In 2007 my wife, Morgan, and I started a non-profit organization working in Uganda, East Africa. Light Gives Heat (LGH) was birthed as our response to a need we encountered while we were living in Uganda completing the adoption process for our daughter. That need was opportunity and our solution was consistent income generation.
Through two separate product lines we created and sustained over 100 jobs for Artisans in Uganda. But as we continued to travel back and forth between Colorado and Uganda, we kept running into the same problem back in America. People had a ‘box’ in their minds for the work we were doing.
Often we would hear “oh… that’s nice,” or “bless you for doing that for those poor people in Africa.” And although people meant well, it was incredibly disheartening because we knew the truth. The truth that the people we were serving in Uganda were bright, funny, intelligent, and incredibly capable.
Yes, they had experienced hardship, war, and injustice, but they had amazing stories of triumph and lived with a vibrant hope. A hope that didn’t make sense and a hope, which if I’m honest, was lacking in me most days.
In the same way the Artisans had a choice to choose hope, I realized that Light Gives Heat had a choice to make….
It’s the same choice that every Entrepreneur has – either play it safe and let people continue to believe in the worldview they have grown up with, or challenge it.
We decided to challenge it, even if it meant we would have to work harder to secure funds and generate revenue (because let’s be honest, Westerners are inherently bent to helping when a situation is presented as life-threatening and pity is involved).
No one would disagree that media and the advancement of technology has made the single largest impact on the sharing of ideas. We knew that if we wanted to change people’s worldviews and challenge the impact they could make in this world, we’d have to harness the power of media. So we set out to tell our story in such a way that affected the bottom line of our company, but just as importantly – impacted, inspired, and helped those who had a ‘box’ for the kind of work we were doing.
We smashed the ‘box’ by producing Moving On, a feature-length documentary that had the cinematic qualities usually reserved for Hollywood production. We wanted the world to know that a relationship with Africa is not one sided – we both need each other, in fact, our rescues are tied up in one another. And it is through the daily choice of hope that we found love is winning.
For a limited time (through September 10, 2014), watch Moving On free online. Not only did the film land us a spot on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” play (and win awards) at Film Festival around the world, and gain distribution on TV Networks Worldwide, but it has also inspired thousands of people around the world to challenge the story they are telling with their lives and use their lives for more!
Watch the Film in its entirety at www.lightgivesheat.org
To read more about Light Gives Heat on Huffington Post CLICK HERE