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Kate's Diary Part Three

Wow, my last full day in Mannya. Each morning Nathan (Cotton On Foundation Coffee Consultant),Tim (Cotton On Foundation General Manager) and I, have risen at 6am to catch the sunrise on the top of Mount Mannya. Such a great way to start the day and the view is sensational. To sit there each morning and to look over Mannya village, especially with two people who have had a massive part in why Mannya is the way it is, was just so special.

In November 2013 we launched our first Follow Your Dollar campaign where we asked you our customer, to tell us how you would help Cotton On Foundation and our goal to break the cycle of poverty in Southern Uganda. 

Kate, a primary school teacher from Torquay in Australia got to follow her dollar all the way to Uganda! Kate has come home with a beautifully written diary where she recounts some of the beautiful experiences from her trip. This is the final entry in a three part series. Check out the first part here and second here.

13/12/13

Wow, my last full day in Mannya. Each morning Nathan (Cotton On Foundation Coffee Consultant),Tim (Cotton On Foundation General Manager) and I, have risen at 6am to catch the sunrise on the top of Mount Mannya. Such a great way to start the day and the view is sensational. To sit there each morning and to look over Mannya village, especially with two people who have had a massive part in why Mannya is the way it is, was just so special.

As I begin to reflect on my time in Mannya, I started to think about the moments that really stood out. Obviously, my welcoming with the kinder students, my time in Qatar with Trina (Uganda Project Manager), Paul (International Development Manager) and Nathan, my endless conversations with Jimmy and meeting with the brilliant people who work in the Mannya village – they are all stand out moments. It’s so crazy to think about all the hard work and dedication that has gone into this village. Mannya being deemed, mission impossible to now being mission POSSIBLE! Even the president of Uganda has been here to recognise all the work that has been done. To think of the work that the Cotton On Foundation team have done with the people here, is just mind blowing. They are here to help these people, to educate them and to help them live a sustainable life and for them to then, teach others.

I now see why, it’s so important to come to Mannya- to see where the money is going. There’s no point just throwing money into a village and leaving – you need to stay there and make sure the money is being used the right way. I completely take my hat off to the Cotton On Foundation team, in particular, the work I saw first hand through Trina, Tim and Paul. For Trina, Tim and Paul, it was meetings all day long, looking at education, infrastructure, health care, agriculture and in particular the coffee business – such an exciting new venture for Nathan and the Cotton On Foundation team.

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I truly hope it is super successful for the Foundation and the people of Mannya. I am also blown away by the future plans for Southern Uganda. I know Busibo is the next village to focus on, but the Cotton On Foundation have not forgotten about the surrounding areas. The impact they are having in these areas, is life changing and incredibly exciting to watch. You can see how grateful the people of Uganda are but you can also see there is still, a lot of work to do.

I am still pinching myself that I am here in Mannya watching all this happen. I am so so so lucky, but I am beginning to understand why I was taken over. I think, being a teacher, you have so much influence on the younger generation and guiding them to be the best they can be. I know my experience will help shape the students in my class, and if only a couple of students take on board my experience and it inspires them to do something to help the world, then I have succeeded.

Typing all this up now has actually been a great way to process everything I saw and did. Going to such a remote part of the world, that’s so far away and thrown into a completely different life for three days and then thrown straight back into the reality of the last week of school back home immediately after, it was a massive few weeks. And to be honest, I haven’t really had the time to sit down and properly reflect on that week. I often think of the people in Mannya and wonder what they are doing today. It’s so pleasing to know that they have the support of the Cotton On Foundation and that their goals in Mannya are being achieved. I really look forward to one day, going back to Mannya and visiting the village again. I want to leave enough time in between visits, so I can see the change from when I was there last. I still can’t believe I had this, most amazing experience and it’s something I’ll cherish forever.

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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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