Changing the world starts by impacting one life at a time. One person’s desire to change the world, no matter how small or how insignificant it may seem, can make a world of a difference in the lives of others.
The following four small international organizations — HEED Uganda, Asha India, Ryan’s Well Foundation and Maiti Nepal — all started from humble beginnings and a single vision, which turned into much more.
HEED was founded in 2005 when two Washington-based mothers traveled to Uganda and began to provide for 17 orphaned, vulnerable and needy children from a remote village in the Mubende District of Uganda. They did not know how these sponsorships would work or what was in store for them but they knew the kids needed help. After seeing the sheer number of children in these villages that needed help, HEED’s mission grew to have full-time sponsors for 21 children.
The mission continued to grow in 2007 when they started a village school in the Mubende District. Here they hired teachers and supplied school necessities, certain meals and health treatments to give the hundreds of village kids a chance to grow up to be well-rounded adults. In 2009, HEED made further headway when it purchased farmland to provide food and income for the school, then installed a borehole for clean water for the school in 2011.
Schooling is provided to the orphaned and most vulnerable children in the village, regardless of their ability to pay fees.
In 1988, Dr. Kiran Martin heard of the cholera outbreak in India’s south Delhi slum and felt compelled to use her medical skills to help Delhi’s poor. Martin went to the slum and borrowed a table in the shade to use as her office and began saving lives.
After seeing the lack of medicine, Martin requested assistance from the Indian government and acquired aides to assist her in expanding her medical help within Delhi’s slums.
Over 25 years later, Asha has helped save more than 500,000 lives within 60 of Delhi’s slums. The organization has expanded to the U.S. and many other countries in which Asha continues to save lives.
Ryan’s Well Foundation
In 1998, a six-year-old named Ryan learned that people were dying in other parts of the world because they did not have access to clean water. Ryan could not believe that people lived in those conditions and begged his parents to help him assist the people living without clean water.
Ryan started by doing extra chores and speaking at service clubs and school classes to raise money to build a well. Finally, Ryan raised the $2,000 needed to build a well at the Angolo Primary School in Uganda.
A few years later, in 2001, Ryan’s Well Foundation was formally created. Over the past 15 years, the foundation has built over 1,000 wells, with no end in sight.
In 1993, school teacher Anuradha Koirala decided to right the world’s wrongs and do something about sex trafficking in Nepal. She started by setting up a home to provide safety and shelter for young children and women who got forced into Nepal’s sex trade.
She wanted to establish a place where people could go when they did not have anywhere safe to be. Her dream of just one safe house has turned into an organization called Maiti Nepal that has established three prevention homes, 11 transit homes, two hospices and a school. Currently, over 1,000 children are receiving service from Maiti Nepal daily, 1,200 sex traffickers have been convicted and 357 rape cases prosecuted, all made possible by one woman’s determination.
The founders of these four small international organizations give impeccable examples of ordinary people who started something small which turned into something extraordinary. Any positive difference, despite its perceived insignificance, can change the lives of people in need.
– Bella Chaffey