Kampala 2015: Solar, Soccer and a Sustainable Future

 

About the Trip

Now that All We Are is in its sixth year as an organization, we are ramping up our efforts to establish a presence in Uganda whenever possible, in order to meet with partners in person, assess the needs of the people we’re working with, and to take data for new projects. All We Are founder Nathan Thomas traveled to Uganda January 28th and spent two weeks working with local organizations, schools and individuals to strengthen All We Are’s relationships in the area and get to work on several projects.

One of the biggest highlights of the trip for Nathan was meeting Renee Waun, head of the African Rural Schools Foundation, in person. Six years ago, when All We Are was just a dream and Nathan was first dipping his toe in the nonprofit world, Renee was a huge help and inspiration to getting his first project of the ground. Nathan wanted to help bring computers to kids in Africa and contacted numerous nonprofits operating in Africa. Renee was the only one to respond. Her support and enthusiasm for Nathan’s vision was paramount in shaping Nathan and helping him to to launch his project, and ultimately his organization.

“It was great to meet Renee in person for the first time,” Nathan says. “I will be forever grateful to her for taking a chance on me.”

 

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Solar

Nathan went to Kampala with the intention of taking the initial data for a solar project for the New ABC Divine Boarding School. However, after assessing the level of difficulty of installing the project, he was motivated to get the whole thing done during his stay.

“Our water project took so long—nearly two years,” Nathan says. “Going forward, I want to strive to make things happen as quickly as possible.”

Nathan got to work meeting dozens of solar suppliers in the area. It was a tedious process, as Uganda is full of scam artists looking to take advantage of charities and businesses that don’t know better than to work with them. After vetting several options, Nathan found Solar Africa, a legitimate solar company with reasonable prices, and discovered he could source all the necessary components for less than $1,000 USD. With the help of some great partners at the boarding school, the solar lights were set up throughout the school. The school is now completely lit with solar power, including the grounds outside, which can be especially dangerous in the dark.

 

“Finishing a project that quickly is a great feeling and I like the direction we’re now headed in. I think working on a project with urgency and excellence is a good precedent for All We Are’s future projects,” says Nathan.

The goal is to bring similar solar light systems to other schools in Uganda. While in Kampala, Nathan visited the Bright Community School in Kyebando to take initial data for installing a system there. All We Are is currently seeking funding for this project and we plan to get it off the ground very soon.

 

Kickin’ It Back Campaign

Thanks to the generosity of so many wonderful supporters, we successfully hosted our first ever All We Are Soccer Tournament at the boarding school. The kids looked amazing in their new soccer gear and they had a blast playing each other for the championship. We’re still collecting gently used soccer gear to send to more school kids, so if you’re interested in donating, please let us know at info@allweare.org.

 

Looking Forward

All We Are’s vision remains the same—we want to continue to change people’s lives through innovative engineering. We will continue to seek out ways to bring sustainable development projects to Uganda, and to be the change we want to see in the world.


As always, thank you for your continued support of our organization!

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