[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/21/art.tiffany.jpg
caption=”Brittany Marrill founded the Ugandan American Partnership Organization to help Ugandan families.”]
At first glance, it’s hard to see how a pretty college student from a good home in Georgia and a poor, young mother in a Ugandan village who took in 24 orphans could be connected. But, while Brittany Merrill was studying abroad in Uganda, Sarah Kamara and her children changed the course of Brittany’s life and career. “They taught me about what is meaningful in this world and gave me purpose,” Brittany said of the encounter. “They shook me out of my complacency.”
Seeing the young mother’s need for food and shelter for the children she took in from the village, Brittany started to raise money for a better home for Kamara when she came back to the States. She found a donor to buy them a house. But, she didn’t stop there. She started the non-profit Ugandan American Partnership to help other Ugandan communities.
Four years and about $800,000 in donations after her first encounter with Kamara, Brittany opened The Ranch on Jesus Orphanage in March of this year. It holds the orphans she sought out to help and more. At capacity, 180 orphans can live there. Brittany now splits her time between Uganda and Atlanta, running her organization full-time.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview