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    Starting the only gym in Nakivale

    Day 180

    Pump You Up

    Samuel is a man of many talents. He grows trees and hopes to one day reforest Nakivale Refugee Settlement where he lives. He’s a caretaker for ill family members. And he’s a contributing member of society, joining his peers to do community service and help the elderly in their community.

    But when he’s with his friends, he likes to lift weights.

    “We do what we can,” said Samuel. “We made our own barbells, but they break. And we don’t really know how much they weigh.”

    For Samuel and his friends, weightlifting is about being healthy, making their bodies stronger and learning from each other. There’s no gym in Nakivale – no place for people to work out, lift weights and build their strength. So, Samuel and his friends had an idea to open their own gym. And they ran in the World Refugee Day 5k on June 20th to try to make it happen.

    “Our idea is to make a place where anyone can come to lift weights, try yoga and learn from each other about taking care of ourselves,” said Samuel. “If people are willing to pay a small membership fee, it will help us keep the gym open and buy new equipment.”

    Thanks to one generous supporter who provided the $600 the weightlifters were looking for, Samuel and his friends can make their gym happen.

    On Day 180, we handed over some of the things they’ll need to get the Nakivale gym off the ground. Pairs of free weights, ranging from 3 kg all the way to 20kg, will allow several people to workout at once. AND actually know how much they’re lifting. The weightlifters also got a proper dumbbell, with plates of different weights so that anyone can use it. And a little surprise…they also received several resistance bands with instructions and sample exercises. They’re looking forward to learning more about how to use those.

    With all the supplies they need in-hand, it’s up to Samuel and this group of lifters to take the next step in opening their gym. We’re excited to keep you updated on their progress.

    Special thanks to Kris McDonald for fully funding Samuel and the weightlifters’ idea. And to Flips Gymnastics for providing the group with new resistance bands.

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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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