Jessica Chibueze first visited Uganda with the intention of exploring an African country other than her native home Nigeria. She figured it’d be an exciting experience as an 18 year old back then to spend the summer before her freshman year in an East African country.
2 years and 2 trips later, the purpose behind Jessica’s trips to Uganda has evolved to include a deeper and much more rewarding meaning. On her second trip, Jessica had a spiritual awakening that changed her perspective on life. Since then she has gained what she calls an obsession with offering aide to those in developing countries. Inspired by her newly found connection to Christianity, Jessica started an outreach program where she teaches children the importance of hygiene as a preventative measure against disease by bathing and clothing them.
In her own words,
“I’m a 20-year old Nigerian American living in the United States who has been going on summer mission trips to Uganda for the past three years. After my first mission to Uganda, my life was impacted greatly. After this trip, I decided to major international Studies and minor in Nonprofit Studies in hopes to secure a career dealing with international development in Africa.On my second trip to Uganda, I started a initiative to advance public health by teaching young children the importance of hygiene as a way to prevent diseases that the doctors on our mission team would commonly come across during the medical outreach programs we conducted. In 2012, I was able to bathe and clothe 20 children. In 2013, I had a modest goal of bathing and clothing 40 children, but was successfully able to outdo my goal and tend to 60 children.This July, I intend to continue my project my bathing and clothing 100 children. As an act of sustainability, I want to raise enough supplies to be able to give them enough toiletries to last each of these 100 kids for a year. I also intend to raise money to help support other young Africans to go with me to Uganda this year.My ultimate goal is to replicate this initiative and establish in Nigeria in the upcoming years.”
In 2012, Jessica was able to clothe and bathe 20 children despite the many challenges and adversaries she faced. She recently returned to Uganda with the goal of assisting 40 children and to her surprise she was able to bathe and clothe not just 40 but 60 children. These Uganda trips include doctors doing checkups for everyone in the villages, but she began to also focus on the youth and what could benefit them the most. Jessica’s 2012 visit was to teach kids how to maintain good hygiene, so she raised money for clothing & supplies such as toothbrushes, soap, wash cloths. These simple things & knowledge she provides them would assist these children with what’s needed to prevent being diagnosed with certain diseases.
Jessica was impacted by the fulfilling sense of accomplishment that comes with social service and more importantly, she also became aware of how others treasure the privileges others often take for granted. One of her most memorable experiences was photographing the children that she worked with and capturing priceless smiles, faces and moments. By stepping out of her comfort zone to help others, Jessica built relationships with extraordinary people and experienced a sense of fulfillment that most people don’t have the opportunity to experience. When we asked Jessica what “Africa is done suffering’ meant to her she said “ Africa is done being stagnant” and that “there are people willing to rise up out of the norm to take a risk and do something to change the status quo of the continent. It’s an exciting thing really.” With leaders like Jessica already making impacts on the continent, we are just as excited about Africa’s future as she is.
Since this, 501c3 organization started going to missions trips to their various African countries, the mission field has been dominated with Christian adults. After going on mission trips with ACF for the past three years, Jessica had finally understood that this should not be the case.
“As young people who are more energetic than our elders, so much more work could be done on these trips if we were funded the opportunity to go. The amazing experiences of helping dispense medicine to sick villagers, empowering young people to stay in school despite the obstacles they face due to their poor government or financial struggles, and running around with 100s of kids as a way to keep them busy as their parents are being seen by the doctor may be trivial to some people, but honestly these actions are life-changing! Not only that, as the upcoming generation of leaders and influential people are going to emerge from my generation, building world experiences as a way to demolish things like ethnocentrism, racism, and other negative ideals that we may unintentionally possess is a way to train us for the future! After my first trip to Uganda, I knew that I wanted to work in International Development in my post graduate career. I obtained my minor in Nonprofit organizational studies, and am currently the Regional Young Adult Missions Coordinator for the African Christian Fellowship East Region. “
ACF goes to Uganda and provides medical attention to villagers who can not afford to go to the hospital. They hire doctors and nurses who speak their native languages to administer our patient check-ups to them. ACF buys all medicine and medical supplies for these medical outreach programs. In the previous year, the organization completed building an our patient medical clinic in Fort Portal, Uganda and it is scheduled to start running this July 2014. In addition to our medical outreach programs, ACF sponsors children in Uganda whose parents were killed by AIDS. Each year, their team also visits these sponsored children and brings them gifts, letters, toys, etc.
” The cost for one person to go to Uganda with the Eastern Region of African Christian Fellowship is $3,000. Although when the cost is broken down this turns out to be a very reasonable amount, $3,000 is still a daunting amount for the average high school, undergraduate, and even post graduate student to fund raise.This $3,000 covers EVERYTHING for a two-week trip:
-Round Trip flight to Uganda
-All room and board for the duration of the trip
-Ground transportation for the whole trip, etc.In addition to all of one’s personal needs being covered, this $3,000 helps our missions team to purchase medicine for the Ugandan citizens that we treat during out medical mission programs, it helps us to hire Ugandan doctors and nurses that attend to the Ugandan people, it helps us to buy the ingredients we use to cook meals for the hundreds of citizens after they’ve seen the doctors and have been prescribed medicine. ”
” This year(2014), Jessica say’s her target goal is to reach out to 100 kids.
And as an act of sustainability, I would like to raise enough supplies that can equip them to remain hygienic for up to one year. this will give me time to continue to think of ways to solidify this public health program within the next couple of years. ”
You can view Jessica’s image Gallery here