Lessons in Learning To Be Kind
Somehow We Need To Overcome The Only International Charities Are Credible Thing
Ground Zero Project Certificate of Registration Kabale Uganda
Sometime ago, I think about 2 years ago, I stumbled on what I considered a fledgling charity organization out of Uganda Africa called Ground ZERO Project Uganda. I decided to follow the founder and see what he was all about. After following Mugerwa Umaru for over a year and seeing him working so hard to empower the people in his community through programs focused on teaching people to develop small businesses in the community and promoting good health and welfare towards a community stricken with AIDS/HIV. I decided to figure out how I could communicate more directly with him so that I could learn what kinds of things I could do to help him on this journey. We Started With Small Donations for Communications
At first I wanted to learn more about ways that I could lend some of my first world resources to enable Mugerwa to grow the following of his organization, so, I asked him to purchase some, very expensive, time at an internet cafe and then I we tried to enable him to save space on his limited smartphone (4GB) by having him install an app for storing files online. This was a challenging experience.
A picture of one of the money orders for data purchases that started off our relationship
It turns out that Facebook has cut deals with many digital service providers in third world countries to enable the people to use Facebook and Messenger to communicate with people all over the world, although, the connection does not allow them usage of Google or other regular internet resources so they can only communicate and see on Facebook that which is difficult to achieve or acquire for themselves. To teamwork I felt we would need more so we tried purchasing time at the closest internet cafe. Internet cafes proved to be expensive.
To Help I Bought Them A Website & G-Suite Email
My idea of the Ugandans running their own ecommerce website quickly became a bit of a failure and I so very much wanted them to have such a thing so as to help with donations, to keep self esteem up, and, to build the local economy. Sadly, PayPal does not support Uganda as well as many other payment providers do not. AND, postal codes are not supported by their mail service Posta Uganda, although, there is a global postal codes system that is provided through google maps can you imagine having to try to negotiate that on a 4GB mobile phone.
The website I provided for a year at Wix and it came with an Google G-Suite email. This turned into a mess as Wix could not deal with the no postal code to set up the email and Google support did not effectively help Mugerwa as he was not ever able to get the extra email set up in his gmail app on his phone...sigh! What a waste of money.
Now the website donation forms all go to my, Don Moody webmaster, personal PayPal account and I transfer the funds through Western Union absorbing the fees as we go along. Please donate now should you have the funds or even time or skills available to help.
So, We Bought A Smartphone With Better Camera & More Memory
My idea of online storage was becoming a failure very quickly.
The phone he had had very limited hardware and memory. I decided to have him purchase a smartphone with better hardware and larger storage thinking the provider could help him install apps and learn about the phone. Yeah, this did not go so well as the salesperson did not have that kind of experience to be configuring the email and installing apps.
How many can truly say they have donated a million in cash at one time...lol
I Looked Into Opening A Branch Of The Charity
I did my best to cajole some of my own clients into opening a charity in Canada to help though had little success. Meanwhile I looked into opening a branch of GZP Uganda in Canada. After finding out that I would essentially end up taking over the direction of their charity, which had been running for many years, I decided that this would not be fair to the board of directors that have been working so hard to provide for their fellow people.
So Mugerwa And I Discuss The School Needs
While in discussions with Mugerwa about how to best fund raise for the school needs and who is raising funds for what. I decide to take on the task of fund raising to provide a "latrine" (Glorified out house) for over 200 children while secretly knowing that I do not have the mental make up and social reach to be taking on such a task so I quietly decide to pay for the latrine myself...lol. I'd show you the video of the digging of the latrine but I am embarrassed due to the lack of safety equipment and methods I had not anticipated.
That "hand dug" hole is to be over 20' deep by the time it is completed.
Then The Fund Raising Has A Set Back
The roof fund raising was going fabulously thanks to Cathy Summey Oliver and her crew of ladies from the Liberty, South Carolina USA.
I managed to pay off the amount for the latrine so we were well on our way. Of course there will be a day when we might want doors, windows, solar power and possibly a well at the school, though, really everyone there is happy and enjoying the work and play that comes along with the task at hand.
A Christmas party was provided by the very generous Candace Ryder From Fort Collins, Colorado and it is turned into a whole day of fun for the children in the way of a soccer tournament and party.
Now For The Setback
We had a person committed to raising funds to provide (70) desks/benches enough to seat 210 children and then they had some difficult family issues come up so needed to back out of the arrangements. Mugerwa took the set back in stride and we started to discuss how to recover so we could have desks to open the school which now has a name "ANFIELD PRIMARY SCHOOL KASAMBYA" of Lwengo Uganda Africa. Look up Mugerwa Umaru of Kabale to explain that one...lol I was given the opportunity to voice my opinion and chose not to.
Our prototype student desk/bench for 3
Got Stung With Advertising
As per usual being the financial idiot that I can be I decide to step up and take on the task of raising the funds required for the desks myself. This time I am going to actually take a shot at a published fund raiser...lol Decided on doing a funds matching experiment with Facebook advertising. WE needed in the area of 1200.00CAN dollars to afford to purchase the lumber and hire local talent to build the desks. Being a rookie at advertising you can bet I got stung...lol
Put up my donation matching funds 'up front" because I felt the need to prove I was completely serious.
Got A Whole Bunch Of Likes & Shares
Unfortunately Facebook "likes" do not buy desks or employ local tradespeople in Uganda.
My intention in writing this ever so long blog post is to convince people that we are a credible organization and any funds donated will go directly to providing whatever is negotiated for them to provide. My donations and the resulting projects are living proof that my friend Mugerwa Umaru has a heart of gold and the perseverance to succeed in managing this community organization for Ugandans and the poor orphans and children of his local community. So, we at Ground Zero Project could would very much appreciate any assistance in time, funds, professional advice, Facebook "likes" and Facebook "shares" that you and your friends could provide us. Please donate now to Lwengo school construction project.