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Meet Donna Barkson of Sew for Uganda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Donna Barkson.

Donna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I founded Sew for Uganda to connect need with talent. Why? Because of a story I saw on TV.

One day, I was preparing to sew myself a pair of pants, I had my materials, I had the sewing machine out, and I had the TV on. As I was getting ready to start my project, I noticed the story on TV was about a pastor from Uganda. This pastor started an orphanage in Uganda with just $10 in his pocket. The story on TV focused on how much can be done with so little. I was struck by that thought, “I can’t change the world, but I could do my part.”

I researched the pastor and his orphanage, and by coincidence, found his United States fundraising partner was located in nearby Marietta, Georgia! Through them, I was able to get the direct address of the orphanage in Uganda.

While to date, more than 2,000 abandoned children have been rescued from living on their own on the streets and in the bush of Uganda, there is still a huge need. Those still living alone have no clothes on their backs. Those without clothes will not go to school or ask for help but hide even deeper in the bush.

From that need, I started Sew for Uganda. There are plenty of ways to donate money to the orphanage, and that is important, too – but there is a need for people to use their hands to help these children. That is the prefaces of Sew for Uganda. Use your hands for GOOD.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I am not a 501c. One hundred percent of the cost to ship the clothes comes out of my pocket, My budget has changed since I started Sew for Uganda and now I have to be a bit more frugal. For example, I sometimes split up donations into separate shipments to break up the costs. But it’s all good!

Please tell us about Sew for Uganda.
I’m most proud that I was able to ship my first box of handmade children’s clothing one month after launching Sew for Uganda.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
In the beginning, I worked on Sew for Uganda full time. Now, I work a full-time job outside of Sew for Uganda. I wish I had networked and pushed a bit harder for partners when I was able to work on Sew for Uganda full time.

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