity empowerment train rattles forward, it is passing through uncharted territories and therefore new markers are being drawn. Just like a new train on a new track, it is bound to face teething problems but fortunately so far nothing has been strong enough to derail this celebrated train. As we approach our first year since opening our doors to the Ugandan elderly folk, we have seen progress and lots of smiles but no doubt the best is yet to come. Although we are yet to fully roll out our long-term plans, the reception and support for our charity to date has been overwhelming. In order to celebrate the journey so far, push the campaign message and share our vision, we are officially launching and fund raising on the 15th June 2019 at the Booma Grounds in Fort Portal. But let us take a brief look at the journey so far.
We started this empowerment journey by researching on the problems faced by elderly Ugandan people with a tour around the country and listening to their concerns first hand. From a fully informed point of view, we created a package for the charity based on the major concerns they had highlighted. We then opened our first centre in Karago, Fort Portal and remarkably we got oversubscribed by new members signing in within a week of opening. The immediate rush for our services not only confirmed that most senior citizens in Uganda are suffering silently but it also highlighted that perhaps the problem is bigger than what has been previously imagined. Those lucky enough to have signed up have enjoyed the SSL platform to socialize, share their problems, eat healthily, enjoy exercises that help to avert diseases such as dementia and also to generally get a respite from their personal problems. Literally speaking, SSL means happiness to them and they have been really appreciative and encouraged us not to stop. In the future we plan to do more in terms of making life easier for our senior citizens but for now, we will focus on establishing the template which has proved popular since first opening in June 2018.
Yes, there are many other charities in Uganda that donate to old people here and there but what differentiates us from others is that we go beyond simply donating by attending to the elderly as per their individual needs socially, physically and mentally. People seem not to realize that often, things start to go wrong for older people when they feel isolated. Some of our members have testified that before SSL came to their rescue, they would spend up to a week without talking to anyone, in some cases sleeping without eating and even failing to get up at times due to hunger and illness. Luckily SSL has come in with a register and we have regular follow ups for our registered members. Our members benefit from the fact that SSL initiatives are led by professional people who have genuine welfare experiences accumulated in various countries abroad. However, we at SSL acknowledge that we cannot solve this old people’s crisis alone so we welcome more players to join in. In other words, we are not driven by aggrandisement, so we call upon other interested parties to join forces with us for the good of Uganda’s senior citizens.
Above: Some of the pictures from the SSL Kampala pre-launch conference..
In line with our agenda of spreading the SSL message around the country, we recently held a pre-launch press conference in the capital Kampala in front of various media houses. The event was held at the Serena Hotel and was organized by Henhar Services Ltd under the tutelage of Harriet Sseremba. Henhar Services Ltd is one of our backers and no doubt the best event organisers in the country. We used the opportunity in front of the media to explain the model of our charity, the long-term plans and of course allowed the eager press to grill us. As expected, there were many questions from the journalists including on what measures we had in place to ensure we will succeed where a lot of charities have failed. Simples. SSL is a charity for the people, by the people to the people, meaning that everyone has a role to play and the secret is in working inclusively. Our Admin Director on the ground Edith Wamara then gave an insight on the successes and challenges so far. To further highlight our agenda the Project Director, Mildred Wamara emphasized that, “we are not here to give out money but rather mostly to help in physical and psychological matters”. Mildred who is also the linchpin in our health care strategies has vast experience in the health sector from her experience looking after old people and almost two decades as a nurse in the UK as well as a sprinkle of NGO nursing missions in Africa. At the end, The Managing Director Simba Smp wrapped up by emphasizing about the importance of giving back to the custodians of our history and reminding the relatively young attendees that everyone will get old at some point so it was important to help build structures that could also help them in the future.
Back to the hard work. Without fuss, without much pomp and fanfare, SSL are quietly moving mountains by changing people’s mind sets about how we treat our senior citizens. After operating just under a year, feedback from the community indicates that initial sceptics are turning into ardent SSL believers. There might still be others still yet to fully grasp the senior citizens’ welfare revolution but we believe the message will get tract soon. For now, we will take confidence from the old smiles we have observed from the beneficiaries themselves and the positive feedback from the community.
Finally, we are proud that the official launch date has been set and preparations are currently in full swing. We are urging those who genuinely care about old people, organizations that are willing to give back to the communities they serve and those in positions of influence to stop paying lip service to the old people’s crisis but to do something no matter how small and help make a difference. Indeed, the simplest way is by simply coming to support SSL’s official launch and fund raising on the 15th June 2019 at the Booma Grounds in Fort Portal, starting at 10am. The fun filled day will comprise of FUNDRAISING activities that includes a walk in Fort Portal by the senior citizens to highlight their plight, local organizations showcasing their products, the elderly people performing on stage and there will be a play area for the kids. We also have massive entertainment served by a line-up that includes some of Uganda’s heavy–weight artists. The show includes nationally recognized popular artists such as the inspirational Kigambo Araali who rose to fame with the song Ekirale and the energetic, man of the moment Eddy Kenzo who has wowed crowds around the world and put Uganda on the music world map.
Surely on the 15th June 2019, there is only one place to be to show your support of a good cause in Uganda. The money raised will help assure that the doors of our centres remain open and will definitely mean the world to our senior citizens, so let us make them feel deeply cherished. Besides, it is the event of the year in Fort Portal so don’t be left out!!
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TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!
By Simba Smp. Welcome to the first ever newsletter from our charity, the pioneering Simil Senior Life (SSL). First and foremost, we are proud to bring a complete revolution to the welfare of senior citizens in Uganda. Our main objective is to be the number one charity of its kind in Africa, so the hard work starts now. In a nut shell our mission is to bring smiles to the older generation in a variety of ways. In context we are there to care for the abandoned elders, provide respite to the homeless, combat loneliness, offer exercise classes, create a social platform to interact with other older people, supplement a healthy diet and generally help the custodians of our history to enjoy a life of their choice. Indeed, some may argue that talking is always easier than practice but there is reason to thwart those doubts. The remarkable progress we have achieved in a short space of time and the response from the communities where we operate certainly shows we are heading in the right direction.
Unlike in most western countries where there is a national support system for the vulnerable members of society, in Uganda none of that exist. That means an elderly person has to either be independently sufficient or have to rely on family support. But there are too many reasons why older people end up destitute, lonely and/or vulnerable. For example, it is common knowledge that a significant number of the population was affected by the AIDS pandemic of the 90’s and some current elder citizens lost children who could have been their breadwinners. In most cases these older people were left with the extra burden of looking after their orphaned grand-children which obviously brought an extra drain of finances. Another example which is common is of grown children moving on with their lives and abandoning their parents or grandparents to fend for themselves. Then there is the general poverty caused by not having any employment or savings from their youthful days. Too many reasons to mention.
Earlier this year, just before we opened our doors to the first beneficiaries of our scheme, we went on a countrywide research trying to establish the exact state of this crisis. Along the way we encountered too many disturbing stories from older citizens which should shame every one of us, or more particularly those who have deliberately abandoned their mothers or grandparents. The scope of the matter was wide, challenging and at times traumatising. We discovered disturbing situations faced by elders ranging from lack of accommodation, nowhere decent to sleep, abuse, no food for days, poor health with no care assistance and severe loneliness with some senior citizens spending weeks alone in the house without no one to talk to. This warranted an instant reaction to address the plight of our elders. Watch THE UGANDA RESEARCH
For starters we opened a centre in Karago, Fort Portal, for the elderly to meet-up, eat healthy food, interact, enjoy activities and share stories. The response to join was so overwhelming that within a couple of weeks we had to quickly add another centre. Not to mention that it was also quickly over-subscribed. We are now in the process of looking for other centres around the country as we slowly but surely embark on a mission to spread more centres around the country using this template.
Other than our official launch in June 2019, we do have other exciting programmes lined up which we are keeping under wraps for now. But to those senior citizens who are already lucky enough to be in the SSL family, they are in for a special treat this festive season. We are doing a special Christmas party for them as well as a catwalk event to spice it up and give them something to smile. Then deep in the year we are organising a massive launch event which will be spread over two days. We are planning to include a sponsored race to raise funds for the charity, entertainment from Ugandan household artists and an address by special envoys from the government. More updates coming soon.
Please help us in making a difference by donating, volunteering and supporting us.
Simil Senior Life
Simil Senior Life promotes the development of the older people in achieving a lasting physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as valued members of the community.