Kids Club Kampala was founded by Olivia Barker White, Corrie Fraser and Samuel Wambayo in 2009. Olivia and Corrie share their story of founding Kids Club Kampala with Sam:
“Our journey to founding Kids Club Kampala began when we (Olivia and Corrie) both signed up for a six-month gap year in Uganda with a group of other gap year students. We spent six months working in schools, churches and communities. Our friend, translator and member of our team, Sam, encouraged us during that time to hold kids clubs in the slums in town in order to reach those children who couldn't afford to go to school or who did not attend a church. These children, dare we say it, were our favourite little ones to love and laugh with, always so energetic, passionate and thankful for any balloon, tennis ball or pack of bubbles that were given out. Over the next few months we all fell in love with the country, the people and, most of all, the children.
It broke our hearts seeing the shocking conditions of the slums and the social stigma attached to slum children in Uganda. People walk the long way around the slums in order to avoid the dirt, the people and the open sewers. Friends, church members and people we met would warn us against going there; "those children are dirty, they will steal your stuff, don't walk there your feet will get dirty and you will catch a disease!" We struggled to understand these comments when looking into the eyes of these smiling children who just wanted to play and have fun, who just wanted someone to hold a skipping rope for them while they jumped and, who just needed someone to say “I believe you are special, gifted and worth a huge amount in this world.”
We decided that much 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 because 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. So that’s when we all decided we needed to create a charity called Kids Club Kampala.
What started as a small project in one slum, now feeds, educates, provides health education and counselling for over 4000 children every day, in 18 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 severely malnourished children who a couple of years later are now 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.”
As recognition for all that they have achieved with Kids Club Kampala, in December 2013 Olivia and Corrie were honoured to win the Global Champion Award at The Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Awards 2013.