Robert de Heer is director of HabiTask, a company that provides trainings in real estate and living. A year ago he visited Uganda where HabiTask sponsors a program of Child Care Africa. He thinks about this visit weekly.
How did HabiTask got involved in the program of Child Care Africa ?
The Holding our company is part of, has contributed for a longer time this developing work. Our director regularly visits the projects in Africa. I have been to a project in Malawi before. When that project was finished, we directed our focus on children in Uganda. We were enthusiastic about the Karamoja region. This is really a forgotten area, even forgotten by her own government. Here we wanted to make a difference together with Child Care Africa.
What did your visit to Uganda look like ?
We started as a group of 5 employees to prepare for the journey. This was quite a challenge because it was difficult to imagine the place we were going to. Our planning was really full. First two days on safari, after that four days visiting the projects in Karamoje. But all this planning changed in Africa to living in the moment. We were warmly welcomed by the local team. They were glad and proud that we had taken the time and trouble to travel to Uganda. They found this amazing ! And so did we. Our visit to Uganda moved us more than we could ever have guessed beforehand.
Were you able to contribute ?
Beside what we contribute as a company, I personally could deliver a small contribution. We talked with the local team about the development of the organisation and we gave a training in Excel to the staff members. The talks were very pleasant and based on equivalence. It was a real exchange of their ideas and our input. This made me aware that with our help we really are of importance in what they are trying to achieve in Uganda. Personally I know one thing for sure, they have given me more than I gave them. It is in my mind weekly and a learned a lot.
What was it this trip brought you personally ?
In our house a African necklace hangs at the wall, made by the mother of Lillian and Jackline, two sponsored girls. The girls did not go to school and ran the risk to be in an arranged marriage at a young age. Because of our support these girls can go to school and work for a better future. I am truly touched by that kind of stories. I often talk about is with my wife Corine and our children. During the trip I sent my 5 year old son a story every night. About life in Africa, the animals and the children. He is very curious and often talks about it. As a family we want to give meaning to our lives in all kinds of ways. We participate in foster care, and we would like to make a worldtrip and contribute in Uganda among others.
What does the help of your company mean in Uganda ?
Meaning starts in the eyes of the other person. In Uganda we talked with a 16 year old girl. She had lost her father at a young age. Her mother passed away 3 days before our visit. She stood there and told her story. We were impressed by her resilience. Despite everything she is building her future. The programs of CCA offer hope to children and young people.
Does the program appeal to the people in your company ?
The visit to Uganda has meant a lot to the participants. We keep on talking about it. At our return we had a presentation for our colleagues. We tried to get our story across with pictures, films and enthusiasm. In addition we receive the CCA newsletter regularly. I dare say that our help to Uganda increased the togetherness in our company.
In what way ?
By talking about it, you get to know your colleagues better and at a deeper level. This leads to more interesting conversations, about the meaning of life and what moves people. Themes you normally don’t easily talk about with colleagues.
Can you recommend a visit to others ?
Yes, certainly. Actually a visit by only a few colleagues, activates the concept of socially responsible entrepreneurship in the entire organisation. Personally I was touched by the incredible lust for life of the children. They have been through a lot, but if we play football together and chat, they are happy and hopeful. That is a lesson in itself.