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Meet Christina Martinez of The Collective Effect in Lindbergh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Martinez.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I stepped off the plane and onto the land full of rolling hills, red dirt roads, children with the most beautiful big smiles, and freshly made Rolexes on the side of crowded, bustling streets. It was my first time in Uganda, but it felt so familiar and comforting to me. It only took a few days before I had a full-on love affair with the country. It became home.

Home – a sense of belonging.
Home – a place of safety.
Home – where one finds comfort.
Home – where love abounds.
Home – a nonexistent place for the 15,000 kids who live on the streets in Uganda.

I witnessed the repercussion of children growing up on the streets, without security, without love. And I would never be the same. I surrendered my life to God years before, believing that He would use me for something greater than myself. And that year, I knew what I was called to do. I decided that I would spend my life on behalf of vulnerable children and families living in fragile communities around the world. But I knew that I couldn’t do this alone. We needed a company of people, filled with vision, to move together in order to make the world a better place. And The Collective Effect was born.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Our road has been full of potholes. Some of those potholes, we swerved in time to miss, but others caused us some flat tires. Finding the right partners and team members is so crucial in building a healthy and accomplished team. Pick the wrong people, and you will be mending flat tires for years to come. Fundraising is hard. Working in different time zones is hard. Communicating in other languages is hard. Working internationally is hard. Working with the government is hard. Learning how to start and run a non-profit in America… HARD.

But I know that any change worth fighting for will be hard, and I believe that ensuring every human life is valued and taken care of is a change worth fighting for. The Collective Effect is willing to go the distance in the fight. We understand that we may not see the fruit of our hard work immediately, but we will bring value to humanity and help change the trajectory of vulnerable communities globally. So, we take on the hard things because if we could help change the life of the ONE, we think that this fight is all worth it.

Please tell us about The Collective Effect.
The Collective Effect is a 501(c)3 located in Atlanta, GA. Our mandate is to be a people of influence and to bring value to humanity. We desire to champion people by providing medical care, nourishment, education, and trade to children and families facing extreme poverty. One of our most proud accomplishments is building the Akenna Home, a transitional home for 20 children who once were living on the streets of Kampala. We inspire to create a place of belonging for people who feel like they have no place to call home, and we believe that the Akenna Home has become a place of safety and love for our kids.

We are also excited to begin a water project in the North-Eastern region of Uganda, called Iriri. After surveying the community, we heard an overwhelming response to the community’s lack of clean water. People in this particular village are currently walking up to 7 hours to gain access to muddy water. This month, we are breaking ground to bring the first clean water source in the community!

There are so many amazing organizations doing tremendous work around the world. But the thing that makes us different is that we strive to be human-centered. We ask the people of the community what they think. We invite locals to be decision-makers in helping to develop their own beloved communities. We exist to partner with these communities and to gather a group of people to cheer them on along the way.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would stop myself from letting my fears hinder me from actually starting. I was so afraid to make mistakes that it stopped me from making any impact at all. Knowing what I know now, I would be more daring in my decision making, bold enough to believe we could achieve bigger and impossible goals, and crazy enough to try new ideas. The great thing is, it’s not too late to start implementing these things today.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ellen Clark

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