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Education | 25 June 2015

From The Field: Rachel's Trip to Uganda (Part 2)

Earlier this year, our Communications Coordinator Rachel had the opportunity to visit our projects in Southern Uganda, so that she could report back the impact we’re having in these communities. It left her feeling inspired and proud of how much has been achieved, thanks to the support of our incredible customers.This is Part 2 of her story.

I have looked at the Mannya 2008 and Mannya 2014 photos almost every day, spoken about Mannya village to anyone who will listen for over 2 years, yet I was still in awe when I first drove into the township. Wow! What a difference we have really made to this community.

When I took a walking tour I was even more impressed. The big schools, the new kindergarten, the dorms for teachers and students, offices for our staff, there are so many great things in this village now.
It helped me visualise what is in store for Busibo in a coming years. However it wasn’t the buildings that impressed me most, it was the people. People in Mannya go out of their way to say hello, children follow you everywhere laughing and holding your hand. We certainly feel very loved in Mannya.  

Our schedule in Mannya was a busy one which meant we got to see everything. Not only did we spend time in Mannya but we also visited outreach communities, which are next on the list to receive support. One of these was Nubbunga, a crumbling school sitting on top of a hill above Mannya. Meeting the teachers and students here was wonderful. Thanks to the support of Cotton On and their “I Give A Brick” campaign, a new school will soon be built in Nubbunga. People are so excited!

I met Madiina, a mother of four who lives only a 5 minute walk from Nubbunga Primary School. Last year her children went to another school that was a 30min walk away as she believed the facilities at Nubbunga were not good enough. However this year she moved them to Nubbunga Primary, as she heard of the plans for the new school. She told me that the new school is providing hope to the community and will make the children in the community more educated.

Another amazing opportunity for me was when I met my sponsor child, Violah. Violah has written to me that she loved singing, dancing, playing netball, reading and studying. These happen to be all things that I love (well, apart from the study!) so I knew we would get along well! Violah was the most vibrant, well spoken 15 year-old that I have ever met. She spoke to me about the extracurricular activity she did, which was pretty much everything available, and also about how much she loved to study. She also told me that before I sponsored her she walked 6kms to school every day, and 6kms home. She would get home and it would be too dark to study. She now lives in the dorms and has everything she needs to receive a quality education.

After spending quite a bit of time with her, including having dinner with her on the last night I told her I was very proud of her. To which she responded: “No I am very proud of you, you are doing such wonderful things in Mannya.”

Truth is, I am only able to experience this and the Cotton On Foundation is only able to do such wonderful things because of our customers. It’s thanks to every person who purchase a Cotton On Foundation product from a Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids, Typo or Rubi store that we are able make a difference. Whilst the journey is never ending, I know that without our customers none of this would be possible. They really are changing people’s lives. 

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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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