The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Our ego sometimes tells us that what we as individuals are doing is the best that can be done. However, when we manage to push our ego aside for a few minutes, we can realize that working together can make everything each individual does have much more impact.
This past week has been a perfect example of the sum of the whole being equal to more than its individual parts.
ISEE wishes to travel and distribute 500 sanitary kits. Through the humanitarian partnership with British Airways, we are each allowed to travel with 3x50lb bags. One kit weighs about 1lb so between the 5 of us travelling, we would be able to travel with our 500 kits.
However, this would prevent us from being able to travel with any other extra supplies like Science equipment. Through a partnership with Niteo Africa, a wonderful Kelowna based charity that focusses on literacy in Uganda, we were able to send 200 kits in a container full of books that is travelling by sea and will arrive in Kampala in July. This frees up some of our luggage to be able to take other educationally based materials to the schools that we work with all across Uganda.
But where have all these kits come from? From another great partnership with sewing groups like the women at First Lutheran Church, Gifts to Grandmas, the Seamline Ladies at the Alliance Church, the Sunrise Sewers linked to the Sunrise Rotary Club, colleagues, school parents, family and even international friends. All are working hard to help us reach out goal of 500 kits.
Our partnership with Days for Girls is ever expanding as well. There is a chapter that has opened in Uganda that needs supplies so the US head office will provide us with free PUL and flannel to take to the two women, Olivia and Diana, who are working to make these sanitary kits a cottage industry for the Ugandan women. Not being able to get all the fabric is a concern but another partnership may come together with Partners in the Horn who have a cottage industry set up in Ethiopia that makes sanitary kits using locally sourced fabric. We will investigate that exciting possibility further (which could even mean a trip to Ethiopia!)
A good friend once told me that poverty is an old tree with very deep roots that needs to be attacked through its many branches: literacy, nutrition, empowerment, sustainability, medicine, education… and that by having us all work together, we forge a bigger attack that will eventually topple the gnarled old tree. This will leave room for the new green shoot of hope and opportunity to grow in its place.
Thank you to all our partners who help us serve others in Uganda.