Since 2007, over 600 Cotton On Group team members and ambassadors have had the opportunity to visit our projects and see the real difference being made on the ground first hand. Each of these team members are nominated by someone else within the business for a specific reason, whether they are an amazing advocate with a voice to spread the word, or they have a proven passion for Cotton On Foundation’s work.
On the latest Road to 10,000 experience to Southern Uganda was Ellen Benington from Cotton On Group’s Global Support Centre in Geelong.
Remember Situation Critical: Namabaale Kinder, where each day over 200 children had no choice but to cram into a dilapidated ‘structure’ with no walls, just sticks holding up a tattered tarp– rain, hail or shine?
Yep? Well, Ellen heard our call and impressively pulled together a sample sale at Cotton On Group Global Support Centre which raised over $20,000 towards providing temporary classrooms and starting the feeding program earlier than scheduled for Namabaale Kinder!
For Ellen, being able to visit the kindergarten and see the massive difference she made and meet the children whose lives she has helped change was an overwhelming and rewarding experience that she describes as “hands down the best moment of the trip”.
We spoke to Ellen about the moment she arrived, and what it meant to her.
“There were hundreds of kids running up the hill to greet us and despite my attempt to hug every single one of them it was impossible. That entrance was the highlight and something I’ll never forget. As Darren and Father Jerome introduced me to the students and explained my input towards the kinder I had a little boy move a few inches closer to me and wrapped his arms around my leg to hug me. “
“I looked around and I had hundreds of kids smiling at me. That moment when you realise how grateful the community is so fulfilling. But, that moment was not just for me, it was for everyone that helped out. I’m just so lucky to be the representative that was there.”
Another aspect of Ellen’s trip that really stuck with her was her understanding and appreciation of Quality Education, saying “it’s not books in classrooms or bums on seats, it’s a safe learning space, passionate teachers and an environment that are sustainable for future growth. It’s a proud moment to look around and realise it’s the passion of Cotton On Foundation that have given this community the hope and vision for the future they deserve.”