In April 2020, Uganda-based not-for-profit Centre For Adolescent Reproductive Health (CEFARH) found its future suddenly in jeopardy. Lisa Mora, CEFARH’s chief fundraiser, had passed away unexpectedly from COVID-19, leaving her colleagues mourning her loss, but also in a precarious position.
“Lisa was the driving force behind our funding: all the money we had received so far was mobilized by her,” says Simon Ogwang, CEFARH’s founder. “When she died, I had no idea of where to start: we had no money in our bank account and no database of contacts.”
Lisa had worked tirelessly to raise funds in support of CEFARH’s mandate: to help young Ugandans affected by HIV/AIDS, reduce teenage pregnancy, and decrease child marriage—all of which had seen dramatic increases during Uganda's recent 24-year-long war. Now, Simon found himself in desperate need of fundraising and marketing help. “I couldn’t let the foundation die, too many people were counting on me, but we had no funds,” says Simon. On the brink of giving up hope, Simon received a lifeline: an email from Mailchimp partner Alessandra Farabegoli that changed everything.
How did you and Alessandra connect?
Simon: CEFARH was at a dying point. We had begun laying off staff; it was a grim time. I had reached out to a number of Mailchimp partners in the expert’s directory, but we had no funds, so, understandably, we received many nos. The day I got an email from Alessandra saying she’d like to take us on pro bono, I was totally shocked. I thought I was dreaming.
Alessandra, why did you decide to help Simon?
Alessandra: I am the co-founder of Freelancecamp, a networking and training community for freelancers. Each year, we pick an organization to help. When I heard about CEFARH through the Mailchimp community, I knew we had to step in. Along with 6 other Italian freelancers, we worked together to help CEFARH rebuild.
Simon: We’ve given these volunteers the nickname “The Super 7” because the work they’ve done has been far greater than anything I could have ever imagined. Thanks to Alessandra and the other freelancers, our visibility has increased exponentially. I never fathomed we would have the reach we now do!