Our UK Director Olivia shares some of her story about the beginning of Kids Club Kampala.
"When I was 18 I had the opportunity to volunteer in Uganda for 7 months. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of the rest of my life. Whilst I was in Uganda, I not only met my now co-Directors Sam and Corrie, it was there that I was first introduced to the appalling conditions in Kampala’s slums. It broke our hearts seeing the shocking conditions of the slums and the social stigma attached to slum children in Uganda. We decided that more needed to be done for these children. Sadly, there wasn’t much help available as many charities were reluctant to work in the slums because of the difficult and dangerous conditions. It slowly dawned on us that the slum children would never have the same opportunities that other children in the world had, there was no one willing to stand up for them or fight on their behalf. We were determined to help the children in this community in any way possible, and it seemed that our only option was to do something ourselves.
What started as a small project in one slum now feeds, educates, provides health education and counselling for over 4000 children every day, in 17 different communities across Uganda. We have experienced unprecedented growth over the last few years, and our model of volunteer run, community led, community driven development is now being adopted by several other organisations in Kampala.
Without a doubt, the most rewarding thing is seeing children and communities whose lives are being changed for the better by Kids Club Kampala. Seeing children who a couple of years ago were severely malnourished now being healthy, seeing children going to school who previously had no hope of doing so, seeing a woman able to provide for her family, seeing a child who was abandoned now have a loving home to stay in – there is no greater feeling! This is what keeps us going, this is what inspires us and gives us the passion and determination to succeed.
If you have a dream to make a difference in the world, just go for it. It is easy to feel paralysed by the sheer scale of the problem or the size of your goal and end up doing nothing. Don’t give up. Dream big, start small. When people say “I wish I could do something” I always respond by saying “you can!” Everyone can. Just give it a try. Find something that breaks your heart. Find a cause that keeps playing on your mind that you can’t ignore. Find something that you care about and want to see change in, and use that passion to ignite a fire in you that keeps you going. People may criticise you for being inexperienced, too young, you may not have enough money or the right qualifications but don’t let that hold you back and don’t be afraid of a little sacrifice. I have put in my fair share of personal time, money, energy and more into Kids Club Kampala. Struggling hard to do something that makes a difference in the lives of others even when you do not get a financial return is much more rewarding than dedicating your life to a job that pays the bills but doesn’t fulfil your soul."
Inspired to help or to get involved? Please contact us or you can email Olivia directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.