Making a Difference
This time I can confidently say we adopted a school, working the community to create an environment conducive enough for learning. My passion for working with children in education was at it again.
Over the years, I have dedicated most of my efforts to supporting schools and providing resources to enhance the learning experience for these brilliant, young minds. On June 9th 2023, my team and I embarked on another impact driven initiative, that saw us donate an assortment of scholastic resources and contribute to the physical development of the school. Recounting on the last months activities, I want to share my journey and recent endeavors in making a positive impact on the lives of these children.
Where it all began: Adopting a School
The genesis of it all starts with idea to impact: How I started my own foundation, a story that can be read here: How I started my Foundation. Having a deep-rooted desire to contribute to education, I decided to adopt a school in 2019, or so it said. On two separate occasions, I generously donated essential resources to this school, aiming to improve the learning environment. Recognizing the importance of teacher training, I also organized sessions to enhance the skills and knowledge of the educators at the school.
The story can be found here: Teenager adopts school in Luwero.
While these initiatives had a significant impact from an early childhood care and education perspective, I felt there was more that could be done for the youth. Thus, the foundation embarked on a new project at the Naguru Remand Home. We donated a variety of food items and other necessities to support the children living there. Additionally, we organized a three-month skill-building program in 2022, focused on nail work and hair braiding, providing the children with practical skills they could use in the future.
The Quest for a New School Partnership
It had been about 7 months since I last made an investment of time and resources to the foundation. Returning to Uganda in May 2023, I decided that getting back to my roots was crucial to the success of what I was trying to achieve. I spent several weeks searching for a school to collaborate with. Unfortunately, our efforts did not yield the desired results in the short-term. However, an unexpected event led me to discover a school that held potential for meaningful change.
One evening, our house help – Kareem Kigozi invited me to visit the school his son had been attending for the past two years. Curious and open to new possibilities, I accepted the invitation and was astounded by the level of organization demonstrated by the school’s administration and teachers. Impressed by what I saw, I embarked on a tour of the school, interacting with students and teachers, and gaining valuable insights into their educational experiences. A small school in Kungu, Buwate, Uganda in my community with 35 children and classes from baby to Primary 3.
Igniting the Spark
During my visit, Raheem Kigozi, the son of our house help, who is now like a brother to us, approached me and shared his thoughts on his homework and his aspirations for a better school environment in a vague but hilarious way. His innocent words unknowingly sparked a flame within me, revealing that this was the school I had been searching for all along! Determined to make a difference, I gathered my team—Ashley and Achol—and shared my vision for the school’s development from resources to infrastructure.
Following proper protocol, we conducted a situational analysis and created a budget based on the school’s needs and our aspirations. Seeking support from various partners, we secured sponsorship from Demos Capital Uganda, who generously supplemented my personal contribution to the project. With the necessary funds in place, we procured a range of educational materials, including books, pens, pencils, learning charts, whiteboards and much more. Additionally, we focused on physical development by painting the playground, classrooms, and toilet areas. And promote environmental consciousness, we even planted a tree in the school’s playground!
The Event: A Day of Celebration
To commemorate our efforts, we chose to hold the event on Uganda’s Hero’s Day. Accompanied by my brothers, René and Terence, my friend Samantha Kremer from the University of Waterloo, and my teammate Ashley Birungi, we were warmly welcomed by the students, parents, teachers, and directors of the school. The children greeted us with a heartfelt song, filling the room with pure and genuine joy. We distributed drinks to the children and presented them with the donated educational materials.
Engaging with the Children
To foster a deeper connection, a lively physical activity session was organized by the school, playing games such as duck, duck, goose, ring around the rosie and much more, engaging with the children on a personal level. Throughout the day, numerous pictures and videos were taken to capture the shared moments with families, teachers, and the wider community that came to support us. As a culmination of the event, we involved the children in a painting session, allowing them to contribute to the transformation of their school and instilling in them a sense of ownership and pride.
Continuing Support and Inspiration
In the spirit of sustained impact, I regularly visit the school to assess the progress of the infrastructure development and engage with the students both inside and outside the classroom learning about the things they are taught and what their aspirations are. These interactions provide an opportunity to share moments, offer words of inspiration, and encourage the students to embrace learning with enthusiasm.
I want to emphasize that impactful change does not always require grand gestures. The smallest acts of kindness and support can leave a lasting impression on someone’s life. This project has undoubtedly made a difference in the lives of the students and the wider community. My motivation has always been to create a collective community that thrives regardless of socio-economic status. Remember, making a positive impact often starts close to home, where it can be felt the most profoundly.
My journey in working with children in education has been a fulfilling one, filled with numerous initiatives and experiences. By adopting schools, donating resources, and undertaking significant projects, I have witnessed the transformative power of education and community engagement. The recent partnership with a remarkable school has reinforced the belief that small actions can lead to significant change.
Let us all strive to create a brighter future for the younger generation by embracing opportunities to support education and inspire young minds!
Link to full Video recapping the event. Making a Difference: A colourful paint day with kids!