IBM Leicester complete life-changing charity work in East Africa
Making a huge difference to many lives doesn't cost as much as you might think...
A team of volunteers from IBM Client Innovation Centre in Leicester recently got together to raise money for those in need in East Africa. Led by Fuzail Patel, the fourteen volunteers held various fundraisers, and thanks to the support of their colleagues, friends & family, raised £5,000. Their aim was simple - to show that a small amount of money could make a massive difference somewhere else in the world.
A team of three - sponsor Mudassir Husain and his colleagues Teresa Badhan and Nasreen Jabbar decided to personally fund their own travel expenses and head out to East Africa to see the £5,000 put to great use in Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania. There is a strong historical connection between Leicester and East Africa, with thousands of Ugandan Asians migrating to Leicester in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The team researched and planned the trip for two months, getting in touch with local contacts and finding the best deals that would help to make their donations go further.
The biggest projects carried out by the team were providing clean water systems to local communities. A variety of water collection methods were used including rainfall harvest tanks and digging a borehole, which ultimately stops young children from walking miles to fetch dirty water.
The team worked long days for almost 3 weeks, often starting at 4am and ending at 10.30pm, to deliver nearly 30 individual projects, often working on four or five separate things in a day. “We didn’t want to waste any time so we did as much as we possibly could to make the most of it” says Mudassir.
One of the big issues in the countries visited is female sanitation. Not only do young girls skip school when menstruating, they are often ridiculed and do not have access to sanitary products. With the money raised, donations of AFRIpads, a specially designed reusable sanitary pad, were given to 700 students at a school in the Kalisizo village meaning they can continue their education without the fear of humiliation.
Other projects included help for schools and medical care. Schoolchildren were given textbooks, new school uniforms bought over from Asda, and blackboards which the team built from scratch. Maternity wards received new beds and mattresses, and a medical centre in Kenya received a brand new microscope to help with the testing of blood samples. These are only a few of the incredible donations that were made by the IBM team, with others including food parcels, blankets, mosquito nets, supplies for wheelchairs, sticks for the blind & solar lights for the homeless, plus many more.
“Leicester is an incredibly generous city that continues to give in times of need” says Mudassir, “we want to thank each and every person who donated to the cause”.
The team originally set out to raise awareness in the UK about how much change can be made with a relatively small amount of money, but they found that African locals were also inspired by their life-changing actions. “What’s great is that the campaign can be replicated easily anywhere in the world”, says Mudassir, “it just needs generosity, passion and planning - it’s amazing how much difference can be made”.