First, here is the straight-forward announcement.
We are now accepting applications for volunteers! We have availability for remote work and lots of opportunities here on the ground in Uganda. We’re also requesting feedback about how we interact with donors and potential volunteers.
Please take a moment to fill out this form if you’re interested in volunteering or helping us with a bit of feedback.
Note: This form is linked from various places on our website where the volunteer network used to be. The Volunteer Network is not “dead” we’re just volunteer-focussed (as this is our mission anyhow) and less on an app. Part of the point of the form is to learn ways we can properly plug volunteers in. Once we get rolling a bit we can look at revamping the VN a bit and using that.
Now, here is my personal spin. This reveals how critical this is for us.
I’m so frustrated right now, and I really need your help. Why? I see all these things that need to be done, and I just can’t do them. I am so overwhelmed, working ridiculous hours, way outside my skill set and I’m burning out.
Everywhere I turn I see problems that need to be fixed and I can’t fix them on my own. Don’t get me wrong.. supporters have helped us financially over and over and over again. We as a family are “making it”.. surviving. I’m thankful for that, but I want to do so much more than survive. I want to make a difference.
In most of our “no tech” programs (the Keep, the leather program and the BnB) we can see that we’re making a difference and those programs are thriving. This is the “family” side of our work in Uganda, the “no tech” side, and it’s a full-time job for Jen and I.
However, on “my” side (the tech side), we see the opposite. The programs are wilting. I can’t keep a technician so I can’t do repairs now. The Computer Training Center (CTC) is floundering because I don’t have enough time in the day and enough help. This is sad because I see — for the first time in five years — great potential in Uganda right now. I’m seeing a groundswell of excitement about technology, akin to what I saw in the US in the early 80’s. A die-hard tech underground is developing in Uganda, and for the first time I think hacker spaces and tech incubators could really make a huge impact. And the CTC is in the perfect position to accommodate this movement. But I simply can’t do it on my own.
I can’t “drop everything” and focus on the CTC. For starters, it’s more than a full-time job and it requires skills that I never really had. Beyond that, backing out of the “no-tech” projects would be piling more hours on Jen and turning our backs on some very clear callings and highly successful, often sustaining projects.
In short, I need your help, again. Don’t worry, this isn’t a cry for more money. I’m simply asking for you to donate your time and skills. We can’t continue to exist without people just like you. After all, Hackers for Charity is, “a non-profit organization that leverages the skills of technologists.” I haven’t done a really good job of leveraging those that have the skills and time to help. I’ve never done well at making clear exactly what we need.
Well, that changes with this post and with this form. We need specific help to make a difference. We need people to come to Uganda and we need people who are willing to work right from their desk chairs. But make no mistake, we need your help, right alongside us in body and spirit and we hope you’ll answer the call and at least, for starters, fill out this form.
Thank you in advance,
Johnny and Jen Long