Upon just finishing my first summer (of what i anticipate to be many!) volunteering with Fount of Mercy, I left both beyond satisfied with my experience and teammates, as well as inspired and rejuvenated in life. I had a year in preparation for my Uganda trip, and one would think that after a year of anticipation that i would be disappointed. It was the exact opposite. I don't think my mind could have possibly imagined the joy i would find in volunteering, and especially with such a well organized, understanding and professional group. While in Uganda i photographed the 6 grassroots organizations that Fount partners with. Not only did i feel prepared for my adventures thanks to the amazing staff, but i also felt comfortable talking with the team before, during and after. Fount of Mercy is really doing something right when it comes to volunteer work. The level of compassion, responsibility, love, and passion that is put into their work is very moving, and i am honored to be a part of its history and future.
In the summer of 2007, I traveled to Uganda on a Travel with Purpose team and had my life changed through that experience with Fount of Mercy! While in Uganda, I spent time facilitating education training workshops for Ugandan educators. Once I was back in the USA, I had the privilege of working with Fount of Mercy as the Educational Development Director, overseeing the overall educational development program. The organization does an excellent job of connecting stateside volunteers with Ugandans in a way that the stateside volunteers can use their skills to strengthen Ugandans. Fount of Mercy focuses on empowerment of the Ugandans it connects with. I have loved my time and experiences volunteering with Fount of Mercy!
I was honored to help Fount of Mercy raise awareness and funds for their work in Uganda by assisting Tara Hawks with planning the first Sewing Hope Fashion Show in New York City. Working closely with Ms. Hawks and other Fount of Mercy Staff I was able to get a very close look at the work they have accomplished in Uganda. Their unique partnership approach is truly about empower the people of Uganda and helping build their capacity. The work Sewing Hope has done has had a direct impact on women, by teaching them how to sew. This skill is then used to help fuel the economy in their communities and also pass along the skills they learn to others. The Fashion Show Fundraiser is an incredible way for the Sewing Hope project of Fount of Mercy to showcase their work and encourage people in the United States to either travel to Uganda to help with the partner organizations there, or to help support their work financially. I was honored to help with this Fundraiser and continue to support the work Fount of Mercy is doing and plans to do. They are an incredible group of women and I hope to join them on a trip to Uganda to see the women and orphans they have been helping first hand.
I think Fount of Mercy is an amazing organization. My first experience with Fount was when I traveled with my church's youth group to TAOST. Fount set our youth group up at TAOST where we assisted the teachers during the morning lessons. Teaching English was a huge focus and we utilized fun games, songs, and readings to help the children learn. During the afternoon sessions we led vacation bible school activities (i.e. games, arts and crafts,...) and played a lot of football (or soccer :)) As a chaperon, I was extremely nervous to take these youth to a third world country that none of us had every experienced. Fount of Mercy met with us multiple times in order to prepare us for this trip. They covered everything from team building exercises, to differences in the culture, to what to pack, to even going over our lesson plans and activities. Once on the ground in Jinja, Uganda Fount's attention to detail continued. Lori, an employee of Fount, handled our lodging, transportation, food, and also planned activities away from TAOST for our youth to see even more of Uganda. I was so impressed with Fount of Mercy's mission of assisting grass root African organizations to care for and educate orphans that I immediately began planning a trip for the following year. I felt a bond with the children of TAOST so me and two friends decided to travel back. Fount of Mercy representatives were just as awesome if not even more so in planning for this trip. They took the skills of our three person team and focused on how we could best benefit TAOST. With Fount's help we set up lesson plans to include a variety of instructional strategies for the morning sessions and the afternoon sessions would then be spent with teaching the teachers how to incorporate these strategies into their lessons. While the trip was a lot of work, it was extremely rewarding. I often wonder if the trip did more for me then my work did at TAOST. However, I do know the lessons the teachers of TAOST learned from our time there will benefit the children for years to come. Fount of Mercy allowed me to use some of my skills and education to help others. Fount made the trip planning easy so we were able to really focus on the mission of helping. Looking forward to my third trip back!
Wonderful people to for/with. A HIGHLY organized and hard-working group of people, and, most importantly, a cause this is so worthy. Tell your story here and help others understand this charity
I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Fount of Mercy's project Director for Sewing Hope, Tara Hawks, in planning and executing the annual fashion show fundraiser in New York city. From day one, Tara and her team had a clear vision and passion for this project that was easily contagious. Seeing the need in Uganda for women to have marketable skills, Sewing Hope has found a way to turn the NY fashion industry into their source for support. It was inspiring to see some of New York's talented and acclaimed designers create and donate garments made from African fabric to raise money that will go directly back to purchase sewing machines, fabric, and support the training of women in Uganda. What's even better is that Sewing Hope is seeing these women form partnerships and support each other. They are actively encouraged to reinvest in their growing garment businesses. I am so impressed with how Sewing Hope/Fount of Mercy shows stewardship of its funds. Every decision in the planning of the event was focused on how it will best serve the women in Uganda. From the raffle, to the guest refreshments (our wine sponsor was a company owned and operated by two women out of CA), Sewing Hope has aligned itself with donors, volunteers, and vendors that support empowering women and are eager to see growth for Sewing Hope and, therefore, Fount of Mercy's global impact.
I had a unique window into the Sewing Hope wing of the Font of Mercy organization. I watched 24 hours of random footage detailing the women involved in a tailoring program which was set up to train AIDS widows in sewing so that they'd have income and can keep their families together. I was impressed by how Fount of Mercy finds ways to fund and provide supplies and technical assistance to already existing organizations which are run by Ugandan nationals. That way, these orgs are on their way to self-sufficiency. I was really impressed with all I saw in this footage, and how the women are drawn into the process of deciding what they need.