By Billy Pierre, Staff Writer
Pauline moved to the US from Uganda. Like most of us, she came here looking for the fulfillment of her dreams. Of course, part of her dreams includes her education at Thunderbird. In addition to her role as a full time student, she is currently working on an autobiographical novel that she wants to publish in the future. But, her main focus is on the foundation she set up, The Pauline Foundation. Her goal is to help young people, especially girls, from her village to fulfill their dreams too. Through a campaign to raise funds to support the activities of the foundation, Pauline, with the help of some students in my class, organized an exhibition of some craft products that Pauline made herself. We had the opportunity to buy her art objects and some cookies she made, and all the funds are destined to support young people in Uganda through the hard work of Pauline Foundation.
After the exhibition and sale, I had the opportunity to interview Pauline who shared with us her experience, her dreams, and her passions.
Billy: Tell us about your organization.
Pauline: The Pauline Foundation is a non-profit inspired by my life of poverty, abuse, and attacks on my self-esteem. I created this organization to help empower at-risk youths in Uganda with both life and career skills, and educational opportunities through scholarships and mentorships. We also develop and nurture talent.
Billy: When did you start operating?
Pauline: We started our activities in March 2018.
Billy: Do you operate only in Uganda?
Pauline: For right now, but I’d love to spread the Foundation throughout East Africa within the next five years.
Billy: What is the status of your organization in the US?
Pauline: We partner with non-profits in the US that believe in our mission.
Billy: What is the mission statement of your organization?
Pauline: Our vision is to encourage and support at-risk youth to find strength and thrive through adversity. Our mission is to raise a generation of transformative leaders by empowering vulnerable African youth through education, life skills, mentorship, and talent development.
Billy: What is your strategy to reach that goal?
Pauline: Education through scholarships, entrepreneur skills training, mentorships, talent development, computer literacy, book clubs to instill a reading and writing culture.
Billy: How many students are you currently supporting with your organizations?
Pauline: We have 16 scholars registered in our program. We are continuously recruiting.
Billy: What do you consider as a success for your organization?
Pauline: We have raised $3,000 from selling crafts made by Pauline Foundation scholars. But we’ve made about $2,500 through funding competitions and $2,000 through partnerships and individual donations. We’ve awarded a full ride scholarship already and are looking to award much more in the future.
Billy: Do you have anyone else helping you with this work? How many staff members do you currently have in your organization?
Pauline: I have only three staff members in Uganda, but my Thunderbird team has been a huge help in making my organization stronger. Feed Our Nation, Total Armor, and ASU’s Changemaker Central have been helpful in developing my Foundation as well.
Billy: Do you want to tell us a little bit more about this current fundraising campaign?
Pauline: Right now, we are doing a fundraiser for $1500. We are going to use this money to rent a store in Kampala to sell the crafts created by at-risk Ugandans. The money earned from this store will be used to fund scholarships.
Billy: How can Thunderbird help to support you and your organization?
Pauline: You can help the Pauline Foundation by donating to our GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/pauline-foundation-fundraiser. Learn more at https://www.paulinefoundation.org/. I’m always looking for help from skilled Thunderbirds with professional backgrounds to help my non-profit succeed and create a meaningful impact in Uganda. Reach out to me through the website to get involved or send me an email at email@example.com.
Billy: Anything else you would like to add?
Pauline: To stay up to date with our activities, please like our Facebook page “Pauline Foundation” and follow us on Instagram at “Paulinefoundationuganda”.
Billy: Thank you so much for your time and I am so proud of your work!
Pauline: Thank you so much for the interview and thank you to all the Thunderbirds who are making a difference for my organization and the Thunderbird community at whole!
As you must notice through this interview, Pauline is very passionate. She wants to offer these young people the opportunity to dream and especially to be able to materialize their dreams. When another student in my class asked her if she has any children, she told us that she has not yet given birth, yet the young people she supports through Pauline Foundation are her children. In fact, she told us, as this type of activity is still rare in her country, she wants to be the mother of a movement, that of helping these young people.