I can’t believe that we are celebrating 10 years of Kids Club Kampala! It seems like only yesterday that we decided to take the plunge and officially found the charity. Despite not having any prior experience of running a charity or fundraising, we simply had a passion to change children’s lives in Uganda for the better and simply felt we had to do something to help.
The journey to founding Kids Club Kampala began in 2007 when myself and Corrie both signed up to volunteer in Uganda with a group of other gap year students. We spent seven months working mainly in schools. We had a great time but couldn’t help think about the children in Uganda who didn’t have the opportunity to go to school. Our good friend Sam (now the Ugandan Director of Kids Club Kampala) invited us into the slum communities in Kampala. Although we had been in Uganda for a few weeks and seen poverty, nothing could prepare us for what we experienced being in Kampala’s slums for the first time. Children running barefoot through open sewage, families of 10 people living in a little one-roomed makeshift shack, children with big malnourished bellies playing in a dirty and smoking rubbish tip. It was absolutely heart-breaking. We felt that we simply had to do something to help. We started by playing games, singing songs and trying to bring some hope and joy into these little children’s lives. Now, slum communities are notoriously difficult to work in and can often be dangerous and because of this we found that other organisations and even churches were reluctant to work here and support the children. 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.”
A lot has happened in 10 years. I certainly never imagined when I first got on that plane to Uganda that I would be running an organisation supporting vulnerable children in Kampala’s slums full time. At the beginning, our vision was so small and we had no idea where this dream would take us. I remember one of our goals for the next five years was to have enough paper and pencils for children who wanted to draw pictures at our Saturday Kids Club – we now have free education projects providing thousands of children with education and a chance to read, write and draw every day! What started as a small project in one slum, now feeds, educates, counsels, shelters and supports over 4000 children every day, in 22 different communities across Uganda. But the vision still remains the same – to bring hope and love to vulnerable children and to transform communities in Uganda’s slums.
Over the last 10 years we have:
· Fundraised over 1 million pounds
· Served 1.5 million hot nutritious meals to hungry children
· Provided free education for over 1000 children
· Given out 2500 life-saving mosquito nets
· Distributed 35,000 items of clothing to children in need
· Provided counselling for 3150 vulnerable teenagers
· Sponsored 150 children to go to school
· Trained 66 young men in carpentry skills
· Provided skills training to 600 vulnerable women
· Rescued 54 children from abandonment
· Reunited 38 children back with their families
· Supported over 5000 vulnerable children and young people
· Made a difference in 22 communities across Uganda
· and seen literally thousands of lives transformed!
The journey has not been easy at all, and it is still stressful and challenging at times. But 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!
Thank you for helping us get to 10 years! As an organisation that relies on the generosity of other people to survive we are so grateful for every little bit of support we receive. Please join with us in thanking God and celebrating all that Kids Club Kampala has achieved. Who knows where the next 10 years will take us? If you would like to part of this exciting journey, please do get in touch.