The School of Languages Literature and Communication, SLLC, has continued to bond in a welfare association dubbed ‘Tushirikiane’- a Swahili word for ‘let’s come together’ or ‘let’s work together.’
The association, a brain child of the School Dean Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, was started in 2014. “It was during a staff meeting in 2014 that I urged members to consider a welfare fund for the school. I realized there are many opportunities like investing in projects, that come our way but also challenges that strike us- like sickness, death and the like. Since we do not have any insurance scheme, I thought it would be good to build a fund for soft loans,” he reminisces.
“I also realized that when there are moments to celebrate, like end of year parties, we had no funds. In the past, the Faculty had money for private programmes. I had also seen these schemes work in other groups like the Franciscan Investment Cooperation, FIC, which I started for congregants of St. Francis chapel. FIC is 6 years old now, has about 800 members and is worth 3b. The concept was a welfare fund,” he adds.
It is then that he presented the idea to the School and it was appreciated. The association pivots on a welfare fund and has a major objective of bringing together all the members of SLLC as one family. “To join the association, one is required to pay a membership fee of 20,000/ (twenty thousand shillings only, and a subscription fee of 60,000/= (sixty thousand shillings only), payable once. The monthly savings thereafter are at a minimum of 30,000/= (thirty thousand shillings) only. You earn interest as per your savings. We avail financial statements to members bi-annually,” explains Cindy Magara, a member of the Executive. Those willing to join are encouraged to take their membership and subscription fees to Centenary Bank, A/C No. 4920100221 or to the Association’s Secretary Sarah Kawungezi who sits in LB 5, or to the welfare representative of your department.
The Chairperson, Fridah Katushemererwe, is convinced that this fund is unstoppable. “We used most of 2014 to plan and 2015 saw us roll out. We are guided by a constitution, available to all members and abide to high ethical standards. Our membership has steadily grown, with representation from all departments. I urge more people to join us since this is the way of the future,” she emphasizes. The association, whose membership currently stands at 20, has since attracted some of the big shots/names in the school including Sister Dominic Dipio, Dr. Celestine Orikiriza, Dr. Gilbert Gumoshabe, Dr. Susan Kiguli, Jane-Frances Alowo and many others.
Members of this association are called ‘Tushites,’ in a bid to enhance unity. They believe in harnessing each other’s contribution towards the development of the School, knowing and relating more closely with one other, enhancing social capital at the work place and sharing some other life experiences beyond the workplace.
“I have seen these associations work elsewhere. I am also part of another group for couples and we have bought chunks of land. Even if the University started a health scheme, we can maintain Tushirikiane. I know collecting money on a monthly basis is not easy but I appeal to members to embrace Tushirikiane and save. This is our money and you are welcome to take your contribution at any time. Joining the group gives you the opportunity to reap from the power of numbers. We are a small but manageable group. We have shared values and interests and I believe we can go places with this fund,” explains an ecstatic Assoc. Prof. Mushengyezi.
The association holds monthly meetings of the Executive Committee and a General Assembly every six months. The next General Assembly is scheduled for 27th January 2017.
By Marion Alina