Carrie Elliott’s bond with the people of Kankoole, Uganda, began a decade ago when she and her family agreed to sponsor the education of two children there. Over time, those two sponsorships turned into 16, and ultimately into two visits to the remote, East African village to meet the children and offer her support.
For her latest visit in May, Carrie applied two Volunteer Time Off (VTO) days to supplement her vacation days for the two-week trip, and brought nearly $10,000 in AIG matching grants to complete a fourth school building.
“AIG has afforded me the opportunity to do this work,” said Carrie, Employee Relations Director in AIG's Legal Department. “The ability to take the VTO and to have the matching grants option so that I can go to these less-privileged areas and help the people keep the hope and improve their lives is immeasurable to me.”
Carrie and her 15-year-old daughter, Dylan, have taken the trips as part of a mission led by the Southern Baptist church in her hometown of Henderson, Kentucky. In the course of her volunteer work, she has watched the village expand its primary and secondary school buildings from one to three, and also add a new medical clinic, a church and two freshwater wells.
Her latest visit included spending time with the children, painting classrooms, and providing them with school supplies and other essentials. She also helped respond to teacher requests for supplies such as scientific calculators, travel expenses and uniforms for children competing in sports outside the village.
Among the most moving moments for Carrie was seeing the children in their uniforms welcome her group with singing, dancing and speeches. The youngsters, who have so little to give, have also presented her with gifts, including chickens, rabbits and handcrafted brooms.
“They’re all so motivated,” Carrie said. “A lot of them will go to university and some will use the English and math skills they’ve learned to better their lives.”
For Carrie, the ability to make a difference in the lives of these children has been a priceless experience. She plans to return to Uganda in 2019 to continue her volunteer efforts there. In November, Carrie’s next stop was a village near Hyderabad, India, where she and her son Sam helped build an orphanage and finance the purchase of water buffalo to help the orphanage develop an income stream.
This project is supported by AIG’s volunteer programme.Find out more