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I am on Day 296 of 365 Days of giving and it amazes me more each day the every day heroes that are reaching out all over the world to create a positive impact. I get to meet people through You Tube, Twitter and Facebook that I would never have met other wise. Since I am new to all the social media outlets many of my friends ask me if it’s strange to have exchanges with strangers but what I have come to discover are the wonderful things about social media. You get to meet people like minded people from all all over the world and you have the opportunity to build your own “tribe.” A village of people with a similar goal and mission. Mine happens to be making the world a better place and my new “tribe” of social media friends are doing just that – changing the world.
I met my guest today via Facebook. Anthony is a remarkable man that has putting “giving” as his priority in life and combines it as a career in Africa. Anthony’s story is unique as he has come from a family that includes 25 children in a country where the challenges of the people run deep. If I can give someone a voice that may not always get heard in North America I am happy to make it my give of the day.
Give 296: Day 296 by Anthony Kalulu
My work as a volunteer and giver dates back to the time I completed my Teacher Education and has since been two-faceted:
1) Social Inclusion
2) Environmental Conservation
I had a pitted childhood as my late Dad (a polygamist with over 25 children) stopped paying my tuition in my first year of secondary education. My mother, a non-working class poor woman who herself never went to school at all, started distilling alcohol as an income source and managed to take me through the 4-year Secondary Education, a tumultuous year during which Dad violently sent away Mum, all my maternal siblings (all 5 of them girls) and myself from home. Mum had bought a plot of land in the same village a year back; this is where we ended up until today.
At our new home, Mummy talked to a man who took me to work at a Maize Mill in Uganda’s Capital [Kampala]. I was a small boy and could not lift maize flour bags of 100 – 130kgs. I quit in two days. I did not want to return to the village either—as Dad was vocally sarcastic of my failures. I wandered the City’s streets for work at Car Washing Places and Construction sites, and ended up working at a Motorcycle garage.
When I started earning my own money at the Motorcycle repair shop, I shed off some of the home trauma I had sustained for 19 years. In the same year, the government introduced free teacher education. Upon course completion, I wanted to be a person who changes lives for others, so that I could see my own abused childhood from the other side of the line. When I began teaching I started a ‘Social Inclusion/Inclusive Education’ advocacy organization, the “Endowment of Special Education Promotion and Advocacy Foundation” (ESEPAF).
As a teacher, my initial idea was about main streaming the educational opportunities of children seen as being physically disabled. I spoke on the premise of “special education”—but, in retrospect to what I had personally gone through as a child even as I wasn’t disabled—my ultimate vision was that of “social inclusion” for children of all backgrounds and abilities. ESEPAF’s goal is that of promoting Inclusive basic education and social inclusion by involving schools and communities in developing inclusive policies and practices.
Giving to ALL children to be in school:
I knew schools hosted a whole heterogeneous child population who were subject to a myriad of home and school-based factors that leave them susceptible to school dropout. As I couldn’t help individual children, I needed a movement that engages everybody—school children, teachers and parents—in building communities in which every child is supported.
My personal GIVING to children (as a teacher):
I started my teaching career at Mutekanga Memorial Primary School. It is a public school providing free education to all school-age children. As a rural school located in a purely subsistence farming village, the school mostly hosts children from very poor households, many of them staying with their grandparents—often as orphans. Nearly a quarter of the school population is HIV/AIDS-orphaned children, supported with scholastic materials from Plan International-Uganda.
The best I can personally do and what I have done for the kids at this school is GIVING them inspiration and a feeling of being loved by adults. These are kids coming from very poor households. I bought a digital camera as a unique way to capture their school experiences. I trained children of all ages on how to use it and on a daily basis I let them take snapshots of themselves seated with their peers and teachers. They always talk about it when they go back home and indeed this thing alone has brought many new pupils to join our school. Namikisa Resty, the 10-year old Grade 5 girl who turned out to be the most skilled in photography, the school became her newfound loving home. She is an orphan; her Daddy died of AIDS and her mother also passed away last year. The camera gave her a love for school.
One of the other ways I have given back is by helping kids acquire new school uniforms from my little money. For some it was their first school uniform in years in school.
My giving is now evolving as I have found a need in Uganda that is so great. I am now in the process of transitioning from my teaching career to fully engage with the non-profit “Organic Perspectives” (also started by myself) on its mission of
1) Helping smallholder farmers in Uganda’s drastically deforested countryside to regenerate forests
2) Find an alternative household energy solution
3) Enhance their income levels through sustainable and economically viable agriculture
All my time, commitment and giving moving forward will be Organic Perspectives’ work. You can click through to read about my newest project Organic Perspectives. Giving never stops it is a life journey that we can all pursue. (Please note that as this website is hosted by aUKpartner, we are not able to post project updates on it. The information was our initial ideas of 2007, yet the work we are doing now has greatly evolved since.)
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I have been on my first 365give hiatus for the past few days due to internet challenges but I am back and now have a list of “gives” I look forward to sharing with you this week. I may not have been able to write every day about my “gives” but I will still able to give every day. Today’s give is something I am very proud being a part as it will save lives every day. It’s a new Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital that will be able to detect cancer before it ever has a chance to take a life.
Did you know that 1 in 7 men in Canada will get prostate cancer in their lifetime?
Day 294: Give 294
I do have a day job for those of you that think I make my millions writing 365give. I actually don’t make millions at all but I love what I do for a living. I like to think of myself as a modern day Robin Hood – I take from the rich and I give to great charitable organizations. I have a small business in event production that specializes in fundraising. I made a very concious choice may years ago that instead of going after large corporate contracts and making tons of money I would instead use my expertise in my field to raise money for charity. I may not make millions but I have raised millions over the past 15 years to give to worthy organizations that need the funds in many different ways. The causes have varied from feeding the homeless in partnership with Second Harvest, to special facilities for schools, surgical suites at hospitals and the list goes on.
This past week I helped to complete a $500,000 commitment to Sunnybrook Hospital to build an Early Detection Centre.
It’s a Centre like no other making guests feel welcome and comfortable rather than being just another patient in a long line of “sick people” with a number in hand waiting for hours to see a doctor.
The Gelato Cup Golf Early Detection Centre has been built by raising funds through a charity golf tournament called The Gelato Cup. I work with 5 gentleman that are pillars in the Toronto community when it comes to philanthropy. They have set the bar high for others to follow proving that we all can give whether individually or working together. I helped to create the Gelato Cup 13 years ago with the Board of Directors. The first year we raised $19,000 – we thought that was pretty good for our first golf tournament. This year we will have raised over $150,000 and to date over $1,200,000. Not bad for a little golf tournament. Not only have we built this new Early Detection Centre but we built 2 surgical suites and have purchased much needed research and educational tools for the hospital.
Our mission has been simple. We want to help be part of helping find a cure for Prostate Cancer. We support research, treat and now early detection of prostate cancer before it can take more lives.
This could be considered a “big give” because of the amount of money that has been raised but I couldn’t do it alone. I am surrounded but a community of very generous people that know and understand that together, if we all give what we can, a huge difference can be made in the world. Helping to find a cure for cancer is a big goal many organizations are trying to achieve. Whether it’s prostate cancer, breast cancer or any other type of cancer we are all touched in our lives by it. It may be our mothers and fathers, Aunt’s and Uncles, sisters and brothers or best friends.
What I do know for sure is the Gelato Cup Golf Early Detection Centre will save lives today and I am proud to partner with some amazing people that are changing the world one day at a time.
Time Commitment: A career choice 15 years ago to give
Do you know that song “Feeling Hot Hot Hot?” That is Toronto right now. I’m talking Canada. Since visiting here the temperature has only been rising. Today it felt like 40C and by tomorrow it will feel like 48C. Today I was running around trying to get some last minute work items completely in the downtown core and I found the perfect way to give when it is so hot you want you don’t even want to go outside.
Day 293: Give 293
I am in Toronto working on a large fundraising event I am producing tomorrow. It’s what I do for a living and event production is a high stress job. I work on this event for months in Vancouver than fly into Toronto a few days before the function and pull it all together. It means my phone never stops ringing, the emails come in faster than I can answer them and I have many last minute details to finish. Giving is not on my top 25 list of things to do the day before an event. It’s 10:30 at night and I am just getting my post done for the day. Only 14 hours behind schedule. Do you have days like this? Do you wonder how you will get it all done?
Today a give presented it self and I walked right past it. I had my “blinders” on as I like to call them and was so worried about my own little life I didn’t want to stop and help. But I did. I actully went back 10 minutes later to complete the give I had so quickly walked past earlier.
I was at a major intersection waiting to cross the road and a gentleman was sitting on the side walk asking for money. It was 40C out with the humidity and he was sitting there with his dog asking for help. I ignore them and just kept walking. I ran into a store to get my errand done and the image of this poor man and his dog sitting in the street haunted me. I couldn’t imagine having to sit there all day just trying to raise enough money for food or more importantly water on such a hot day.
I ran back to the corner where I had seen them and not only gave him some money but gave him the large bottle of water I was carrying. I could get another bottle but I didn’t know if he could.
Tonight I will sleep better knowing I took the time to help another human being in need and his dog. Sometimes we have or blinders on when it comes to giving. Sometimes we don’t find the time in the day to give. But I am living proof it can be done. You can give every day. Just open your eyes and your heart and give – everyday.
Time Commitment: Could have been 1 minute if I did it the first time.
Cost: A bottle of water and $5.00 cash