Photo courtesy of Danielle Jackson Photography
So, this is a follow-up to a great mission trip fundraising story. Recently, we wrote an article about a favorite partner, Danielle Jackson. And, if you were to speak to Danielle, you would not only connect with an excellent photographer. But, you would talk to someone full of life and spirit. As we noted in our original article, Danielle served as a social worker for more than a decade. And, it was because of this that she cares about the well-being of people.
Flash forward to the present day. Now Danielle is a professional photographer. But, she’s still involved in helping make the world a better place. Recently, she traveled to Uganda to photograph the opening of a birthing center in one of its communities. However, before she went, she had to raise $3,000 to fund her trip. And, that’s how our team got to know a dynamic and wonderful person. She completed a mission trip fundraiser with us!
Mission Trip Fundraising Ideas Leads to a Shoe Drive Fundraiser
As Danielle explained to us, one of the challenges she had was the funding. In other words, she was excited to have the chance to go as a photographer. But, she was concerned that raising $3,000 for her travels with Show Mercy International would be hard. But, like so many others who go on mission trips, she prayed for mission trip fundraising ideas. And, that’s when she came across a shoe drive fundraiser. Essentially, all you have to do is collect shoes.
She was thrilled when she realized that her mission trip fundraiser took off with immediate success! And, as she explains, she saw it as God’s will that she travel to photograph people in Uganda. Eventually, that’s exactly what happened. Danielle traveled over the summer to Uganda. And, because of the fact she raised funds for her trip with a shoe drive fundraiser, she was sensitive to the need of people for shoes. During her travels, people would point out others in Uganda who were making a living selling shoes. In other words, Danielle had the opportunity to see how shoes collected in a shoe drive fundraiser help micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations such as Uganda.
After shoe drive fundraisers, our partner Credential Shoes, ship the footwear to micro-entrepreneurs around the world. So, these mission trip fundraisers help create commerce opportunities for people who might not otherwise have a chance at a job that could sustain their families. And they also allow people to help themselves!
Circumstances in Uganda: A View from the Inside
When a member of our team spoke to Danielle after her mission trip fundraiser and travel, she asked about Uganda. And, Danielle said that the poverty in that country is not like poverty in our nation. Although poverty exists in both places, it’s different. One of the main issues is that in a developing country such as Uganda, poverty is systemic. In other words, for many reasons, people do not have opportunity. For instance, quality education, sustainable jobs, and national infrastructure to help people rise from poverty are all limited. Therefore, Danielle realized that selling shoes and other goods are vital for survival. Meaning, for many micro-entrepreneurs to make a living, they have to sell merchandise.
Mission Trip Fundraising to Help Children
As Danielle immersed herself in Uganda through Show Mercy International, she wanted to learn about the children. And, this was especially true because she sponsors a child. The mission trip gave her an incredible gift because Danielle had the chance to see first-hand the benefits of groups working for children. And, as she explained, she had the opportunity to speak to the grandmother of the little girl she sponsors. Because of her support, the child had a uniform, which meant she could attend school. One of her favorite moments was having the child sleep on her lap for a couple of hours. And, as Danielle said, the experience has tied the young girl to her heart.
Further, a friend of Danielle’s sponsors a little boy. Her friend brought a pair of shoes from the U.S. to give to the boy, although this is discouraged because it is opportunity—not gifts—that people need. But, the friend had to give this boy shoes. The young boy got sent home from school because his shoes had holes in them. Also, they were falling apart, and they were too small. Without shoes, he would not have the opportunity to attend school. But the shoes were too small! However, they measured his feet with string, and the aid group got him a pair of shoes in exchange for the pair her friend brought for another child.
The Mission Trip Fundraiser, the Birthing Center & the Favorite Picture
The mission trip fundraiser brought Danielle to Uganda. And, she had the chance for many experiences. Of course, as was noted in the original article, it also included the birthing center. It was Show Mercy International’s 15th anniversary. And, they were doing the dedication of the birthing center. Therefore, they had some very important officials from Uganda present. But, it made Danielle nervous because she wasn’t sure of the rules for photographing officials. However, as happens in life, they had a big celebration, and she snapped photos.
Ultimately, Danielle felt that she went to Uganda as a missionary—not a photographer. She was there to help spread the message of God. And this openness led to her favorite picture.
She wanted to get closer to God. On the second day, it happened. As she stepped out of the car, the children ran out of the house saying “white person” in their native language. They touched her skin and loved her camera. And, she decided that she wanted to take beautiful pictures. She prayed and began to snap photos. That night, as she scrolled through the images, she saw a picture and close-up of the face of a little boy. His eyes were blue, which was odd because she didn’t see people with blue eyes. She zoomed in, and his eyes were blue, but it was from the reflection of the sky behind Danielle. And in that picture, Danielle felt she saw God’s eyes.
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