We started the year set on building schools for children with physical disabilities. Our first project, in Mbale Uganda, was nearing completion with more than 20 children enrolled. However, we quickly realized there were many more organizations serving the education needs, even of the disabled community, than there were creating jobs. So, we pushed our time-frame ahead by a decade and began focusing on creating jobs instead. There is a new organization running that school now so we can focus on the task at hand, to create jobs for people with physical challenges in East Africa.
We picked Kenya as the place to start and I was able to travel there three times in 2017. The first trip, in February, was 40 hours of travel and 80 hours in country. The second trip, in May, I was able to meet Daniel, who is our team leader now. He leads the team of 6, who I traveled to finish training in October. They are a great group of talented individuals, with physical challenges, who will be an integral part of our way forward.
Before being asked to help start this new organization, I had been developing my own online donation software, which was going to be used to sponsor students in the schools. It was still important to me to continue developing it, as things transitioned from schools to job creation, but it was going to be supplementary and we expected to market traditional data entry work as our primary focus. So, I went to Kenya in October expecting to return to the US to begin finding data entry work for the team. Instead, upon returning, we decided to focus on software. I knew the software would eventually create some jobs, but we realized our team is really what makes us unique. Our mission to create jobs for people with physical challenges can not simply reduce them to cogs in a machine, so we’re putting the team front and center.
We are creating jobs by making software powered by humans. In an age when software and technology is replacing a lot of traditional outsourcing work, we will make software reliant on people. The team will provide customer service and support, they’ll provide time saving site monitoring services and updates, and they will add back the human element.
Looking ahead, 2018 is full of optimism. I see it on the team’s faces as they eagerly await the chance to work hard, thankful for the opportunity to have a good job. I’m full of hopefulness and confidence about the direction we’re headed. I know the team is ready and I think churches, schools, and organizations will enjoy knowing that using our software will help make an impact.
I’m pleased with what we were able to accomplish in 2017. We “pivoted” twice, but still managed to put together a solid team, completed a trial period with the online donation software, and have positioned ourselves for growth in 2018. In fact, I’m looking to hire a secretary here and we hope to grow the size of our team in Kenya.
Please look for some more updates about the software soon and thanks for reading.