Lots has happened in the past year and I thought it was high time I let you in on what’s been going on. This year has seen the first DoubleMe team land on Ugandan soil to work with a bunch of truly wonderful people, affectionately known as ‘Team Pioneer’. The trip has been in the planning stage for a long time and, those of you who know me well will know that a skiing accident two-and-a-half years ago has slowed progress considerably. That’s been a good thing though, as I’ve had time to plan and work things out which I’m sure helped in the creation of the trip.
Whilst we were in Uganda, we worked with Wellspring and joined in with what was going on both in school and the community. We were introduced to the seventeen teachers at school and worked with them on areas they had identified. On Saturdays we ran workshops where teachers from the local area came together to learn about phonics, behaviour management and teaching and learning strategies to mention but a few sessions. These were a great success and we also gained more of an understanding of what is means to be a teacher in Uganda. We also visited two village schools in Tororo called Mbula and Apkor. Their teachers have been working with Plan International and were doing an incredible job with the little resources and masses of creativity they have. In the months before the trip, we set up an Amazon wish list for the trip, which was an enormous success – it was overwhelming, arriving with not only 44 suitcases between us (only 43 arrived – let’s not split hairs!) but the process of unpacking them and showing teachers how to use the resources throughout our time there. If you were one of the donors, thank you, from the very bottom of our hearts. Many teachers and children will benefit from the resources and hopefully be inspired to learn in different ways.
We all learnt lots on the trip. The team worked incredibly hard, showing insight, expertise and sensitivity. I couldn’t be more proud of them for their individual gifts and skills and the collective impact of this as a result of their willingness to share what they have and know. A couple of moments stand out in my mind over the trip. One of them was talking to Florence, who is an elder at Wellspring church and as a librarian, has a keen interest in learning. After one of the Saturday training sessions she said, “I love your t-shirts. They say ‘Changed people change the world’ and you are helping us change our world.’ This is it for me. This is the very heart of DoubleMe. It’s what makes my heart beat faster, it’s the marrow in my bones. Change can only happen when people realise their sphere of influence and decide to make an impact. Short-lived trips often have minimal impact and what I’m really hoping is that DoubleMe trips can enable people to maximise their impact by being intentional about the way we partner and work together. The team are currently getting stuck into their day jobs back in the UK and some of them have enthusiastically agreed to continue the DoubleMe journey, wherever it may take them; linking their schools with the ones we visited, fundraising, talking to future ‘doublers’ and possibly getting on a plane to Uganda again!
DoubleMe has started. The story has begun. It started a long time ago and as I said to the team as I left them to go on safari, they have made my dream come true. I know it’s only the beginning though. I know there’s more to come. We’ve crossed the start line and are learning how to run this race. On a personal note, this means deferring ordination training for me so I have more time and energy to spend on DoubleMe. It’s a big decision and I sense a peace about it that I can’t quite explain. I’ll be going to Uganda for November and December, ready to set up the job for Rhonda, our six-month volunteer, arriving in January. It’s exciting and scary, exhilarating and terrifying walking into the unknown. It’s at those times that you need people, isn’t it? I’m saying I need you. I need your support in whatever form you can give. I need your friendship, love and generosity as this gets off the ground. I need an amazing dream-team of DoubleMe champions who will tell the story and invite others to get involved. I need people to give to the charity. I’m funding myself through working as a teacher four days a week and need to raise some money for the organisation to register as a charity (currently under the umbrella of Links International), to connect with people through events and the website and of course to further our work in Uganda building momentum with teacher conferences, trips and building relationships with new partners in due course.
Up to now, I’ve either been inviting you on a trip or asking you to buy something from a wishlist. This time, I’m asking for a few different things.
How you can help:
1. Consider helping with your hard-earned cash. You can set up a Standing Order or send us a one off gift using the details below:
Lloyds TSB Bank plc – North Middlesex Centre
Sort code: 30-99-86
Account name: Links International Projects
Account number: 00432695
Please use reference ‘3100′ so it reaches the DoubleMe account.
2. Spread the word through your own networks about up-coming trips.
Easter trip: http://www.tearfund.org/en/about_you/go_overseas/current_trips/double_me_to_uganda/
Summer trip: http://www.tearfund.org/en/about_you/go_overseas/current_trips/double_me_to_uganda_summer/
3. If you’re interested in being a Champion, you can share events and news with your churches or schools, friends or family. Email if you’d like to get involved this way at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Pray, if you’re a prayer. For vision, people, timing, finances, resources.
Chat, if you’re a chatter; about how you can be part of the DoubleMe story. Get in touch.
Or talk to others where you see they might be able to help.
I know many of you can’t ‘go’ at the moment so I hope there’s a way you can join in with the adventures!
I don’t know how else to say this, DoubleMe needs YOU!