''I'm Lauren Exton, former television & radio producer in Australia, current PR manager for an entertainment company in the USA - and Followings is technically my side project, but absolutely dominates my thoughts and schedule!
A series of life-altering service trips to Uganda showed me just how great the need for community engagement is in the rural villages. I also witnessed enormous growth in myself and others on the trip and I was drawn to offer an opportunity for people around the world who might not realise they have everything it takes to be a change-agent. When all you have to do is take 10 days off work, and fundraise $6000 - anyone can make a massive impact in a short amount of time.
Most people don't know just how much they are capable of, so if I can help them see just how amazing they are - for me that is the greatest gift of all.
With 50% of Uganda's population under the age of 15, and only 8% of girls currently completing high school - it's obvious to me that we need all hands on deck, and that's partly what I'm trying to do with Followings. Whether people come on the trip, or donate to someone who is - they're making a change.
I opened up world-wide applications for the first 10 day trip in August 2017 and we had a full team of both Australians & Americans in just a few short weeks! We have weekly conference calls for the 12 weeks leading up to our November trip, and by the first week of September the team had already raised 10% of the $63,000 goal! (I'm still pinching myself!) Right now, with 2 weeks left until we fly out - we're sitting at almost $35,000 - truly amazing!!
The money raised will build a Learning & Community Centre in the rural Ugandan village of Busubi, and also covers the trip costs for the 10 hardworking fundraisers/volunteers who will tirelessly co-create & facilitate 7 intense days of community engagement with local villagers while on the ground.
We'll return again in April 2018, and again in October 2018, with 2 more trips in 2019, and a goal for the centre to be accredited to facilitate university courses and become fully self-sustaining by 2020.''
Check out more about this inspiring story on Lauren's crowdfunding campaign page below!