In the fall of 2010, 11-year-old Mallory Fundora put only one item on her Christmas wish list: She wanted money to help orphans from Uganda that she had met when their choir visited her church.
From this simple wish, Mallory became the founder of Project Yesu, a not-for-profit organization that provides food, medicine and education for children in Uganda. Through an array of fundraising activities, Project Yesu has raised more than $100,000. Her efforts were recognized by a resolution in the Tennessee House of Representatives, which deemed her as “an intrepid young soul with extraordinary compassion.” Mallory says,
“I want to show people what a difference one person can make. Kids have good ideas, and you know what? We don’t know all the reasons why it won’t work, we just know what we want to do.”
In the fall of 2013, Mallory received the first Bammy Award for Student Initiative. She said that receiving a national award is the first thing that made teachers in her school take her efforts seriously:
“I feel like winning this award means that people take me seriously for the work that I am doing, instead of looking at me like I’m just a kid. I want the educators in the room to understand that there are other kids like me in their classrooms and they could be overlooking them every day. I started Project Yesu when I was in the 6th grade. From then to now (not including this school year) I have had 14 teachers and only 3 of them ever showed any interest in what I am doing in Uganda.”
Check out the amazing video Mallory made about her travels in Uganda.
- What mattered most to Mallory?
- What broke her heart about it?
- What did Mallory decide to do about it?
- What challenges did Mallory face on her journey?