The International Child Care Fund and the Vim Project

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | News | Open Source

When Packt publishes a book on an open source subject, we pay the project a percentage of all book sales. This is part of our Open Source Project Royalty scheme and something we have been doing since our first book was published in 2004. Our aim was to establish royalties as a sustainable and essential part of an open source project's income and to date Packt has paid over $80,000 to open source projects.

The majority of open source projects put this money towards the extensive maintenance and running costs inherent in open source. However, the Vim project has taken the unusual, yet highly commendable decision to donate the money they receive from the book to a Dutch charity. Therefore, for every copy of Hacking Vim that is sold, a percentage of its sales will go towards the International Child Care Fund, a small foundation run by volunteers that works with the Kibaale Children's Centre in Uganda.

Uganda has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. A lot of work is being done to bring these figures down, in fact to date, Uganda has had the most successful national response, reducing from 11% prevalence to around 6% (Europe is 0.3% and North America 0.8%). However the death rate is still high and the reality is that people are still dying from Aids with children losing parents on a daily basis. This has resulted in a large number of orphaned children and has escalated their need for housing, food and water, education, and medical aid.  

Fortunately, Canadian missionaries recognized this need and started a home for around 700 of these children in Southern Uganda. They live in extended families, with an uncle, or other relative, who volunteered to take care of the orphaned child. These families are very poor, however the Kibaale Children's Centre makes sure that the children get their basic needs, and makes it possible for them to go to school.  

Bram Moolenaar is best known for his role as the developer of Vim, however he also doubles up as the treasurer for the ICCF Holland Foundation. Bram initially got involved with the project during a working holiday to Uganda in 1993. "In three weeks we built the majority of a nursery school with two classrooms" he explains. "I decided to get more involved in the project and worked there for a whole year in 1994-1995 as water and sanitation coordinator. After I came back I wanted to continue to support the children, which is why I started the ICCF Holland foundation."   

"The project is based around the school. Currently 780 children study here, from nursery to secondary level. This forms the start of a better life for the children as most of them are orphans and come from poor families. To help them do well in school we provide lunch and help some families with food when needed. There is a clinic that was originally setup for the sponsored children, but has gradually grown to help all people living around the project. Several times a week we go out to villages for immunization and education. There are also community development efforts, such as a small loans program and women’s groups. Generally we try to improve the community that the children live in."  

In a similar way to open source projects, the ICCF Holland Foundation runs on donations and gifts from generous benefactors. Whereas the majority of modern charities canvas the public for contributions, the ICCF is in the fortunate position of calling directly upon the good nature of Vim users for support. "At first we found sponsors by asking people who had visited the project" Bram confirms, "however later I started asking Vim users to help the children. These days most of the new sponsors are Vim users."  

By sponsoring a child, you will enable them to attend school, whilst providing the foundation with the resources to ensure they remain healthy. Further to this, they can help the child's family improve their home and give them seedlings amongst other things. This way, the child can learn and become a responsible person, being able to take care of their own children in the future.  

If you're interested in donating to the ICCF, you can do so by visiting their website at

About Vim
Vim is a highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems. Vim is often called a "programmer's editor," and so useful for programming that many consider it an entire IDE. It's not just for programmers, though. Vim is perfect for all kinds of text editing, from composing email to editing configuration files.

Buy Hacking Vim and support the International Child Care Fund
For each copy of Hacking Vim that is sold, Packt will pay the Vim project a percentage of its sale. The Vim project has taken the decision to donate these royalties directly to the International Child Care Fund. Therefore, for every copy of Hacking Vim that is sold, a percentage will have gone directly to supporting the children of Uganda. For more information about Hacking Vim, please visit

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