Jennifer Bailey’s first foray into humanitarian work is a notable one.
Thanks in large part to a sizable discount from Sports Replay in Langley, the Clayton Heights woman purchased 19 pairs of soccer cleats that she will hand-deliver to Ugandan orphans this coming January.
The recipients are boys ranging in age from eight to 18 living at the Emma Dow Orphanage in Masaka, Uganda.
This is uncharted territory for Bailey, who has never before taken on a project of this scope and has never been to Africa before.
Bailey learned about the orphanage through her niece, Samantha Fraser, who two years ago visited Uganda as part of a practicum project with her college.
In Uganda, Fraser met brothers Julias Lule and Barnabas Kaggwa who built an orphanage.
“She spent three months in Uganda and her life was really changed,” Bailey said, about her niece.
When she returned to Canada, Fraser told Bailey about a group of street kids who came to the orphanage and needed sponsors for school and medical bills.
“I decided that I wanted to help them,” Bailey said. “It was always my dream to go to Africa, just not to Uganda, but this orphanage made this a destination where I wanted to go.”
Through Skype, Bailey has been able to connect with some of the boys she will be helping. “I realize here in Canada we are just so privileged,” she said. “I have two girls of my own and it’s a different life.”
Bailey paid for the soccer cleats out of her own pocket, but Sports Replay gave her an extremely good deal.
“I came in and I gave them a little bit of my story, and I didn’t even get to the end of the story before they said they would absolutely help me,” Bailey said. “I was floored. I never asked for help before, so it was really nice to see that.”
Sports Replay sales manager Joe Schembri said the store was happy to help.
“That’s what we’re all about, getting more people in the game,” Schembri said. “If we can help out in any way with a humanitarian effort like that, we’d gladly be able to be a part of it.”
With soccer cleats and possibly jerseys in tow, Bailey flies to Uganda Jan. 8, 2018.
Anyone who wants to help Bailey purchase the soccer jerseys for the boys can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 778-829-9492.
Collecting for the kids
Bailey is dedicated to help the kids in Uganda, so much so, she has been collecting bottles in and around her neighbourhood for the past year to raise money.
Through the bottle collections and with support from her grown daughters Kailie and Chyanne, Bailey will be able to present the orphanage with an envelope of money.
“I’m disabled, so my kids come with me to collect bottles from people’s houses, they load my car for me,” Bailey said. “My son-in-law works at the bottle depot, so he puts in many hours counting and sorting my bottles. And the community of Clayton Heights has been just fabulous with texting me and saying, ‘We’ve got a whole bunch of bottles, come get them.’ It’s just been amazing.”
Through bottle donations alone, Bailey has been able to support one child through school and pay medical bills for another child.
She is preparing the best that she can for the trip.
“I’ve done some research, I’ve watched lots of documentaries… of course I’ve talked to my niece and I have the two men in Uganda that I talk to daily,” Bailey said.