Our Story begins with Lydia Natoolo, our founder. Lydia grew up in Uganda during the height of the AIDS epidemic, to which she lost many people in her family and community. She remembers the heartbreak she felt as a little girl, when she was told that there was nothing that could be done to cure or even treat the disease. This pain became the root of her passion to become a doctor.
This passion pushed her to excel in school, and it brought her to America for college. While researching waterborne diseases as a pre-medical student, she read an article about Atutur Hospital, a community hospital in the poorest district in Uganda, that was in a terrible water crisis.
A human body can live without a finger, or even an arm, but not without a heart. A community is the same: a community cannot function if its people are unwell, and people cannot stay well without an effective hospital. When people stay sick, they cannot work, which perpetuates poverty. This is what led to her decision to establish a non-profit, called Love A Community; because now she had a second dream: to see communities thrive around the beating heart of a well-equipped hospital.
We went to Atutur Hospital, to hear from the people there what they needed. They defined the challenges, and we talked about how we could help create homegrown solutions which would uplift the whole community. We learned that most non-profits focus on one resource, and by focusing on one resource, they make that resource more available to thousands of communities. Love A Community focuses on a community hospital, and by focusing on a community hospital, we make every resource more available to that community. Our goal is to improve the local community as a whole by providing all of the most essential resources people need to thrive. We advocate for the community in whatever way they need, bringing together resources, skills and funds. We make sure that every resource provided can be used effectively and adequately maintained, so that every gift can go on giving. As much as we can, we hire local businesses and tradesmen to aid in the provision, construction, installation, and maintenance of infrastructure resources, to help grow the community’s economic self-sufficiency.
Though we have only just begun, our interventions at Atutur Hospital have led to a drastic decline in infection and mortality rates, making it a place patients now feel safe in seeking out for help. There is greater hope in the community as each improvement in care brings them closer to fulfilling their own dreams of self-sufficiency and prosperity. There is greater hope, too, in surrounding areas, as our work has inspired others to meet the challenges facing their own communities. It has inspired us, too, to bring the Love A Community Approach to other struggling hospitals.
Uganda, rich in beauty, is known as the Pearl of Africa. Each of us, too, has a pearl: some forged of constant irritation, some safe in the oyster. This pearl is our (hard-earned) treasure: our time, and our talents. We all have the power to give of these treasures inside us, no matter who we are, or where we are, in life, or in the world. Every industry and field of study, every community, and every single act of love can create a sustainable change that saves a life, a hospital, a community.
We are Love a Community. Join Us.