- Robin Winkles
First Changing Room
What a humbling and incredible day of empowerment, hope, and promise. When I first joined the board of Fields of Dreams Uganda, it was the Girl Empowerment Project that appealed to me most. It was the chance to make a profound impact in a simple, practical way. It was $17 and a hygiene kit that could change a girl’s life. It was keeping a girl in school by giving her access to hygiene supplies she wouldn’t otherwise have. It was telling a girl that the changes her body was experiencing were something not to be afraid of, but to embrace as a rite of passage. It was giving a girl confidence on the soccer field not most of the month, but all of it. It was telling a girl she’s important by caring for some of her most basic needs.
The hygiene kits that are provided each year by the Fields of Dreams Uganda Girl Empowerment Project may be simple in execution, but certainly not in impact. But as profound as that impact may be, we discovered we can do even more. And today, that “even more” came true for a beautiful school campus in northern Uganda. And I had the incredible privilege of being there for it all. Today was the unveiling of our first (but certainly not our last) girls’ changing room, a building designed to give the girls at our campuses a privacy and security to take care of their feminine hygiene needs in a way they’ve never had before. As I looked at the beautiful structure and its promise of a “future that belongs to me,” I couldn’t help but think of all the friends, family, and complete strangers back home who made today’s changing room unveiling possible, and in turn, are empowering hundreds of beautiful girls yet again in another simple, but profound way.
Friends, the programs at Fields of Dreams Uganda could not happen without your support. The big things our US volunteers get to be a part of on every FoDU service trip can only happen because our supporters make them happen. Today, I got to unlock the door and present a beautiful primary school campus with their very own changing room because of the money YOU selflessly give every time we ask. Today, I had the privilege of seeing the smiles of hundreds of girls who are empowered by the generosity and love of people they’ve never even met - YOU. The changing room that was unveiled today was YOUR gift to give, and yet, I got to be the one to do it. I am forever grateful for the love and support of the hundreds of people back home who are making incredible things happen on the other side of the world. Thank you, friends, for your continuous generosity, and for giving me an opportunity today to be a part of something amazing.