“I have gained so much from volunteering”
“Life is all about challenging yourself to broaden your horizons and capabilities” Judith has done this by getting involved in PONT’s Livelihoods fundraising group, which raises money for Self Help Groups and Goat projects in Mbale. She tells us how she got involved, and why PONT is special!
“I got involved with PONT quite soon after I retired. Now that my time was my own, I felt that I should be giving something back. I started with sponsored runs and selling homemade cakes, but these were ‘one off’ events and I felt that I wanted to do something on a more permanent and structured basis.
I heard of the PONT Livelihoods Fundraising group through a friend and quickly became involved in working with this group and have now been involved for the last 3 years.
Previously, I was the Deputy Head of a local comprehensive school. In this role I had become aware of PONT through the work of the Education group. Our school was linked to a school in Mbale. We received both visitors and gifts from our partner school. Members of staff volunteered to visit Mbale, taking letters from our pupils and gifts from the school.
I think it that it was these educational links that made me want to work with PONT. I discovered that pupils have to pay to attend school in Mbale. When pupils there can afford an education, they are so grateful. I wanted to help children in Mbale to have a chance to better themselves through education.
I gradually realised that simple actions on the part of volunteers who fundraise can really make a difference. Just the purchase of a goat for a family who are looking after orphans, provides the family with milk for the children, manure for their crops and most importantly an income when they are able to sell a kid. (And often the family uses this to pay school fees.)
I have gained so much from volunteering for PONT. Firstly, I have personally gained the company and friendship of the Livelihoods Group, which I value greatly. Secondly, I have challenged myself in ways I would have previously thought impossible, by arranging events with the help of the wonderful Livelihoods team. Life is all about challenging yourself to broaden your horizons and capabilities. PONT has really helped me to do this. Finally, members of my family have become involved by attending events and my daughter also ran a half marathon to raise money for PONT.
PONT is special because of its diversity and the wide range of groups that have been established to help with so many facets of life in Mbale. As a volunteer, PONT has a group that can make use of your skills and capabilities. It is time to step out of the shadows and find out how you can help.”