As I was preparing to teach Project Management this semester, I kept getting stuck on the “team project”. I had a very elaborate hypothetical project that had been used for the class in the past, with handouts and presentations and outcome descriptions, but I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. It was “perfect” in a boring sort of way, and I knew that if it didn’t thrill me, it sure wasn’t going to inspire my students.
Then I got an email from Carrie Hill, who runs Shaddai Ministries here in the States and has a long standing relationship with Light Africa Academy in Uganda. She is working on bringing over the Amani Children’s Choir, a group of 20 Ugandan students, who were planning to tour for six months starting in May, and we started to talk about some of the ways we could create projects to help them with some of the tour planning tasks. Designing a website, setting up social media sites, compiling marketing and sponsorship materials, creating host church informational packets, tracking down backpacks full of clothes and goodies for the kids, coordinating craft sales at the concerts….the list was full of tasks that we could do as part of this semester.
It was the perfect fit. We were going to be able to do “real work” and help Carrie and these kids with their very tangible needs. Yes, it was going to be a lot of work…we were all going to have to step it up and get the work done, both from an educational and project standpoint, amidst changes and issues and other competing priorities. But that’s what the real world is all about, right?
The tour’s goal is to raise money to fund a few projects in Uganda. A water pump for a village that currently has to carry their daily water up the hill by hand…a girls dorm for the Light Africa Academy so the girls don’t have to walk four miles home through the slums of Kampala…and more space for a Christian preschool that has 500+ kids ages 2 – 4.
It is an amazing opportunity for all of us. The kids, my students, myself…we all get a chance to use our skills to serve. We are a few weeks into our semester and it has been really cool to see how my students are jumping into the project. They are creative, innovative, and energetic….and these kids? Well, they are simply inspirational.