In 2018, Kato one of the young people we mentor at Faces Up Uganda was absent from school for almost a year. While his parents were able to look after the boy, they couldn’t afford to cover his school fees, so he spent most days drawing and playing at our community centre. Although we were doing our best to guide him, it was evident that he should really be in school, receiving a formal education, making friends with his peers, and laying the foundations for his future. We asked ourselves whether there was something we could do to make this happen.

We took a look at some of the drawings he’d made during his time at our centre, and wondered how we could use them to raise enough money to cover his school fees. One idea was to print his drawings on postcards and sell them within our circles. We excitedly embarked on this project, selecting the best drawings, sourcing a local printer, and going into production.

Unfortunately, the quality of the printing and the paper used for the postcards turned out to be lower quality than we’d hoped. On top of that, we realized that we’d need to sell at least 650 cards to raise the money needed for just one year’s school fees. That would take too long. So we began to explore the idea of tote bags and realized that selling only nineteen of these would raise enough funds to cover three of his school terms.

Since then, we’ve never looked back. We scaled up our support from one young person to over 80, with the number growing every day, thanks to increasing sales and the presence of a webstore. Originally, our focus was on supporting primary school children, but in 2019, we extended the program to include secondary school pupils.

We’re excited to offer even greater support to children in the future, because when people like you make purposeful purchases, it helps many more children to attend school, get a good education, hone their artistic skills, generate wonderful works of art, and follow their dreams. Will you make a purposeful purchase today and help create a better future for children like Kato?

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