Come True Project: Bridges to Hope
We build bridges between the refugees and the host communities in an effort to bring hope and rebuild motivation in the kids.
Meet some of our kids in a short video contributed by Israel's Ch. 2 TV channel
What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)
Come True project supports the education of 200 South Sudanese refugee children who were raised in Israel but were deported to South Sudan. The deportation was devastating to the children, whose Israeli upbringing meant that they were not adapted socially, culturally, and even physically to South Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world. The Come True project, an initiative bringing kids to a boarding school in Kampala, was founded on 2012 with the aim of securing the kids' education, well-being and thus, offering them a hope for a better future.
While the boarding school answers the kids' essential needs, other difficulties began to arise.
The kids’ self-esteem was harmed, they were confused by the conservative Ugandan teaching style and struggled to adjust to the new society. The parents began to lose their parental authority and struggled to fulfil their educational role. The lack of strong parental involvement is devastating to the wellbeing and motivation of kids.
In view of these difficulties, Come True emphasizes 3 main goals:
a. Empowering the parents in an effort to allow them to reclaim their roles in the kids' lives. This will be achieved by offering parents language classes (both Luganda, Swahili and English), by offering orientation skills in the Ugandan society and by offering them vocational training opportunities.
b. Empowering the youth by developing a survival kit tailored to life in the 21st century, including computer skills, micro-business, marketing and gender empowerment counselling. Also, providing emotional support to the kids by connecting to local organizations and offering guidance and training for graduates of Come True on their way to higher education or to the job market.
c. Developing leadership skills and trainings for the youth in an effort to encourage them to take leading roles in the project and in the future, thus, making sure the project is not FOR the community but OF the community.
Marlyn in class, Janan Senior.
Disclaimer: All photos of minors are posted with parental approval. All photos are approved by their subjects before posting. Photos were taken by Dr. Rami Gudovitch.
Geography of focus (500 characters)
Come True, based in Kampala, targets refugee kids deported from Israel and their families. Recently, we have expanded by including Darfuri refugee children arriving directly from Darfur. While the proposed activity focuses on East African refugee kids in Uganda, we believe we have created a unique model that will serve as a powerful learning base for others, including educators and social activists in the Global North, facing challenges of integration of refugee kids in a host society.
Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)
We will build bridges between the refugees and the Ugandan host community by leveraging local resources such as: family counselling; parent-teacher counselling; we will prioritize our "One World Education Platform" – bringing together Ugandan, South Sudanese and Israeli educations in an effort to address challenges in the daily experience of the kids in school; Diversity and Inclusion programs aiming at healing tensions between Ugandan and South Sudanese youth.
What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)
One of the many tragedies refugees face is the demeaning of one's self esteem and human dignity. Refugees often feel they lack the power to control their destiny. Our goal is to transform the kids' disadvantage into an advantage by developing tools that would allow them to reclaim their sense of agency by drawing on the strength they have built throughout their journey as refugees.
By relying on available local resources we will offer the kids a tangible set of tools to support the fulfillment of their academic potential and reclaim their sense of agency and their right to dream. Supplying stable education and emotional/psycho-social support through the host community will allow the kids to succeed and will make them a “bridge generation,” breaking the cycle that life as a refugee threatens to keep them in.
What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)
Implementing our idea will allow kids and their families to fulfil their right to be equal members in society and to have equal opportunities to enjoy various social resources . Supporting family bonding by empowering the parents and helping them to integrate into society is a crucial step in that process. We will also work to break barriers between the refugees and the Ugandan host community. Our project addresses personal, familial and social challenges that are caused by a life in flux. Such life inhibits strong relations with host communities and is detrimental to professional growth, academic performance and personal dignity and well being.
What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)
A common misconception about refugees is that they are desperate passive victims of injustice. In the course of the 7 years since Come True was founded, we learned that nothing is more far from the truth than this. In many cases, refugees are those who refused to accept the destiny reality threatened to impose on them, the ones who have refused to surrender their agency and decided to risk their lives in order to retain their human dignity. The source of our inspiration is this spirit of refugees and the deep conviction that both refugees and host societies would benefit from creating bridges that would enable refugees to become an enriching element in their host societies.
Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)
The community in which the idea is to be implemented consists of 200 South Sudanese refugee kids and their families. Recently, the project expanded beyond the refugees deported from Israel and added a group of Darfuri refugee kids. over 200 of the kids deported from Israel are still on our wait-list, living in refugee camps extremely harsh conditions till new scholarships will be available.
The Come True project is not "for" the community but rather, it is the community. All decisions are guided by the community, who is fully responsible for the kids in cases of medical, emotional, educational and disciplinary challenges.
The community also includes those who have graduated from the Come True program. We already have 10 students who were awarded merit-based scholarships in other countries and they participate in the operation and the project.
How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)
The community with whom the project works is, like other refugee communities, resilient. Against all odds, they have developed tools that enable them to survive with dignity. The community with whom we work represent a distilled and amplified microcosm of the refugee experience, drawing on backgrounds from numerous cultures, pedagogical styles, and societies. The children supported by the project were subject to the Israeli student-oriented schooling style that encourages critical thinking in the context of a liberal society. They were raised in South Sudanese homes and took refuge in Uganda, where they benefit/ed from pan African education and child rearing styles that emphasized value on family, quality education, and discipline. The Come True project will capitalize on the strengths to be drawn from both environments and utilize them to increase their already powerful resilience and to establish connections with their Ugandan host community.
Ayedith at Janan Primary
By the dorms, Trinity Primary
A mother and her child, Trinity Primary, Come True Project
Waiting for class
Ramkel, an outstanding student of Come True
In Janan Senior the students make the chalks used in class.
Come True kids playing in class, Trinity Primary, Kampala
Trinity Educational Team with our Country Director, Jacob Berry, Adv. Lea Miller Forstat and Dr. Rami Gudovitch, Co-founders and Co-Directors (volunteers) of Come True Project
At the dorms, Janan School
Two of Come True's students, David and Viola, Fashion Student and young, promising designers at the Niad Academy of Art, Entebbe
A class in Janan Senior
Our country manager, Mr. Jacob Berry and the new group of refugees who have arrived directly from Darfur at the beginning of 2019. The Darfuri section of the project is an initiative of Jacob and it utilises the know-how and methods we have developed in the 7 years of the life of the project.
Pastor Martin talking to the kids
Mr. Alex Gumisriza, HM of Trinity School, with Adv. Lea Miller Forstat, Co-Founder and Co-Director (volunteer) of Come True Project
A few of Come True girls during the Visitation Day, June, 2019.
Seagin during class
Lavina dreams to become a mathematician when she grows up, and she will.
Janan School grows many of the products used to feed the students
Holly and her friends playing
Taking notes in class
In the classroom
When our Country Manager in Uganda, Mr. Jacob Berry, visits the kids everybody is happy!
Mr. Alex Gumisriza, HM of Trinity Primary and Co-founder (with Dr. Rami Gudovitch) The One World Education Platform, a platform that brings together educators from Uganda, South Sudan and Israel to work together and learn from each other.
After graduating from Come True Naka Aligio won a scholarship to study in the IDC in Israel. Naka is already planning her graduate studies abroad after completing her BA next year. Naka is a member of Come True advisory board.
Hebrew class for adults from the refugee community that still live in Israel. The class is taught by Social Work students of Come True Co-Founder and Co-Director, Dr. Rami Gudovitch.
Prof. Maria Kizito, Dean of the Art Department in Makarere University, Prof. Vered Slonim Nevo, BGU, Israel, Mr. Alex Gumisriza, HM, Trinity School
What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)
Among our partners are educators from South Sudan, Uganda, Israel and beyond, professional networks, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and government bodies.
Below is a partial list of partners with whom the project will continue to work:
Trinity School, Kampala Uganda;
Janan School, Bombo;
The School of Social Work, Department of Arts, Makarere University, Kampala;
The School of Social Work, Philosophy Dep, African Studies Dep, Ben Gurion University, Israel;
Niad Art Academy, Entebbe;
What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing
Arriving and settling at a destination community
Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing
Systems design: Solutions that target changing larger system
Idea Proposal Stage
Early Adoption: We have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have proof of user uptake (i.e. 16% to 49% of the target population or 1,000 to 50,000 users).
Group or Organization Name
Come True project, Become R.A.
Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)
The Come True project was founded in 2012, under Become, R.A. by South Sudanese families deported and their Israeli allies. The goal was to secure the education and well-being of the children who were deported. Today, our team consists of members from the refugee community in Uganda, Israel and other countries, of Israeli members and of our partners- Ugandan educators and professionals.
Our only paid position is of our country manager in Uganda, Mr. Jacob Berry, a Darfuri.
Other contributers to our project are:
Mrs. Naka Aligio- a student and a refugee on the move, IDC, Israel, our first graduate.
Mrs. Lea Miller Forstat- Co-founder and Co-director of Come True Project
Pastor Martin Kuku William, Chair of the parents committee
Mrs. Treza Galuak- Parents representative in South Sudan
Dr. Shelly Kegan- MD, medical advisor
Dr. Rami Gudovitch, Adj-Professor of Philosophy, Co-Founder, Senior Education Advisor of Come True
Type of submitter
We are a registered Non-Profit Organization
Organization Headquarters: Country
Become R.A. is registered in Israel and in Uganda
Organization Headquarters: City / State