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    A change of plans

    DAY 17

    What It’s All About

    Sometimes, doing the doable is all about doing the right thing, in the moment. As the problem is made clear. And that’s what happened in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement in Uganda yesterday when the ARC team went in to do one thing, but ended up doing something else entirely.

    With paint cans and brushes in hand, we set out to give the post-natal ward a makeover at Ariwa Health Center. The health center, where about 3 babies were born per month before the refugee crisis, now delivers 90 babies or more every month!

    The health center staff greeted us with smiles, but with reservations. We quickly learned they were dealing with some challenges that needed attention right away.


    “You see here,” Aziz said. Aziz is the Refugee Chairman in Ariwa, where the post-natal ward is located. “There are big holes in the ceiling. The bats come in.”

    Florence, the manager of the maternity ward, agreed, telling us about deliveries where bat poop was falling on moms as they gave birth. “What can we do?” Florence said. “Without help, we cannot fix these holes.”

    Fixing the ceiling wasn’t in the plan or in the budget. But this is what Changemakers 365 is all about – seeing and seizing opportunities to make a big difference. So we changed gears and called in Lomoro to help.


    Lomoro is a refugee from South Sudan who recently settled in Bidi Bidi. This is his second time fleeing South Sudan. He’s been a carpenter for more than 20 years. Lomoro quickly got to work assessing the ceiling and the supplies needed to make the repairs. “When you come a refugee to a new country, you cannot know how you can survive. I am very happy to have this chance [to work],” Lomoro said. He also assembled a team for the two-day job. After his assessment, he found the ceiling of the entire maternity ward was well within the team’s reach.

    And they got right to work – ripping out what was left of the old ceiling and installing a new one to keep the bats out.


    After two days, the delivery room has a new ceiling and the other rooms throughout the maternity ward are now in progress. On top of that, this was an opportunity to invest in the livelihood of Lomoro. Because of this project he now has new saws and hammers and other tools to help him get a carpentry business off the ground in Bidi Bidi.

    Fixing the ceiling of the post-natal ward may not have been in the team’s original plan. But the crumbling ceiling was preventing women in the ward from feeling safe, from feeling protected at a stressful and vulnerable moment. So the team did what needed doing right then – and that’s what CM 365 is all about.


    Tomorrow, we get back to our original plan for the Ariwa Health Center…

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

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