How a kid from Michigan started a sticker company that funds school fees for kids in Uganda.
My name is Jordan Van Loo, and I sell stickers. At the start of 2020, I was living in South Florida, surfing waves, drinking good coffee, and working as a marketing coordinator. I am always looking for new stickers to put on my surfboard, and one night while reading a newsletter from a nonprofit I help support, I saw a photo of a child drawing with a crayon. "That would be a cool sticker," I said to myself.
Two weeks later, that idea of a hand-drawn sticker stuck with me. So I began to research the idea of using stickers to help pay for kids' school fees in Uganda. Soon after, I started reaching out to nonprofits and eventually met with the Director of Hope Ministries Uganda, a nonprofit working with the Batwa tribe in Southern Uganda. As I learned more about this resilient group of people and the struggles that they had overcome, I fell in love with their stories.
The Batwa are one of the oldest documented tribes in Africa. The tribe continued to live a nomadic lifestyle in the rainforest, keeping their people's traditions until 1992, when the Ugandan government forced them out of their ancestral home.
Since then, the Batwa have worked to build a new life in a world that seems to have forgotten them. This resilient people group has worked to overcome poverty, discrimination, and all of the challenges of life.
Our mission at Stickers from Uganda is to support education, homes, and medical care for Batwa children in Uganda. We help empower the next generation of Batwa children to rise up and make a change in their community, country, and world.
Soon packages from Uganda containing drawings from the Batwa kids began arriving in the mail. After creating a website, we began selling these stickers from Uganda. The stickers we sold helped purchase new bedding for the children who have no parents and stay at the children's home run by the nonprofit. In addition, we have been able to help cover school fees allowing these children to continue their education.
The impact we have had is a direct result of ordinary people like you and me showing up in the lives of these children and using something as small as a sticker to have a significant impact on their lives.
Often, we tend to complicate things. The truth is God doesn't need us to have big shiny new ideas to impact people's lives. He already laid out a pretty simple roadmap to do just that, and it can be summed up in two words, "love people."
The type of love God was talking about when He told us to love people isn't the kind that looks on from a distance and thinks kind thoughts towards others. I think the type of love God wants us to have for others is a drastic type of love. When people encounter it, their lives are changed for the better. Today I scrolled through 12 web pages with over 130 children needing sponsors to attend school. My hope in life is that someday the school will be full, and the list of children needing sponsors will be empty.