Anything. Any platform. Any medium can be used to impact lives. Anyone can make a difference. It can happen anywhere, at anytime, starting with what is available. The question is, do you really want to make a difference?
In 2010, this Ugandan journalist started a Newspaper column which has helped in no small measure, to alleviate the suffering of abandoned children in her native country. She has worked assiduously towards reuniting many with their parents and restoring hope to their tender hearts.
She doesn’t have a million dollars anywhere.
The New Nation News Daily was the platform, and on this platform, Gladys Kalibala’s newspaper column titled “Lost and Abandoned Children”, created awareness about the plight of many innocent children in Uganda who had no home or families to turn to.
Gladys is one of 19 children. Her father had two wives but abandoned his family for another woman. She was brought up by her grandfather who was a Reverend and loved to help people. After his death, she had to drop out of school to do menial jobs and take care of her siblings.
Her brother who was working in Zambia had offered to pay for her to take a course in Journalism, but he died before he could fulfill his promise. She pressed on and finally enrolled for the course. At the completion of her course, her career in Journalism took off when she landed a job at New Vision as a Features Writer.
It happened that she was at a police station one day and she observed two families fighting over an abandoned child. That day, the circle was complete. She received the inspiration to become the voice of the voiceless in Uganda. That day, she decided to start the newspaper column that has saved the lives of many lost and abandoned children.
Writing the column brought her in contact with many of these children and she felt the need to do something to help them. She profiled some of these children in her column and included her contact details at the end of the column, encouraging readers to contact her and contribute what they could to help out.
From her own personal funds and contributions received from her readers, she has funded their education, provided school supplies and much more.
In an interview with the CNN, this Award-winning Ugandan had this to say:
I really thank my readers because they always turn up, their response is always good. They come up and give assistance where some of these children have been taken to school because of their sponsorship.
Gladys Kalibala has put her reach as a journalist to good use, by not only highlighting the cause for children in need, but has personally become a mother to many of these children.
“They call me “mother,” they call me “granny,” they call me all sorts of names and I end up feeling so bad that I don’t want to abandon them… So I’ve ended up paying school fees for many of them although I’m getting very little money because as a freelance it’s really not the best thing. You have to struggle a lot.”
In these days of social media, it is easy to always point to the problem(s) but it takes a lot of guts and a heart of gold to venture towards finding lasting solutions to these problems, to work towards being a part of these solutions. Read what Gladys Kalibala thinks we can do.
We have to come together; we have to pull out our resources; we have to give care; we have to really work together to see that we help all these needy children we see around. If we empower them, this will maybe help us reduce that number of abandoned children.”
Let’s pause and reflect a bit. Indeed, we can change our world with what we have, from where we are.
What do you have in your hand? How do you think you can use it to make the world a better place? Share with us in the comments sections below.