It’s a beautiful day here in the village community where I have been living in near Mbale Town in Eastern Uganda. As I look outside the window I see gorgeous cloud formations set against a beautiful blue sky. The weather is mild and the warm sunshine has illuminated spectacular views of the mountains and vast, green plains that surround Nabugoye Hill, where my guesthouse is located. I hear children chattering and crickets kracketting outside the window as I sit here filled with gratitude to be here and be alive in this moment.
I have felt very relaxed throughout my visit to Uganda. There’s a peace, a serenity that fills you here. Even in crowded Kampala, Uganda’s largest city, I felt calm and safe. People here welcome you with open arms and open hearts. I see people smiling, children playing, and life go on despite the many challenges that the population faces. Yet I have not had anyone approach me begging for a handout. In Jinja I had a group of children approach me and asked if there’s some they can do for me in exchange for food. That’s just incredible. I feel that if there’s anything I can do to support the community here, it would be an honor.
Why I Came.
When I decided that I wanted to travel to serve communities around the world one of the first organizations that came to mind was Canadian Friends of Pearl Children (CFPC). The organization was founded on passion by a friend of mine in Ottawa, Dvora Rotenberg who wanted to respond to the plight of orphans she met during a visit to Uganda. She started supporting an orphanage in Jinja to look after children who ended up on the streets as a result of war and poverty but since CFPC has grown to support youth in different parts of Uganda and recently in Western Kenya.
During my visit in Mbale I have had the opportunity to meet some of the youth that CFPC has helped raise out of poverty by educating, encouraging collaboration and providing nutrition and medical support. I realize how little I knew about the organization before arriving here. I have learned why it is important to get involved, hands on, to make a difference for a cause that you support. During my time here I have only been able to scratch the surface and come to see that a lot of support is needed to help this particular organization fulfill its humanitarian mission.
If you are looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of people in Africa, here’s a great opportunity. I am a strong believer in the grassroots movement. I like to know that my efforts and my support makes touches the lives of the beneficiaries directly. From my experience in Mbale I can tell you that the organization need people to get involved hands on and lend their expertise to build a sustainable future. If you have management, education, community fundraising, or international development skills and have time to volunteer Canada or internationally you can help! If you can’t volunteer but still want to make a difference you can donate or tell others about the cause. What matters is taking action.
Through one of the individual’s CFPC has been supporting in Mbale I came to learn about another wonderful organization that’s working in this community called. The individual teaches more than 120 people from the local village basic computer skills as well as life skills through a program supported by U-Touch.
There are 2 reasons why I mention this. First, this is an excellent example of how your support multiplies. Thanks to CFPC supporting this 1 individual, today he makes a difference in the lives of 120 and more outside of his work. Second, I want to say kudos to the founders of U-touch and the work they are doing around the world by transforming lives in disadvantaged regions by bridging the digital divide.
I personally delivered 3 talks over the past 2 days on goal setting and had a very rewarding experience. The classes are offered in group setting, for free, for individuals of all ages. It’s hard to describe how inspiring it is to see the diversity of people — from a young mother, 14–15 years of age, to elderly gentleman — sitting in the same room filled with hope and a dream of a new beginning.
I am filled with emotions knowing that I leave Uganda in a few hours. Whether I met people in an overcrowded matatu (mini-van taxi), in a public place, or just walking around, people have welcomed and shared with me like family. I look forward to nurturing these relationships and continuing to work with some incredible people that I have met here.
About The Author
Urooj Qureshi is pro Adventurer and storyteller. Follow his adventures on Instagram @uroojqureshi.
Originally published at http://www.living-being.com on November 7, 2012.