The festive season might be over but the memories it carries with some of the residents of Mutungo east of Kampala, are of joy, thanks to One Bag Uganda, a charity organisation that reaches out to less privileged people.
Its founder, Kisakye Namulondo, shared out food and scholastic materials and whereas the smiles with which locals received the items should have let her grinning, part of her pained that she could not do more.
“The concept for the charity is simple, a bag per family, filled with items that will help the less fortunate live easier, better or more comfortable lives,” she say.
In March 2014 One Bag decided that its first area would be Uganda. After just a few months of research and fundraising, One Bag managed to raise its first grand sum of £3,000 towards its first project.
“Our aim is to protect families from catching preventable diseases such as Malaria, Cholera and Pneumonia by giving a bag that had,” Namulondo founder of the charity explains.
Namulondo is a Ugandan born in the UK where she started the charity, in May 2014. The idea to start One Bag was born on the night she watched a programme on a television channel while home in London.
“I saw some children in a hospital in Uganda that were dying from malaria. It made me so sad that so many children die from a preventable disease such as malaria. So I told my mother and friends that I wanted to do something about it,” she recounts.
Namulondo registered the organisation as a charity and chose the name of One Bag Uganda, which was simply coined out of the need to provide basics to vulnerable people.
Over the last three years the charity has distributed mosquito nets, blankets, soap, basins, jerrycans, cups, plates, clothes and food items.
One Bag raises money through organising events such baking challenges and barbeques.
“In UK, I organise events throughout the year to raise money for the work we do here [in Uganda]. I have had events such as Bake Sales where I bake and sell confectionery stuff. I also hold dinner and dance fundraisings as well as barbeques, among others. We advertise these events on social media platforms and through friends and family,” she says.
According to Namulondo, One Bag Uganda has helped more than 1,000 people in the last three years amid challenges among them not being able to give as a much they would want to.
“Most of the people we meet need way more than what we can give, so even after we give them one of our bags, I still feel bad because I have only just scratched the surface of their problems,” she says.
Nonetheless, Namulondo is happy that many of the Ugandans they have interacted with, are grateful for the little they give, something that spurs her on to increase efforts towards the cause.
“They always pray for me and send me blessings. Their reaction is what makes me continue to work hard for them.”
“There is so many more people out there in Uganda that are living without mosquito nets, blankets or even soap. My aim is to at least cover the whole of Uganda and ensure that we can cut down on unnecessary and preventable deaths of old and young people,” she adds
Children, she argues, must at all cost be educated to curve a future for not only themselves but for the vulnerable people that live among their families.
To a stranger, Namulondo would pass for an intelligent, creative and innovative young woman.
However, she has a high sense of fashion and she is highly informed on the events that happen in within and beyond Uganda.
She is passionate about fashion and design that is perhaps inspired by her education background of having studied fashion promotion at the University for Creative Arts in Kent, London.
According to Namulondo, it is saddening that Ugandans are dying from treatable diseases such as Malaria.
This has inspired her into extending a helping hand through which she reaches out to vulnerable people such as the elderly and opharned children, offering them both emotional and financial support.
Her wish is to see young people get required education so that they can be empowered with necessary skills to pull themselves out of poverty.
Namulondo, together with a group of friends and well-wishers have so far been able to touch the lives of more than 1,000 people.