Let’s talk about healthcare. Healthcare is something that many of us take for granted, while many more of us are not able to obtain a single helpful ounce of it. Now, here’s one way you can change this health care disparity by getting your priorities straight. First, get informed. Second, get involved.
Thanks to our Capture Kindness Photo Contest a few months back, we were introduced to Arielle Elkrief, one of our notable mention image capturers, who chose an amazing organization called The Mercy Project as her charity of choice. We are so excited to share more about The Mercy Project and support their mission.
How Was The Mercy Project Started & What’s it All About?
Let’s start from the very beginning, shall we?
Following the death of a child named Mercy due to malaria, a treatable condition, The Mercy Project was founded. When the project was started it had some main principles: listen to their partners and respond to their needs, respect their agency, support healthcare abroad by promoting wellness at home (by putting on wellness activities such as community spinning classes), help build, stock, and staff first aid centres and clinics in Gulu, Uganda, and strive to be ethical in all fundraising efforts.
So, what is the mission of The Mercy Project?
First off, organizations like The Mercy Project refuse to be overwhelmed by the challenges of poverty. They are a volunteer-run charity that funds health and wellness initiatives for communities in Northern Uganda. They envision accessible healthcare for the communities with which they partner, in everything they do.
Who drives The Mercy Project mission?
All board members are volunteers and have done hands-on community work in Uganda before joining the board. They remained committed to the relationships and partnerships created through The Mercy Project, and they have maintained those relationships since way back in 2008. Given that involvement is 100% volunteer-based, board members have all kinds of day jobs, bringing unique perspectives and resources to the organization; some work as doctors, some are entrepreneurs, researchers, engineers, or even project directors of other NGOs.
Tell us more about the Ugandan children supported by The Mercy Project.
What’s an ordinary day like for The Mercy Project children?
For children supported by The Mercy Project in Gulu, Uganda, a typical day starts with nothing other than, you guessed it, BREAKFAST, which likely consists of millet porridge on any given day. While a handful of children play outside, maybe chasing the chickens, two dedicated women, known as Mother and Auntie, wash clothes.
If they are old enough to go to school, the children will walk to St. Jude Primary School, before their uniforms are dusted and need washing again, located just on the other side of the fence from The Mercy Project. When afternoon hits, the children eat their lunch, which is typically made up of posho and beans. And when school is over, the children usually come back to The Mercy Project to help cut the grass, sweep the house, and do other chores around the home in the afternoon.
When dinner rolls around, the children are delighted when it occasionally includes a treat like beef or fish, but chicken or beans are much more common. After dinner Mother and Auntie engage the children in activities, which could include singing, dancing, or nighttime prayers, depending on how the day is going.
How has The Mercy Project helped Ugandan children and their families?
Here are just a few of the many ways The Mercy Project helps local communities:
- They provide basic healthcare to improve the mobility and motor skills of children with physical disabilities since many of the children living at St. Jude’s Children Home suffer from chronic physical disabilities.
- They fund the salaries for two full-time nurses to support the needs of the children.
- They provide a truck that is used as an ambulance to transport people to the hospital in case of emergency.
- They restock the clinic and home with essential medical supplies, such as vaccines, medications, bandages, and mosquito nets to prevent Malaria.
Need a more descriptive, tangible example of their impact? Thanks to The Mercy Project’s support, a child that was previously wheelchair bound from congenital palsy, can now walk with assistance, because of the dedicated work and rehabilitation of the full-time nurses on site.
What More is There to Love About The Mercy Project?
When we got the chance to speak with Arielle, this is what she had to say about working with The Mercy Project:
“I love that we are a small organization but with a huge heart behind it. We are the same small group of people who have been dedicated to this project since 2008 after being moved by Mercy’s story in Uganda. We love our partners (St. Jude’s) and we respect them.”
Ready to Get Involved?
The Mercy Project has been dedicated to supporting St. Jude’s Children Home since 2008, and they hope to keep the support going. They would be happy to welcome new partnerships to support other clinics and children’s homes in the future, and would also love to continue to promote wellness at home by organizing fundraisers that promote good physical and mental health. Also, to make their mission possible, they are always looking out for new volunteers to become part of the team. Whatever skills you possess, you can help in some way!