ACO-Africa is a non-governmental organization with the purpose of breaking the cycle of poverty by providing loving support and care for the poorest and most vulnerable community members – especially children and women living with HIV, laying an emphasis on education, health, psychosocial care, economic empowerment, nutrition, and human rights. Our education initiatives support children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in communities to continue with education at different levels, especially girls, who have been deprived of education due to social perceptions and economic hardships. Education is crucial to ending the cycle of poverty, ACO Africa and communities work together to identify and help these poor girls reach their full potential. ACO-Africa believes that their achievements will inspire many more girls to pursue higher education in the future. This should not be a rarity, but a necessity.
With support from the Arthur B. Schultz Foundation, ACO-Africa will educate girls through their Advancing Girls’ Education Project, focusing specifically on AIDS orphans in secondary and post-secondary education. The project will support students who will in turn, volunteer in their own communities and participate in mentorship and internship programs.
ADISA Santiago, Guatemala – new 2019 partner
ADISA is an organization in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, committed to assisting, defending, and furthering the rights of people with disabilities. Founded in 1998, as a result of the experiences of Francisco Sojuel and Argentina Figueroa, parents to a daughter with a disability, ADISA takes an inclusive, community-based approach to development. Through its healthcare, education, and social and economic empowerment programs, ADISA envisions an outcome where persons with disabilities and the community are brought together on an equal basis.
Bulogo Women’s Group – Uganda
Bulogo Women’s Group (BWG) was started in 2005 by rural women of the Kamuli district to equip girls and women with education, tools and skills to access development opportunities and become agents of change within their communities.
The Arthur B. Schultz Foundation partnership will allow BWG to expand their entrepreneurship training program to 300 women in the Kamuli district. This business program is aimed at providing smart and savvy women living in extreme poverty with an entrepreneurship training that gives them the skills and confidence to transform their lives through the creation of a self-sustaining business. Each of the women will start a small-scale business after four months of training. They will continue to receive mentoring and support from the business coaches to ensure success well into the future.
Child Support Tanzania – Tanzania – new 2019 partner
Child Support Tanzania promotes and raises awareness of the rights of under privileged and young people with disabilities to facilitate access to quality inclusive education.
The Arthur B. Schultz Foundation supports a project providing appropriate wheelchairs to children and preparing schools with ramps and accessible toilet facilities.
Cielo de Amor – Nicaragua – current partner
Cielo de Amor is a small organization providing high quality, long-term, intensive services not previously available in the rural region of La Concepción. They serve all ages, including infants, children, teens and young adults. Their comprehensive services include education, physical therapy, wheelchairs and vocational training, in the classroom, community and home. They make a long-term commitment to individual clients, their families, local staff, and the community. They invest in high levels of collaboration among clients, families, staff, professional volunteers and local agencies. For example, family members participate in every therapy session and class, and learn to care for equipment.
All funding goes directly to staffing and services in Nicaragua: their executive director, visiting therapists, and board all volunteer their time, and most equipment is donated. They have worked closely with other ABSF partners such at Global Mobility and Futuro de Nicaragua.
With the support of ABSF funds, Cielo de Amor will expand and operate a wheelchair distribution, repair and exchange center. They will fit and distribute at least 50 new chairs and offer follow-up exchange, adjustment and repair services to 180+ previous clients. Funds will also provide rent for their workshop and warehouse, salaries for a technician, physical therapist and administrative assistant, transportation for staff and equipment, and materials.
Creative Action Institute – East Africa – current partner
Creative Action Institute (CAI) works at the intersection of creativity and social change. They build the capacity of leaders and organizations for innovation, collaboration and resilience to advance conservation, health and human rights globally.
ABSF supports the East African Girls Leadership Summit (EAGLS), which convenes 16 mentors and 35 girls from 4 countries annually. The first part of the summit is a 4-day training for mentors, to build their creative facilitation skills, after which they co-facilitate the 5-day girls’ leadership component that builds the girls’ leadership and advocacy skills. In addition to the training, the mentors receive ongoing coaching and support from CAI to implement locally designed creative social actions with girls. The mentors receive 2 years of support from CAI, as they work with girls representing 11 organizations from 4 East African Countries.
Girls to Lead Africa – Uganda – new 2019 partner
In a bid to increase the number of leaders who consider leadership to be about the next generation and not just the next election, Girls Lead Africa was founded. We believe that a change in the view of the role of leadership right from school where leadership training begins, will solve the leadership crisis Africa faces. Girls to Lead Africa, is nurturing a breed of women leaders who can innovate lasting solutions to disease, poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, war, and injustice. Starting at the level where leadership training begins- school.
Girl Up Initiative Uganda– Kampala, Uganda
GUIU provides young women and girls with opportunities to succeed and thrive as leaders in their slum communities through holistic education and economic empowerment. The organization was formed in 2012 to respond to the unmet need to advance educational and economic opportunities for young women and adolescent girls in under-served peri-urban slum areas of Kampala. Multiple and cross-cutting barriers to gender equity in schools, homes, and communities persist in these communities and lead to risky situations for survival, such as early marriage and pregnancy. In turn, the consequences of these actions include gender based violence, contraction of STIs/HIV, dropping out of school, and drug abuse. GUIU’s response to these issues use local solutions in a human-centered approach.
ABSF’s partnership supports the Sewing Our Futures Project, which utilizes a blend of interventions: vocational training, entrepreneurship development and mentorship, and personal skills training.
Gracia – Jalapa, Guatemala – current partner
Gracia works at the Casa Hogar (the Home), a home for 110 abused, abandoned and indigent girls, ages 3-21y, in Jalapa, Guatemala. Under its umbrella, Gracia directs its Gracia Entrepreneur Training Program (G.E.T.), and its social enterprise, Milagros. Combined, they provide the opportunities and resources needed to actualize economic empowerment: G.E.T. provides the curriculum and opportunity to develop self-confidence and agency; the girls earn income through sale of Milagros’ products. In the Milagros Workshop, young women learn to design, manufacture and export Milagros handcrafted jewelry. Together, they problem solve, communicate, and develop leadership capacity. G.E.T. provides a theoretical framework for learning; the Milagros Workshop is its lab application. Gracia facilitates business development, and expedites economic opportunity by linking Milagros products to retailers in the US and Guatemala. Rent for the Milagros Workshop is paid to the Casa Hogar benefitting all living at the Home, not only those in Gracia’s program.
With the support of ABSF funding, Gracia will train young women in their 3 year G.E.T. program.
Gulu Disabled Persons Union – Gulu, Uganda
GDPU acts as a collective voice for persons with disabilities in the northern Ugandan district of Gulu. Active since 1979, GDPU has worked on various projects and programs to advocate for increased participation and recognition of persons with disabilities.
Jifundishe – rural Northern Tanzania
Jifundishe is a small Tanzanian nonprofit that believes in creating change for the community, especially for youth and women, through collaboration, capacity building, and both formal and informal educational opportunities.
ABSF’s partnership supports female participants in the Independent Study (IS) program, which provides a nontraditional path towards completion of the Tanzanian Form 1-6 curriculum. Traditional students will finish the curriculum in 6 years and the IS program gives students the opportunity to complete the program in 2-4 years. Resources for the program include a teacher-supported class schedule with all relevant school books, practice tests and lab materials, solar lanters (for study at home), workshops, excursions, and exam fees. The women in the program also receive menstrual pads, transportation, additional English tutoring, mentorship, and a unique speaker series.
Katalemwa Cheshire House – Kampala, Uganda
KCH is a disability focused NGO that provides comprehensive rehabilitative services to children and young persons with disabilities. Their community based approach is focused on empowering children and youth with disabilities and their families/communities to participate in the rehabilitation process and advocate for their rights and participation in their community.
In addition to rehabilitation and advocacy, KCH also offers livelihood support to the families of children with disabilities to help address the underlying causes and challenges of disability and poverty. Each year, KCH supports over 500 children and their families with assistive devices and general support. ABSF’s partnership supports wheelchair, prosthetic, and other mobility device production and distribution.
Kibera Girls Soccer Academy – Kibera, Kenya – current partner
Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) is a community-based organization that provides free education, artistic programming, and athletic opportunities to over 120 girls annually, who live in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Through active participation in education, the arts, and athletics, students will have the opportunity to develop a stronger confidence in their minds, bodies, and spirits – empowering them to become inspiring leaders in their own communities and country, as they advocate for a brighter Kibera and Kenya.
Komera – Rwanda – current partner
In Rwanda, Komera means “be strong, have courage.” Komera builds self-confident young women through education, community and sport. ABSF funding helped Komera launch their Post-Secondary Transition Program (PSTP) in 2015, to provide recent Komera graduates with an opportunity to improve their English and computer skills, apply to university and jobs, and learn entrepreneurship skills.
Northern Kenya Fund – current partner
The Northern Kenya Fund (NKF) provides scholarships to secondary (high school) and university level students from the Marsabit District in northern Kenya. Utilizing the gift of education and in turn the power of knowledge, NKF aims to help curb poverty in the Marsabit District. Since 2004, NKF has supported over 600 students in secondary school and 5 college graduates. NKF emphasizes the funding of female students because it believes that poverty and social injustice can best be reduced and eventually eliminated through knowledge.
NKF has partnered with ABSF since 2011. ABSF is supporting 10 girls through secondary school at the North Horr Secondary School, has sponsored 4 students all the way through university and provided our university level scholars with laptop computers. In addition, ABSF provides NKF with strategic advice and has connected us with valuable leaders in the nonprofit arena.
Street Business School – Uganda – current partner
Street Business School by BeadforLife (SBS) first partnered with ABSF in 2017. ABSF believes in SBS’ mission to empower women living in poverty through economic development, education and confidence development. These women become entrepreneurs and increase their income an average of 211%. For those living on less than $0.65 per day, they are experiencing a 15x increase in income. This is transformational change that impacts the lives of their children, affording their education, meals and safe housing. SBS is growing to reach more women through entrepreneurial education. We are proud to be a part of this global expansion to ignite the potential in 1 million women by 2027
The Action Foundation – Kibera, Kenya – current partner
TAF is a youth led, grassroots organization in Kibera slum that has been instrumental in improving the health of children with disabilities and supporting them to achieve their maximum potential. ABSF supports multiple mobility related initiatives, including mobility devices, home and school assessments, assistive technologies in schools, and a therapy program in the schools.
Transitions – Guatemala – current partner
Transitions advocates for the rights and social inclusion of Guatemalans with disabilities by providing mobility equipment, access to social development programs and opportunities for independent living that promote human dignity. They are a disabled people’s organization, created nearly 20 years ago by a small group of young people who needed (a) wheelchairs and (b) employment. The group received training at Whirlwind and San Francisco State University. Today their programs include wheelchair production, prosthetics and orthotics, special education, wheelchair basketball, and a print shop. Over 75% of Transitions Foundation employees are Guatemalans living with disabilities, and are thus able to provide expert advice, rehabilitation, and counseling to the people served.
With support from the Arthur B. Schultz Foundation Transitions Foundation will produce in their new factory and training center all-terrain wheelchairs, made-to-measure for adults and children with severe mobility impairments resulting from spinal cord injuries, congenital conditions and a range of other causes. In addition to the wheelchairs, they will provide training for the users and their family members in how to care for their new wheelchairs, how to use them most effectively and efficiently in Guatemala’s difficult terrain, how to find information and services to support an independent living, and how to detect and address potential health problems such as pressure sores, etc.
UNABU – Rwanda – new 2019 partner
UNABU stands for Umuryango Nyarwanda w’Abagore Bafite Ubumuga, translated in English as the Rwandan Organisation of Women with disabilities. UNABU is non-governmental organization established in 2004 by 14 women with disabilities, aimed at promoting gender equality and the removal of various barriers which prevent women with disabilities from participating in the country’s development.
The organization remains the sole organization of women with various categories of disability with an overall vision of ensuring “women with disabilities enjoy equal and equitable opportunities and actively participate in the country’s development.” UNABU’s mission consists of empowering women and girls with disabilities to become agents of change, to demand their right and to affirm their dignity as human beings.
The Walkabout Foundation – Nanyuki, Kenya – new 2019 partner
There are an estimated 1.2 million people in Kenya with mobility disabilities and in 2014, the Walkabout Foundation started providing wheelchairs in Nanyuki, Kenya in response to this great need. During the last 4.5 years of working in the region and understanding the terrain and challenges for people with mobility disabilities, TWF devised a long term plan, training locals in wheelchair provisioning and setting up a Day Care Centre. Children with mobility disabilities receive occupational therapy, assistance with activities of daily living and structured education in a supportive and caring environment. On the back of this solid base of a fully trained network of locals and huge demand for wheelchairs, in 2018 TWF opened up their first Wheelchair Assembly Centre, shipping in wheelchair parts at a newly renovated facility to be assembled by local people with disabilities.
Youth With Physical Disabilities Development Forum – Uganda – current partner
YPDDF supports children with disabilities in the Wakiso and Mukono districts of Uganda. ABSF’s grant supports home and school assessments, and durable, locally-produced wheelchairs for children in Uganda.