Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sometimes, you just have to ask!

Over the past few weeks Ridealist has been planning to produce a video for a grassroots non-profit in Uganda that has an open door to needy children, mostly orphans.

You can learn more about them, and see some stunning pictures, on their Facebook page here.

In the words of the group's founder, Mukhobeh Moses Khaukha, "When the children arrive here they have nothing. Some of them have travelled several miles, alone, afraid and hungry, just to get here. We can't turn anyone away, obviously. But resources are limited and we do need help."

The district where the orphanage is located has had its fair share of misfortunes as Moses explains, "Hundreds of children here are without parents. We are faced with a huge orphan problem due to a widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic, malaria, a recent landslide, and poverty. Malnutrition is a major problem."

To begin with, our plan is to conduct an interview with Moses via Skype video and then overlay his comments with many of the amazing photographs he has taken of the children.

This has its limitations of course, but we hope it will still be a simple but compelling enough video to generate the kind of interest Moses and his colleagues so desperately need to help the children.

We have some good friends who have contacts with various other groups that we can approach to help spread the word through hosting the video.

It would be a good start.

But what we'd really like to do is go there. To Uganda. Spend some time with Moses and the children and produce a video that will give the complete picture.

Their hopes, ambitions. The challenges.

"We believe it's far better for us to help them by giving them ownership of income generating projects which will promote long-term self-reliance and sustainability," Moses told me, "We have many projects that we'd like to implement such as a poultry farm to help cover the expenses of setting up other facilities for the children, schools and future sponsorship for higher education."

We already have some support to promote a video that is shot on location. A mutual friend of Moses has introduced us to a major fundraiser who has kindly offered to host the video on his website.

A well-known Africa analyst and broadcaster, the London-based Ayo Johnson, has volunteered to help the project with consultation, help to arrange interviews and narrate the finished product.

Ridealist just needs to get there.

Our essential "business model" if you can call it that, is of a purely volunteer service to grassroots and small non-profits. That is, we do not seek payment nor expenses.

In fact, our pledge is that any "residuals" or payments that are made for reproducing our work by television stations or news websites is forwarded to the charity concerned.

Obviously this is not what many would describe as a sustainable way of doing things from any point of view.

Consequently we do plan to register as a non-profit or society at some point in order that we may solicit donations or sponsorship to help us continue our volunteer activities on a wider scale.

But the needs of the children now dictate that this project has to precede the official documentation, the registration.

Which is why we are asking for help.

Ridealist is willing and prepared to cover most of the expenses for this project out of our own pocket - but the airfare is beyond our means at this point.

Faced with this we came to the conclusion that sometimes, you just have to ask:

Can you help?

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