We learn more about Parkinson’s Si Buko Uganda, one of the charities for which we held a fundraiser earlier this year.
A Cup of Tea for Everyone
In recognition of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we wanted to give back to the community which has welcomed and helped us in so many ways. Alongside other events, we decided to contribute through a fundraiser, with 100% of proceeds going to Parkinson’s charities. In planning on what to give back to people who donated, we wanted to offer people a gift which fit a range of purposes: something which was stylish, yet practical. Something suitable for daily use, yet elegant. After some discussion, we finally settled on a somewhat unexpected object: a mug.
Previously, Charco mugs were one of the presents given to new members of the team. These mugs became yet another way to unify everyone here at Charco throughout our daily Zoom meetings – happily interrupted, as is by now routine, with appearances from pets and younger members of the family. With endless cups of tea and coffee fueling our days, being able to use a mug with Charco’s name on it during team meetings was important to help make everyone feel part of the team.
As we always say, we feel that you are all part of Team Charco. In holding this mug fundraiser, then, we wanted to achieve two things. First, to raise funds for important causes, including Parkinson’s Si Buko Uganda; and secondly, to welcome all of you even further into becoming partof our community.
Parkinson’s Si Buko
Parkinson’s Si Buko (meaning ‘Parkinson’s is not witchcraft’), is an organisation based in Uganda committed to dispelling misinformation about Parkinson’s within the local community. We knew of the group through our friends, and were keen to help in any way we could. Kabugo Hannington, Si Buko’s director of operations, is deeply committed to the organisation’s mission: educating the public about Parkinson’s in Uganda. Hannginton’s own mother died from complications related to Parkinson’s thirteen years ago, spurring Hannington into his passionate education of individuals about Parkinson’s.
‘I saw my mother suffering to death. That is why I started Parkinson’s Si Buko, so that no one suffers my mum’s way, so that no one is neglected’. The information Si Buko provides across Uganda aims to ensure that the Parkinson’s community receive adequate medical care. Beliefs which existed within the community linking the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s to witchcraft, meant that Hannington’s own mother did not receive such care.
‘In Uganda’, Hannington recounts, ‘we have a lot of taxis, and 70% of Ugandans use them. I put stickers on taxis and buses that said ‘Parkinson’s is a science’. I got 166 phone calls from different people telling me about their relatives that were living with what they thought could be Parkinson’s.’ This initiative sparked discussion amongst the community leading to Hannington’s conference, where he spoke to 260 people about the science behind Parkinson’s, and the medical care and exercises that can help manage the symptoms. Hannington’s work in Uganda has already made an incredibly positive impact for those living with Parkinson’s, with ensuring vital access to exercise kits and medical professionals.
A portion of the funds we raised through our event have been donated directly to Parkinson’s Si Buko, where they will use the money to buy medication for those living with Parkinson’s. Funds have also contributed towards exercise groups for people with Parkinson’s based in the UK. We would like to say a big thank you to Hannington for the work you are doing to help raise awareness for Parkinson’s, and for the passion with which you do it.
Designing the Mug and Preparing for the Launch
For Charco, mugs are symbolic of hospitality; offering someone a cup of tea or coffee is an amazing way to reach out and connect with people. These mugs also serve to visually raise awareness for Parkinson’s, hopefully starting some vital conversations about Parkinson’s and the importance of recognising symptoms’ complexity, whilst also amplifying voices within the Parkinson’s community.
‘At Team Charco, we always have a hot drink in hand, so naturally we gravitated towards an item that we could see ourselves, and our supporters using everyday’, Lucy reflects. ‘Drinking out of the mug will spark conversations about Parkinson’s with those around us, especially with the projected return to the office in the next few months.’
Every one of us was thrilled to make a special edition of the mugs for Parkinson’s Awareness Month, with the whole team participating in the organisation, design, and ordering of the mugs. The design process was exciting: deciding which image to include,or which colour we would be using for the design, became a process in which every member had their say. When it comes to design at Charco, input is not just limited to designers – everyone participates in the process, and everyone gets to vote! Once the mugs were ordered, we set to work setting up a webshop. We also managed to test our website through the project, giving us insights ahead of the CUE1 launch later this year. After a few attempts the webshop was all set up and we were all good to go! ?
The mugs sold out within a few days of being posted on our online shop. Team Charco worked hard to receive the products, take orders, package, and post without delay. When working on a ShieldNHS project last year to make and donate over 60K shields across 80+ places in the UK, we became experienced in mass-posting items. Although it may seem like a simple process, postage and packaging are one of the most challenging parts of the process.
Lucy and Sunny were responsible for packaging the mugs, and made sure to give the packages that special Charco touch. Receiving so many pictures from our wonderful supporters with their mugs has felt incredible. Seeing people use our mugs makes us feel so proud, particularly as they contributed to such deserving causes. For Sunny, ‘the process of sending out the mugs felt really meaningful; each one was going somewhere different but had the same purpose of informing people about Parkinson’s.’
The Importance of the Mugs
Raising awareness for Parkinson’s has always been at the forefront of everything which Team Charco does. Reflecting on Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Lucy said;
‘It is vital that everyone is aware of the many different ways in which Parkinson’s can affect individuals. For example, a common misconception about Parkinson’s is that it only affects older people. However, this is not the case, as YOPD (Young-onset Parkinson’s) occurs in people younger than fifty years of age. The public needs to recognise how broad-ranging the symptoms of Parkinson’s can be, and how to support everyone living with Parkinson’s.’
Lucy’s stress on the importance of recognising the multitude of different ways in which Parkinson’s affects individuals is exactly what Parkinson’s Awareness Month seeks to achieve; through educating the public on the symptoms, Parkinson’s will hopefully be better understood and the community will receive the support which you deserve. Through the donation funds being used by Parkinson’s Si Buko to educate individuals in Uganda on the symptoms of Parkinson’s, awareness will be raised for Parkinson’s in a way that will ensure that those living with the condition will be better understood by everyone.
Team Charco would like to say a big thank you to you all, we hope you continue to use and enjoy your mugs!
Thank you for reading! If you wish to learn more about Parkinson’s Si Buko Uganda, please visit https://parkinsonssibuko.org/. From all of us at Charco, thank you for making Parkinson’s Awareness Month one that truly helped the community!
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