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Education | 02 November 2015

From The Field: Jimmy's photo journal

Cotton On Group employee Jimmy epitomizes our Cotton On Foundation values, in particular our core value of fun – we genuinely love what we do and have fun doing it!

His passion is inspiring and with one of the biggest hearts, Jimmy’s cheeky grin hasn’t left his face in the two and half years he’s been working for the Cotton On Foundation. 

Earlier this year Jimmy joined the team on a trip to visit our projects and experience firsthand the difference we’re making in the remote villages of Southern Uganda.

Jimmy is a passionate photographer and in our latest Cotton On Foundation Journal, he has shared with us his favorite photos from his trip and the incredible stories behind the images.

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Bruno is 18 years old and thanks to the Cotton On Foundation sponsorship program, he attends S4 (senior 4, which is like year 10) at St Bernard’s Secondary School.  I stubbed my toe when entering his family home; they all thought this was pretty funny - as did I. After that it was nonstop jokes and laughter. Bruno's mum, Jacent was so thankful for her son’s sponsorship, I think she held my hand for at least 15 minutes saying webalee (thank-you)! 

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Gertrude seemed super shy, however once the camera came out she was a different person! It was on, posing left right and center. When chatting about school and her interests, she was really quick to tell me that she wants to become a teacher so she can give back what she has been given. Pretty amazing given she’s only 16 years old. She’s in S4 at St Bernard’s Secondary School.

Other than study, singing and dancing are passions of Gertrude; I tried pushing for a couple of notes but the shy side came back out. She said she’d send me a tape, I’m still waiting.

I feel she gets maturity from being the oldest of six siblings. It’s just her dad at home, who farms Irish potatoes, maize and coffee, so it’s with this income and through the support of sponsorship that all of his children are able to attend school and receive an education. 

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When I met Elisha, (13 and a sponsor child) and his older brother Elimia (20), I was bowled over by their story. Elimia told me how their mum and dad abandoned them when he was only 15 years of age. He took on the responsibility of caring for his two younger brothers and got work laboring for local farmers digging holes (for planting trees).  He also grows Irish potatoes, maize, bananas and beans to feed his family- if he grows a lot then he sells the excess for extra income. The sponsorship program helps supplement the fees for Elisha’s education and the younger members of the family. I was pretty inspired when he told me he loves school and wants to become a doctor. 

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This is a great little pic taken in Busibo primary school. Pretty tricky getting a shot of the kids without the entire classroom smiling at the camera however this little girl stood out as she was so focused on the blackboard. It’s a special thing to witness kids so thirsty for knowledge!  

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I met this lady in the Busibo medical center. She had just had a blood sample taken for a HIV test. We sat and spoke for a while, about where I was from and why I was there, about her family and education. It’s truly amazing how devastating HIV is in Uganda. The rate is getting better however so much more work has to be done.  

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The trek to school in Busibo is a great sight to see. Tiny kids walking little tracks which lead into larger tracks and eventually onto the same road to school. This little girl would have to be only two or three years old and attending school with her brother because the parents have to work. Her shoes caught my attention, easily five sizes too big.

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Easily the biggest smile and loudest laugh I witnessed on my trip. Teopista is lab technician at the medical centre in Busibo. On this day she was taking blood samples and testing for HIV and Malaria. What led to her laughter was me noticing something funny as I took her photo.

She was looking through the microscope for approximately 10 minutes, fiddling the knobs and focusing the microscope looking at a blood sample. I took a few pictures and checked to see how they came out, and I noticed there wasn’t even a slide under the microscope. She was examining nothing... for 10 minutes! I asked her about it and she replied with “I thought I better look busy and use the microscope as it’s an important piece of equipment!” I explained that in the photos you could see that there wasn’t a slide under the microscope and it might look a little funny examining nothing. She was silent for a second and then started to crack up laughing at the thought. I thought we'd try to get a serious portrait outside, but as you can see she kept on laughing.

 

 

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The Cotton On Foundation is the Cotton On Group’s philanthropic arm, funding projects in Australia and overseas through a unique partnership with customers and employees. We have a number of designated initiatives currently underway and unfortunately are unable to support additional projects at this time.

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