In 2006, Gloria Baker Feinstein was already an accomplished photographer but had decided to direct her considerable skills to documentation for non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). To further that goal she found herself in Uganda visiting orphanage after orphanage, each filled with children left on their own after AIDS had decimated what they knew as family. The images that Gloria captured on that trip were not soon forgotten when she returned to her Kansas City home and family.
Within a short time Gloria knew that she had to do something – the children’s images and the seeming desperation of their lives could not be erased from either her mind or her camera. In 2007 she began Change the Truth, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the 190 children who now call St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood home.
Change the Truth and its dedicated volunteers are committed to the welfare of these children and do so in the most direct, effective and hands-on manner possible. In addition to the funds sent to underwrite food, medical needs, clothing and other basics, the children’s education is a central part of their focus. About two dozen young people are provided with scholarships to underwrite their secondary education and one is even studying nursing. Others are provided vocational training and opportunities to ensure stability in their lives.
There are several things about CTT that we found to be particularly outstanding and helped us decide to offer Good People Fund’s support. When we initially asked Gloria for more information about her work we were pleasantly surprised and impressed to receive a comprehensive log which records all donations sent to the orphanage and receipts for the items those donations covered. We also saw reports and updates for all of the scholarship students assuring that they were taking their studies seriously and proceeding according to plan. Equally impressive was the fact that Gloria and her volunteers travel to Uganda every year and while there perform critical hands-on work to benefit the kids and the orphanage. This type of transparency is vitally important to us and our donors when we become involved in a program that is so far away and where we may not have the opportunity to see the work first-hand.
In our conversation with Gloria prior to last December’s trip we asked where our tzedakah money might make the greatest impact and she shared plans of upgrading the school’s computer lab with some used computers which had just been donated to them. When I asked her if a new laptop would be of interest, Gloria was thrilled. We were so pleased to see not only the new computer we underwrote but also the happy faces that were obviously enjoying the benefits of this new tool.
We suggest you visit http://changethetruth.org to see first-hand Gloria’s beautiful images and very special work. If you are impressed with what they are doing we also suggest you purchase a copy of Gloria’s beautiful book, Kutuuka, in which her photographs chronicle the dreams and drawings of these beautiful children.