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Far Away Friends Founders Keep Fighting for Uganda

Kaylee Walls
Jayme Ward and Collins Anwech at Dakota Ridge High School in October, promoting Far Away Friends by selling bracelets and bandanas

In 2011, at Lakewood High School, a senior girl entered an assembly with no idea what she was going to do after her inevitable graduation. She watched and listened as a young woman from Uganda, only 22 years old, told her tales from her country. Her fear growing up in a war. Her pain. Her anguish. When Jayme Ward left that assembly, she knew she wanted to help people like Collins Angwech — people trapped in a loop of poverty and poor education. Years later, Far Away Friends was founded. 

Far Away Friends is an organization that focuses on ending a loop that has been happening in Uganda for years now.  Adults who don’t get a proper education can’t get proper jobs, which means their kids can’t get a proper education, and thus the cycle of poverty and poor education repeats.

“It’s getting better now, because what has really contributed so much to the poverty, and the generation of poverty, is that most of the people didn’t have access to education,” co-founder Collins Angwech said.

In recent years, Far Away Friends has supplied 500 girls with feminine hygiene products, decreasing the 30% that miss school every month due to their periods, so they can focus more on their education rather than worrying about a problem occurring every month. As for Dakota Ridge High School, a classroom was built for Agikdak from the money they raised last year. 

“We’re stronger in numbers, right? It doesn’t take one person to raise $15K, it takes a huge community of people doing little-by-little to make an impact,” co-founder Jayme Ward said.

Which begs the question: why was Far Away Friends founded?

Jayme Ward, Co-Founder of Far Away Friends (Jayme Ward)

“When I met Collins, and I learned that in her community there was such a lack of high quality education for kids, I thought: How is that fair?” Ward said. “Just because of the off chance that you happen to be born in a rural community, you’re not any less deserving of the tools that you need to succeed.”

Ward said that listening to Collins “opened her mind” and showed her a part of the world she didn’t know was struggling. This pushed her toward Far Away Friends, and upon hearing Angwech’s dream of starting a school, she said she wanted to do whatever Angwech wanted to do.

Now, there’s a Global Leaders primary and boarding school for children in the Amolatar region of Uganda where they learn about life skills, girl empowerment, and receive a good education that they couldn’t have normally. Daily meals and safe housing are provided with volunteer teachers from the area. Five hundred kids, from pre-K to 7th grade, are getting the education they need to end this cycle of poverty.

However, Ward didn’t do it alone. She had the help of her good friend and co-founder Collins Angwech.

Angwech didn’t grow up in a comfortable home like most American children. “I was born and raised in a war that happened in northern Uganda for over 20 years,” Angwech said. “I was given an opportunity to get out of that… pain and… the suffering of growing up in the war and not having access to quality education.”

Collins Angwech, Co-Founder of Far Away Friends (Collins Angwech)

Angwech’s story opened Ward’s mind to the other side of the world, and the same thing happened to Angwech. While in Uganda, she never knew that there were people who were willing, and even wanted, to help.

“Meeting Jayme and coming to the U.S. — going to high schools and seeing how giving people were with what little they had — really inspired me,” Anwech said.

Ward and Angwech’s journey has led to a close friendship and an organization with big plans. According to Ward, Far Away Friends plans to find 60 “sister schools,” one school in America tied to one in Uganda for fundraising, and once that is finished, they hope to expand their operation beyond the area.

As Ward said, “Every dollar counts.”

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About the Contributor
Kaylee Walls, Staff Writer
Kaylee Walls is a sophomore and first year writer for The Cord News. She took reporting due to a recommendation from her Honors English teacher and practically fell in love with the art of it all. An overall honest person, she enjoys digging for the truth and bringing it to the light.

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