My husband and I and our three sons have been sponsoring two children through Change A Life Uganda almost since the inception of this wonderful charity. We feel so blessed to be a part of this organization as we have seen so many grass roots projects come to fruition. Our children have been able to become pen pals with the children in Uganda and have corresponded on numerous occasions throughout the years. We even had the opportunity to Skype with them for the first time ever in Migyera, Uganda! From raising money to build a school, purchase school uniforms, medical kits, beds, CLEAN DRINKING WATER, develop a medical clinic, computers...the list goes on and on. The founders go every summer to ensure our funds are going to the right place and are in touch with the sponsors via emails, newsletters, Facebook so we have all become one family. They never cease to amaze us by what they have accomplished in such a short period of time! Our wish would be to meet our sponsored children in person, maybe one day :)
In today's difficult economy it is imperative to seek out organizations that provide the best return for one's limited charitable donations. I look for the "integrity factor" that must govern a not for profit organization. I have seen and indeed, contributed to organizations that provide wonderful services, but do so with a qualified staff, but an expensive infrastructure. These are good and well intentioned, but are not as effective as they could be.
I discovered on a trip to Uganda, a group of dedicated individuals who sought a worthwhile endeauver and the proceeded to do somehing about it. They found a way to provide direct aid to those who needed it most. They did this by first making an analysis of the most severe problems, finding a solution to the problems and then worked to find a way to impliment the solution.
The main problems involved were lack of water, medical facilities, educational and financial training. This would be a venture to give aid to a society that has been denied basic needs of life, not hrough the fault of individuals, but due to poor government, limited resources.
Jean Semler and Dave Thalen worked to provide solutions to these problems by founding "Change A Life Uganda" or (CALU). Using their own funds, they promoted "charitable giving groups" among their friends, schools, church groups, community organizationsand any and all who would listen to their pleas. When you discover that every cent raised is used to provide solutions to the problems facing people in need, how can you refuse to help?
The reward you receive is to see pictures of schools being built, orphanages being construdted, small business program "start-ups" with sewing machines, or chicken or pig farm initiatives. For a special treat see a huge well with a pumping station that will provide water for an entire school and dormitory. Dreams have become a reality...all with every dollare donated going to fulfilling God's wishes.
I support ChangeALife Uganda because of the quality and integrity of the people involved and the intensity of their belief in the cause of the organization. Their hands-on approach means there are no "middlemen" interpreting intentions or diverting needed funds. ChangeALife Uganda has made incredible progress in a short period of time, and is poised for even more. These changes include bringing better education to hundreds of children who otherwise would not receive it, providing microfinance opportunities at below-market interest rates to reach those who could not afford a standard bank loan, and providing healthcare where it once was, for all purposes, non-existent. Best of all, these are not "one-shot" efforts, ChangeALife is focused on long-term change and the sustainability of that change. Working with ChangeALife has been an exciting and rewarding experience.