On an average day on social media, most of the posts –if not all – will be about foursquare check-ins, raging rants, making plot and sharing music videos and albums.
However, the story twitches a little with the mention of 40 days over 40 smiles foundation. The group of enthusiastic youths has torn through the social media wedlock to introduce a new way of using social media.
On the 19th of April, a sunny morning, two coasters gathered at the open house Buganda road, trickles of young people walked in one by one and found their seats, the early morning silence of the place was rudely interrupted by the conversations and screams the over-joyed youths exchanged with each other.
Before them was a celebration of a completion of a dormitory at Happy Times Child Care Initiative, Luweero.
In one of the coasters, sat Esther Kalenzi, an energetic smiling lady, she broke off her money collection errand often to smile and greet everyone that came to pay. Clad in a pink 40-40 top and blue jeans, checking her off as the founder of the brilliant 40-40 team wouldn’t be wrong. She didn’t cut the CEO look! She smiled more often, was compassionate at even the huge blunders like forgetting the regular pancake meal for all volunteers who travel to Luweero. Even in the coaster, she talked to the ‘newbies’ of the 40-40 campaign like she’d know them for years.
All photos courtesy of Edward Echwalu
Two years ago, Esther had started a small facebook group with her friends to collect items for children during lent and hand them over to an orphanage, the group grew into a small organization of friends visiting orphanages for breakfast with disadvantaged kids and now before her was another growth, a whole dormitory built with funds rallied off social media by the 40-40 team.
“It is all by God’s grace, we never could have done it without God” Esther told the crowds gathered at Luweero.
“A lot of hard work has been put into the hash tags and events by the 40-40 team” She adds.
The 27 million shillings dormitory was completed with funds raised through popular campaigns like #BuyABrick, where people were each asked to contribute to the dormitory by buying a brick valued at 500 shillings. The buy a brick campaign raised 16,000 bricks which amounted to 8 million shillings. Other campaigns like Croak and Rhyme, Hoops for Grace and Be Santa also pooled together resources required for the dormitory.
A visibly over-joyed 40-40 team could not stomach the excitement and went on a string of selfies under the hashtag #IBuilt Adorm which was popularized on the Saturday of the launch.
Moving forward, the 40-40 team will now conduct food and nutrition, health and sanitation and literacy programs for the Luweero infant school.