What's the story, Mr. Ogwal? Foundation for success
For the past six years, Quinto Ogwal has run a foundation for vulnerable and traumatized children who have been affected by the conflict in Northern Uganda.
Growing up in Uganda I saw poverty all around me and knew that I wanted to do something to make a difference to the people in my community. So in 2012, my wife Phiona and I created the Hope Christian Foundation in the town of Dokolo, an organization dedicated to housing and educating individuals – mostly children – who have been traumatized or displaced by conflict in the north of the country. Over the last six years we’ve been able to reach out to more than 350 orphans and vulnerable children and give them a primary school education.
Seeing the way the kids’ lives change in just a few days is humbling. Even simple things can make a big difference to them. They can be so excited to receive their school uniforms, for instance, because it’s the only piece of clothing they have that isn’t torn. That always gives me chills. And seeing the happiness in their eyes because they are able to get three meals a day warms my heart.
I have a job, too – I work for DHL Express as a customs official. That keeps me busy five days a week and on weekends I work at the foundation. The foundation’s major source of funding has been both my and Phiona’s salaries, which isn’t nearly enough to run things properly, so we rely on a team of volunteers.
Earlier this year, however, I was named regional winner of “DHL‘s Got Heart,” an initiative that celebrates the work that DHL Express employees do for charitable causes. The prize money I won allowed our foundation to build a new classroom block and a kitchen and have three classrooms completely plastered. It also meant we could buy more land to build on and use for sustainable farming, and it helped us acquire school materials and desks and hire qualified teachers, among other things. The kids are so excited and can’t wait to get into the classroom to start studying. Winning the award has also given me new confidence.
I’ll always remember the day we started construction on the classroom. Over 50 children who had already gone through the foundation returned for a ceremony, and seeing them again and their attitude toward life was incredible. They had big plans for their futures and all were doing well. That was one of the proudest moments of my life. — Tony Greenway
Published: November 2018
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