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From Janitor To Winner Of The CommonWealth Points Of Lights Award

Founder of Equal Aqua Uganda told his story as one who started from small beginnings, revealing that his journey of success started from cleaning washrooms in an upcountry hotel to voluntary work.

Abel Odeke, while appearing on RX Radio’s Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman, confessed that he was forced to drop out of university for lack of funds while pursuing his Bachelors in Mass Communication.

“I was one of the tuition defaulters because the institution was charging over Ugx 2.7million per semester and moreso, it was a four-year course. So I dropped out and volunteered at a hotel to clean toilets. It was my first paying job and I was getting Ugx.80,000 per month. But as I worked at the hotel, my father was offered an opportunity to go to the Netherlands and luckily he got me a sponsor that was willing to pay for my tuition for whichever university I wanted to go to in Uganda.”

After choosing to study from Kampala International University, Odeke started volunteering with organisations which he had networked with during his time at the hotel.

“Being a toilet cleaner and service personnel was purposeful because I used to serve people working with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Restless Development. These were the first organisations that I began volunteering with while at KIU.”

With a passion for volunteering, Odeke applied to work as an ICS volunteer with a desire for community change using his free time from campus to do it. While helping in a community within Hoima, Odeke saw the need to create water equality in the area after realizing that people were walking for over 20 kilometers to fetch water.

“I organised a team of my fellow volunteers to address this issue by creating water tanks and water filters while giving the community access to water and proper sanitation. We made sure that people were trained in assembling the water filters, cleaning them and mobilising funds in case of breakages,” he said.

He added that they decided to be different from other charity organisations by using recycled plastic bottles to change the lives of people while conserving the environment.

Crystal then asked Odeke how he had managed to scoop the Commonwealth Points of Light Award to which he answered that it was the grace of God because of how easily funds came in as soon as his team decided to construct the water tanks.

Although he noted challenges he encountered resulted from financing, he said that the organisation has been able to stand with grants and donations.

The Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5pm on RX Radio.

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