Shawn and Pavel are two very grateful and fulfilled twenty year-old men these days. They both recently returned from an extraordinary trip to Uganda, thanks in large part to the overwhelming support they received from my amazing community of donors. And so, my dearest family, friends, and clients, THANK YOU for facilitating mentorship and empowerment!
Pavel administers first aid in the slum (left) and feeds the children lunch at Patrick's orphanage (right). He also gives Patrick a physical lift in exchange for the spiritual lift he received (center)!
Sometimes it can be challenging to connect to the idea of investing in a person instead of a thing. Many people can understand giving money to an organization if that money buys food or medical supplies, but the idea of paying for a stranger's plane ticket to Africa can give us pause. As donors, we want our money to act as an arrow. We are taught to aim for the bullseye, as close to the heart of the need as we can.
That's exactly why I am passionate about investing in people instead of things. Things don't solve problems. People solve problems, and people use food, medicine, and other resources as their tools. By empowering Shawn and Pavel as emerging social entrepreneurs in Uganda this winter, you impacted far more than just one community of people on one volunteer mission. You have taken advantage of an opportunity to foster change in every community that Shawn and Pavel will touch for the rest of their lives.
I am humbled by the generosity I experienced throughout the course of this adventure, and I am proud to report that the project was a resounding success for everyone involved. As members of the Uganda Project team, we built memories that we will carry forever. We enrolled our students in school, purchased mattresses and food for an orphanage, visited a safe house for children escaping the slums of Kampala, and got chased by a baboon while on safari. It should surprise no one that somewhere along the way, we made lifelong friends.
Pavel has no trouble making friends at the orphanage
Shawn helps Shariff, a former Uganda Project student, capture footage of Matt and Griffin's musical performance at the safe house.
Uganda Project staff and students on safari. Wild animals beware of wild humans!