Monday, September 21, 2009

The “Pay It Forward” Foundation Uganda

So, I promised you a few months ago that I would be in touch concerning something that had occurred to me. I wrote down a few things and set about trying to realize this dream but I've been consumed by almost everything and everyone I come into contact with. I am juggling so many ideas in my head that I had put this aside while I sorted myself out. Dincy, Jacque and Becky have been kind enough to infect me with their enthusiasm and help me get this thing rolling. It is no longer just my dream but "Our" dream. Here it is as I envisioned it then, we will be meeting this Friday with a few other people to forge a way forward and then we'll organise a launch of sorts. I will keep you posted.

If you had a chance to change someone's life for the better, would you take it? The majority of us have experienced the kindness of strangers and not known or been able to pay it back. We have also had the chance to make our lives what we want them to be; we have been given that chance to have the power to change our lives. We have had parents or guardians who have provided the necessities that we have needed or need, we have gone to school and imbibed the ideas that have struck a chord with us. We have stepped out into the world armed with all these things that we have learnt and attempted to find our place in it. But for each and every one of us that has had this chance, thousands or even millions more have not been privy to this. Most times it is due to no fault of their own, it is just the hand that life or fate, if you will, has dealt them.

Some of us, if not most of us, have a desire to change this situation but it always seems so monumental a task that we are immediately demoralized. How do you feed all the hungry? How do you provide shelter for all the homeless? How do you send children to school? How do you give those without, the same chance that you've had to make your life what it is today? The idea of undertaking anything of this magnitude seems so overwhelming that we cannot even attempt to get started. It does not have to be so; each and every one of us has the power to change another's life for the better. We have the ability and the chance to perform acts of kindness that even if they seem small to us, can make a huge difference in someone else's life. We have the power to pay it forward and perhaps change a life and make the world a little bit better.

The main goal of this foundation is to simply spread the idea that anyone can, if they are willing, change lives by paying it forward. It is inspired in part by the movie "Pay It Forward", but mostly, the inspiration comes from the people that I have been fortunate to meet in my life.

Initially, the idea occurred to me when I was seated in a waiting room cum restaurant in Nairobi. I was on my way back from my first foray into the wide world and I was feeling a bit demoralized at having fallen sick barely a month after setting off. I met a young man of about eighteen who was working in the restaurant and I sat him down and prompted him for his story. He told me of how he was born in Kenya to a Ugandan father and a Tanzanian mother and that that was why he considered himself an East African. I asked about his education, work and dreams and he told me of how he had finished S.4 but could not manage to get the funds to continue his education, how he liked fixing electrical items and hoped to become an electrical engineer one day. He had plans of coming to Uganda and finding some sort of job so that he could work by day and study by night.

I was moved by this young man and I figured that it wasn't simply a coincidence that I had met him. I turned my attention to figuring out a way to help him out, to make his dreams come true and change his life. It then occurred to me that if I could get 100 of my friends to each spare a little something every month then we should be able to give this kid the same chance at life that we have had. He can go to school without any worries of where the tuition will come from, where he will sleep, what he will eat..etc. Then it occurred to me that it doesn't have to stop with this kid, we can find other people who are desperately in need of that helping hand, who need just that one break and pay it forward. So the idea of a foundation was born and I guess all that's left is for you to take part. Do you want to make a difference?

I should perhaps say that the idea of paying it forward is something that we can do in our daily lives. It is simply doing the things that may mean little to us but mean the world to others, like helping a stranger change a flat tyre or holding the door open for the mailman. The idea is simply to be truly kinder.


sam said...

love this!!!! it's so easy to forget... joining u from afar =D

TRP said...

Sounds Awesome

Bazanye said...

The reason there is so much meanness is that there isn't enough kindness.

jny23 said...

am in

Sleek said...

i like