It’s been ten years since the adventure began… And I remember the first committee meetings, the definition of Omoana’s objectives and, above all, our eyes filled with a strange mixture of hope and apprehension. Because even as young people, driven by our many ideals, we knew that the task would be arduous, the obstacles numerous and the disappointments inevitable. We were aware that the responsibilities we now bore were great. Because from then on, the success or failure of the missions we accepted would influence at least some of our destinies. At the time, we had no idea that our labours would affect more than seventeen thousand souls a decade later. How could we even imagine that, even with our wildest ambitions?

The years have passed. We have retained from our youth the determination and faith in our ability to alleviate the misery we witnessed. To this essential baggage, we have added the know-how that comes from experience in the field, often painful, sometimes comforting. We then developed various projects with the constant concern not to fall into the potential pitfalls of humanitarian aid. Despite its fine intentions, humanitarian aid is all too often perverted by misery and counterproductive charity. The fear of creating dependency on our support has been constant. Every decision we have taken has been part of a long-term commitment. These are some of the undeniable qualities of the steps taken by the Omoana association. Rather than making people dependent on aid from NGOs or the international community, our aim is to encourage beneficiaries to become self-reliant so that they can take their destiny into their own hands. They should be able to look after their children and contribute to the development of their country themselves. Instead of giving fish to those who need it, let them have the opportunity to learn to fish and buy a net!

Encouraged by the visible impact of our activities in the communities, we gradually diversified our projects. And the unspeakable suffering we have witnessed has only strengthened our resolve to give more time and more effort to the association. Although it’s not just about money, our voluntary work is essentially about fundraising. Involvement in Omoana is more of an administrative task: developing projects, drawing up budgets and taking responsibility for them by seeking support. Then, making sure that the funds raised are used exclusively to achieve the goals set. The association’s committee quickly realised that its tasks were far removed from “humanitarian trips”, which are sometimes linked to the exotic pleasures of tourism.

Finally, I’d like to highlight the incredible personality of the founder of the Omoana association. Adrien, your perseverance, your boundless energy and your refusal to see injustice as inevitable have made this crazy adventure possible. Your will, your audacity and your confidence make it possible to lift mountains. And, of course, the courage of the beneficiaries in Uganda. On behalf of all those who, from near or far, have contributed to the activities of the Omoana association, we thank you for the surge of solidarity you created 10 years ago, and our Ugandan friends for their determination to live rather than suffer and die.

Florence Savary