Your unrestricted donation gives us the financial independence and opportunity to be able to innovate. We can pioneer new models of working to improve the lives of children and young people affected by conflict by funding programmes that traditional, institutional funders might not fund; and we can carry out our award-winning fundraising activities by pursuing new opportunities to raise these funds when we’re positive we’ll achieve our ROI.
Actions speak louder than words
War Child was born different. The Balkans war in the 1990s brought genocide and ethnic cleansing to Europe’s doorstep. Men, women and children were being killed in their thousands while politicians argued and ‘safe havens’ proved to be anything but.
Whilst the politicians didn’t take any action, some musicians and ordinary people did. Not because they could stop the war, but because they simply couldn’t stand by and do nothing. And so it was that a convoy of old army lorries and a mobile bakery drove from Dover to Bosnia. And the best of British Britpop came together to record War Child’s iconic ‘Help’ album in just 24 hours.
We’ve never been afraid to innovate when it comes to our fundraising. It’s in our DNA. Asking people for money is a tough job in a crowded market these days. But to reach our goal of helping 260,000 children in 2019 we need to stand out from the crowd.
The million dollar man
It’s not just our fundraising that’s innovative. We’re constantly striving to improve the quality of our programmatic work – and that’s led us down some interesting new alleyways.
You might not think there’s much room for entrepreneurship in charity, but it’s something War Child thrives on and the sector needs more of. In 2006 we sent Ebrima to start up our country programme in northern Uganda.
All we had at the time was $1,000 in start-up funding as it wasn’t a country that many were interested in. He told us, ‘You see this thousand dollars, I will turn it into a million’.
Just six years later he’d done so – expanding our presence in Uganda and securing the funding that has transformed tens of thousands of lives. Just like in other walks of life, determined and talented people have a knack of making things happen whilst others sit around and tell them it’s too hard.
I don’t want to build buildings and bridges, I want to help build lives and people … to stand behind them and give them a bit of a pushEbrima
Ebrima created our KATI* project in Uganda – borne out of his and our belief that charity works best when it’s not something ‘given’ to people, treating them like passive recipients. So the KATI project focuses on what people have got, not what they haven’t. Uganda has the youngest population in the world and many of those young people have the determination and work ethic to succeed in life. Yet their expectations are set low by a society that tells them that school drop-outs, former child soldiers and villagers won’t ever amount to much.
The KATI project provides a unique package of business training, mentoring and access to competitive start-up loans for young people with a new and exciting business proposition. It’s like Dragon’s Den without the icy stares and awkward silences.
It’s not just growing businesses; it’s creating role models who inspire everyone around them to aim a bit higher in life. That’s the kind of thinking that transforms communities, and ultimately, countries.
*KATI means ‘come out’ in the local Luo language, fitting for a project supporting young people with their business ideas to come out and present their ideas for funding
Your donation in action: Eric’s story
Ogaba Eric Sunday is a young entrepreneur who has benefited from the KATI project. He is a trained school teacher but had been without a job for over two years. Although he’d never cut anyone’s hair, he saw that there wasn’t a barbershop in his area so he started up his own one – employing another skilled young person as the barber.
He’s also diversifying. The £850 loan to start his business allowed him to buy a solar powered premises and he now offers a mobile phone charging service to his customers while they have their hair cut. And he’s recently branched out into the cinema business too!
Eric has already paid back much of his loan, and the proceeds from his business are employing other local people and paying for the school and university fees for his brothers. He is also providing business training to young people, he’s a volunteer teacher in his nearby school and he is a community youth leader.
“I am a successful entrepreneur and respected young person because of KATI” – Eric