Samuel Leeds Foundation – a newly registered charity helping poverty-stricken people in Africa
In 2009 Samuel Leeds visited a Zambian village in desperate need of fresh drinking water. He vowed that if he ever became successful he would return and provide that most precious gift. A year later he was financially free and fulfilled his vow. Now he has set up the SAMUEL LEEDS FOUNDATION, a registered charity transforming lives in Africa.
Keeping the promise Samuel made as a teenager
As a teenager Samuel Leeds was stunned to meet a five-year-old boy in Zambia who regularly walked 12 kilometres just to fetch clean water. It was an image that stuck in his mind and signalled the start of his charity journey which has already benefited hundreds of poverty-stricken people.
“I just couldn’t believe that such a young boy was having to walk that far for a basic commodity – something everyone in the West takes for granted. I remember as a teenager vowing to God that if I ever became rich I would return to that village and build a well or a borehole to provide safe drinking water. It would not just be for that boy, but for all of the 350 villagers.”
A year later Samuel became financially free through property and went back to the country to honour his pledge.
“I remembered that little boy and I remembered the village and the promise I had made. I built a borehole 110 metres deep. I’ll never forget seeing the spring water coming up and all the excited children and villagers running to drink the water. It gave me a real sense of fulfilment.”
Since that day, Samuel has been going back and forth to Africa, once or twice a year, to identify and help those most in need.
“I’ve been fortunate to have had great success in business, but the true significance of that is that I have been able to make a difference to people who have absolutely nothing in life. It feels incredible to be in a such a privileged position that I can help relieve poverty in their communities.
“I believe that when you are successful in business and have money, you are blessed. I believe you are also ‘blessed to be a blessing’ to other people. In my eyes being rich obliges you to help people who are less fortunate than yourself – and trust me nothing feels better than doing that! That’s why I am so excited to launch my registered charity, the Samuel Leeds Foundation.”
Samuel says he held off registering his charity for so long because he preferred to fund all his charity efforts from his own business profits.
“In truth, I didn’t want or expect others to contribute, but people have been on my back for the last few years telling me they’ve seen what I do and the lives I’m changing, and they made it clear they wanted to help. Setting up the foundation means they can now do just that.”
Samuel Leeds Foundation Charity has four key aims
Outlining his plans for the Samuel Leeds Foundation, Samuel has set out four main objectives.
The first is to provide essential aid to people in desperate need, such as those without clean water.
The second focus is on education which Samuel believes is the path to prosperity.
“We want to see business and personal development skills being taught all across Africa and we have already been passing on our knowledge and skills to budding entrepreneurs. We’ve had talks with senior education officials in Uganda to get this kind of teaching introduced into the school curriculum. We’ve been told that will happen. There is no limit on what can be achieved when people can expand their knowledge and get to grips with finance and business.”
The third area the charity will concentrate on is the funding of emergency surgery. This is a cause close to Samuel’s heart after he himself was rushed into hospital for an operation following an accident in Uganda. The Property Investors founder was on a white-water rafting expedition on the River Nile when he was flung from his boat and hurled down a waterfall, shattering his kneecap in four places on rocks.
He lost a quarter of his blood and spent the next week in hospital. But while the general conditions were ‘shocking,’ Samuel was fortunate to be operated on by Dr Jamirah Namusoke at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital. She is one of only 12 orthopaedic surgeons covering the entire country.
“I was incredibly lucky to get Dr Namusoke because she did the most amazing job on my knee.
“She skilfully rebuilt it by wiring all the pieces of bone together. I’ll never forget what she did. She was the only doctor who gave me hope that I could lead a normal life again and walk properly. I’m not just walking now – I’m running!
“I was determined to personally thank her for what she did. She had moved to a different hospital in Kampala, the capital, but I traced her and arrived with some gifts for her house.”
Samuel says she was delighted to see him, and they began chatting about the harsh realities of hospital life in Uganda.
“I knew a little bit about that because when I was in hospital I was left without food and at times no one even came to me when I wanted to go to the loo. In Uganda, hospitals expect relatives and friends to look after a patient’s welfare.
“Dr Namusoke is the most beautiful person and was my guardian angel when I was suffering badly. Whenever she was in the hospital, she made sure I was being properly looked after. Now, she has made me realise that my experience was actually privileged compared to what some people get. I had the rare services of a skilled doctor and was rich enough to be able to fund my own treatment.
“She said many people are just left to fend for themselves because they haven’t the means to pay for operations – even those maimed in road accidents.”
Samuel immediately opened a bank account for the doctor with an initial 10 million Ugandan shillings.
“She was overjoyed because that is a lot of money in Uganda, but it’s just the start of her fund. I’ve told her that whenever the account gets a little low, I will top it up.”
Within days of the fund being set up two people were spared from having limbs amputated. One was a young woman in her twenties with five children who had been hit by a motorcycle while walking. She had successful surgery on her leg. The second person was a young man involved in an accident while travelling in a taxi. His leg became badly infected and he would have lost it had it not been for the funding. There was no way he could have afforded such a complex operation.
A class act in Uganda
Samuel says the fourth focus of the charity is potentially the most exciting.
“We’re going to build schools. That work has already started, and we’ve been rebuilding two schools in ‘desperately poor areas’ of Uganda after a meeting with education chiefs in the country.”
During a trip to Uganda last year with his wife Amanda, Samuel was shocked by the state of the buildings and identified two in particular need of urgent help in the east of the country.
“Things are so bad that pupils are having classes under trees with no workbooks. The first school we are helping is Balubandi Primary School in Iganga district which has 1,200 pupils. It has a tin roof with gaping holes and no windows. When it rains it just pours into the school. It was originally built on a shoestring budget by some of the parents and is now in an appalling state of repair. The floors are covered in dust which attracts a type of insect that can give children rickets.
“There is also just one single toilet for the entire school which is basically a hole in the ground. It is in such a state that children have to go outdoors if they want to go to the loo. It was so bad during my visit that I just had to go and find a tree when I needed the toilet. People in the UK would just not believe the conditions these children have to endure.
“Our first project will be to build new toilets for them and then we will start reconstructing the fabric of the building to create a proper environment for education. It will cost us around £40,000 and will be worth every single penny. Money goes a long way over there, and we expect to have all the work completed by the back end of next year.”
The second school to benefit from Samuel’s generosity will be Bunafu Primary School in Luuka district which has 700 pupils. Whilst the building is in a slightly better condition, there are only basic classrooms with no assembly room.
“We will build a large school hall where all the pupils can gather together. It will be ideal for assemblies and special events that parents can attend. The cost will be around £20,000 for that project which should be completed fairly early in the new year. I’m flattered that they have decided to name the new facility The Samuel Leeds School Hall.”
The school also has a nursery within its curtilage, but the building is falling down and currently only caters for around 20 youngsters. The entrepreneur has also agreed to finance a replacement building accommodating up to 100 children.
“At first we were looking for a piece of land on which to build an entirely new school but ended up helping two existing schools which were seriously in need of finance.
“The education department was extremely receptive to my idea of introducing new subjects. I think adding a business element is so important as it could inject desperately needed money into poor communities. My dream would be to see these children develop and grow into people who help bring about positive changes and transform some of the most deprived places on the planet.”
How you can get involved – preferably from a position of ‘abundance’
Anybody who wants to make a donation to the Samuel Leeds Foundation to help the charity’s four core aims can contact Samuel by emailing [email protected] or by filling in the form on our website contact page.
While Samuel welcomes all contributions, he stresses that there is an even better way to become involved.
“The most powerful thing you can do is to become financially free. You can then come out here and help out because your time is more valuable than your money.
“If you have already become financially free as a result of my training, we can bring you with us to Africa. If you’ve got a burning desire to come out, but you haven’t really got much to give financially, I believe the best thing to do would be to get educated yourself.
“When you’re financially free you have time and money to help. You can then come to Africa from a position of abundance. My mission is not just to help people become financially free in the UK but across the whole of Africa and to transform the lives of people who suffer terribly because of poverty.
“I would love you to walk with me on this most incredible of journeys.”