On the Ground in Uganda With the Cotton On Foundation
Perspective? Totally. Gratitude? Absolutely. A whirlwind trip to southern Uganda to visit the Cotton On Foundation projects gave me a lot to think about. But the strongest thoughts and feelings were all about help. What I felt most was a want to help. What overwhelmed me most was the magnitude of help needed and what I gained most was an appreciation for the complicated mechanics of providing help on such a large scale.
Uganda is has 42 million people in a land mass a little bigger than Victoria. Fifty percent of that population are under 16.
Among many other things, (including the answer to all my crafting needs) stores under the Cotton On Group umbrella are the best and usually cheapest places to pick up a bottle of water when you're mid-shopping spree. A lot of shoppers know their $2 water contributes to schools in Uganda, but, oh man, there is so much more to it.
Cotton On Foundation have been in Southern Uganda since 2007, in fact, it was founded because of it. Cotton On Group founder Nigel Austin was asked to make a donation to a health clinic in Mannya, in the Rakai District. He said yes, but was eager to see it for himself. Back then, Tim Diamond (seen below), now Cotton On Foundation's general manager, was working on more local philanthropic projects for Cotton On, and he still remembers Nigel returning from that first trip to Mannya. "He walked in and I turned around and said, 'How'd you go?' and he grabbed me on the shoulder and said, 'Mate, get the next flight across.'"