I was walking down a crowded street in a small town called Bwindi, in Uganda, when I felt a tug on my heart. As I walked past beggars lining the road, I realised a life can change with just a few dollars. In Australia, we have so many resources, so I wanted to tap into those resources and make a difference for vulnerable children in Africa.
When I came back from that trip in 2007, I didn’t know how I was going to make a difference – I didn’t know where to start – but I knew I had to do something. I reached out to friends with similar passions and we soon realised we could make a difference if we worked together. I was an engineer, someone else was a pastor, and another was an accountant. We were just ‘normal’ people but I knew I couldn’t let my ‘normalness’ stop me from doing something. That’s how Droplets in a Stream (DIAS) started back in 2008, and the rest as they say is history.
From the beginning, it has been less about funding projects in Africa. It’s always been about people for us. Projects come and go, they start and they end. But people always remain, and their children and their children’s children will feel the impact of everything we do.
When our DIAS team met visionary leaders on the ground, with a deep passion to transform their communities, we knew we had to help. They themselves were struggling to feed their own families, and yet they were giving up everything to pursue these big, long-term dreams for their people. They weren’t only interested in building one school or digging one well. They wanted to create incredible campuses of care, with self-sustaining farms and micro-businesses, transforming communities.
Since then, it’s become about journeying closely with these four leaders to see children, their families, and future generations given opportunities they could only now dream of getting. The thought that keeps me going, even when the work can be slow and the tasks seem too great, is this: change begins one child at a time. When we focus on the ‘one’, their eyes looking into ours, we know that change is possible and it’s all worth it.