There are some figures that are ingrained in my mind, from this journey. These amounts are not necessarily the highest or smallest, but it is their significance that has stayed with me.
Over the years we have raised approximately $100,000 from individuals and entities (mostly the former) Here are some special moments.
In 2012, during the very first campaign,
Opolot, whom I had gone to school with (but wasn’t close to) reached out. He wanted to know how to lighten the load. Contributions were slow and I was worried. I jokingly asked for half a million shillings. He sent it to my phone, no questions asked. That boost made things so much easier and I always remember him.
I met a little boy of about 8 years old after the Young Achievers awards in December 2013. He came over to me with his mum. He said that after hearing my speech he was compelled to contribute the money he had. He handed me Ugx 5,000 (less than $2) I hugged him really tight. I have never forgotten him.
In the same year, two of Ritah’s nieces saved 20,000 (a little over $5) from their pocket money. They handed it over because they had met the children we were working with and were touched by their plight.
There are two Ugandans in the diaspora, Tom and Tim; they send through a contribution for pretty much every 4040 campaign. I have never met Tim personally and I only met Tom because of his support for our causes. These gentlemen humble me.
I barely knew Lucy when I opened up to her. We had been running campaigns to raise money for the dormitory we were building in Luweero at the time. We were out of options because a had organised events, ran campaigns and still weren’t hitting the target.
She invited me to meet her when she visited Uganda and handed me Ugx 1 million in cash. I was blown away. Lucky for us, she was present at the opening of the dorm later that year.
28 million. This was the amount we needed to raise for said dormitory. When we looked at it, we were certain we could never get it. We dillydallied,suggested we contribute half, second guesses ourselves-everything but admitted we were more capable than a have ourselves credit for. Finally, we decided to give it a try.
We organised and event and unveiled #BuyABrick. This campaign helped us raise 8 million shillings in 10 days, just on Facebook and Twitter alone>>with the help of mobile money for deposits to be made.
We succeeded, scratch that, we conquered! The dormitory is still up and running, capable of housing 210 boys and girls.
We were nobodies and people trusted us. We started with zero and somehow raised millions for a worthy cause.
These people are the unsung heroes.
As we grow, our needs increase and expectations are higher..but this 28 million was nothing short of a miracle.
All these people, their stories and their hearts, all of them are blessings without whom we’d be nothing.
I will never forget that.