Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been able to showcase stories from last month’s GIVE campaign. Here’s another one which takes a look at the organization LittleDrops and one Microsoft employee who got it going…

 

LittleDrops raises funds for orphans, education

By LINDSAY LARIN
Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer

Nov 03 2009, 1:11 PM

http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/east_king/bel/community/68929382.html

Charles Duze is a dreamer.

The Microsoft software engineer grew up in Nigeria where he began to understand the importance of education. While attending high school, Duze remembers the impact of seeing children going through the garbage behind the school cafeteria in search of food. It was then that he decided to follow his dreams of becoming successful, eventually starting a nonprofit when he made his fortune.

The dream stayed with him as he grew, but the path he took led him in a new direction. Duze soon realized he did not need to be wealthy to help others.

In 2005, he started a nonprofit called LittleDrops Orphanage Fund. The name reminded him that little drops of water can make a mighty ocean. He stuck to his vision and began generating donations and volunteers to provide orphans with a variety of support in the form of food, clothing, shelter and education.

A number of employees from Microsoft stepped up to the task and donated time and energy to grow the nonprofit. Over the past four years, LittleDrops has gone from supporting 6 orphanage homes to 26 throughout Africa including locations in Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda. The organization has helped more than 2,000 children.

"When I ask the younger children what they want to be when they grow up, they tell me they want to be pilots, or engineers, or doctors," he explained. "Somewhere along the way they lose sight of those dreams. I want to help them hold on to them and achieve those dreams through education and support."

Duze's next step is to create a program using todays technology to connect orphans with adult mentors who can act as an unwavering support system over the years. The mentor would become a virtual parent.

"Our goal is to support these children beyond the orphanage, so when they turn 18 we don't just leave them on their own," he said. "We want to create a structure that would give continued support with education."

Microsoft's Giving Campaign provides the majority of funding for LittleDrops.

"It's a great benefit having a company like Microsoft behind us," he said. "I'm lucky to work for a company that encourages employees to make a difference."

To learn more about LittleDrops Orphanage Fund or to donate, visit www.littledropsorphanagefund.org.

Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer Lindsay Larin can be reached at llarin@bellevuereporter.com or 425-453-4602.