Founder's Story

Founder's Story

Garland Thomas-Emmanuel Smith

Hi everyone :),

Garland here. Hey, hey! I love you. We are One under the Sun, people. That means we are all the same - don't let anyone convince you otherwise! You can always look inward - introspect - to find the answers you are looking outward for. The answers you find inside are sometime tough however, you may not want to believe them. But, you should believe in yourself, because no one knows what is better for you than you! Trust and believe in yourself. Love all, be yourself. One love.

Founder's Story

My name is Garland Smith and I am the happy founder of The Omushana Company (Omushana). I began building Omushana - meaning “sunshine” in SW Uganda language of Runyankore/Rukiga - when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda for two years. The concept began as an organization that would bring sustainable means of energy to those in the world who need it the most. This concept transitioned from a desire to help - to a need to help. Omushana uses profit from our apparel sales to purchase solar lanterns in Uganda, to be provided for the most vulnerable and marginalized families in Uganda (one garment for one lantern).

Throughout my time of service in Uganda, I found trends: First, the vast majority of people want to develop; second, the majority of people are willing to work for their development; and third, most people do not want others to develop for them and want to develop themselves. However, ALTERNATIVELY: Fourth, the slight minority of people actually have the tools to begin and sustain development for their communities and country. … This observation developed into an understanding, and my experiences allowed me to realize the actual depth to development. I realized that people who seek development are simply without the tools to not only begin, but to also sustain their own development. By tools for development, I mean the various resources that allow people to put beneficial effort into increasing the wellbeing of themselves, their families, and their communities and country. Honestly, the tools are really an increase in opportunity.

Omushana is an opportunity, realized. Three-fold. Power in Uganda is unreliable and even inaccessible to many families throughout the country. Throughout my time in Uganda, I began to understand the simple solution that most people abide by: to deal with it and to wait until power returns. This is a common sentiment, but not because people are content or lazy. The tools are simply out of reach, and there is no other choice. By supplying a tool for development (solar lanterns as a sustainable solution), people are able to build their routes to their development. Beneficiaries are able to build their ladder out of the poverty trap. Beneficiaries realize an opportunity.

Omushana is an opportunity, realized. I grew up under a helping father, a strong mother, and a determined brother. My father was distant during my early growth, as a public-school teacher divorced to my mother, he moved around a lot. Though still in communication with him and supporting me as he could, without my dad around I built traits of self-empowerment and resilience because I became the responsibility for my own growth. This was not my only responsibility however. My mother has multiple sclerosis, she is physically disabled from the degenerative disease and as such, the responsibility to care for her was placed mostly on me and my older brother; I shared the responsibility to care for my mom in conjunction to the responsibility to grow myself. Care for my mom began more-so simply with weekly food preps and help to bathe, which progressed into midnight calls for help to the bathroom, to 40-minute trips home to lift her from the floor after falling while I was in university. At least I had my brother to help. … That changed one morning when a few police officers came to my home, sat me and my mother down, and told us that my brother was gone. An accidental death ended the pursuits of a level-headed, ever-caring, determined for success and working for all, 22-year old. I grew through family upheaval, under a helping father, a strong mother, and a determined brother. I chose Peace Corps to continue my efforts of service for others, but on a larger scale. While serving, I realized an opportunity to support others through their development and through their own upheavals. I realize an opportunity with Omushana.

Omushana is an opportunity, realized. We all have the opportunity to help others, those whom we don’t even know, but could benefit substantially from support. Humanity is the nation that we are all able to have pride for. Omushana is the opportunity to realize a desire to help by contributing to a tool for development. That tool has the ability to be used by those who want to develop - who are willing to work for their development - who want to work for their development - and who will now have the opportunity to begin and sustain development from a simple tool applied as a daily function for increased well-being and happiness.

Omushana is an opportunity, realized.

Omushana is also happiness. Adversity will catch you at any corner, but we are the ones able to control how adversity affects us. I believe Omushana is full circle, and I want to build a family with those who support, to understand that optimism is realism. Optimism is authentic. We are with more control and with more power than we may perceive! If anything, I hope Omushana will bring confidence, happiness, and build a realization of OPPORTUNITY for everyone! We are powerful beyond measure.

Cheers!

Garland Smith

 
 
Garland has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Economics from Radford University and a Master of Science (MSc) in Sustainable Development from The University of Sussex. The University of Sussex has been ranked number-one in the world for development studies for 5+ years. Garland's LinkedIn
 
Watch Omushana's Story-Video:
Watch Garland's "What is The Omushana Company?" video
 
Read about their work:
Uganda youth center creates opportunities
Meet Garland Smith - Soccer Player, Entrepreneur, Changemaker!
Omushana - Shining a transformative light of hope to those in darkness
 
See their other projects:
MCHG Holding LLC
Obsolete Project
Garland Is Bel (Bel Recording LLC)
 
 

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3 comments

Garland you are the best. You help make generations better. You share the right order of life that helps people to create a better future life. Love your thinking what is good and what is true. You

Margaret

People like me who have been in Uganda know what the locals (Me inclusive) go through.
we have unreliable source of energy, we are endowed with a lot of vegetation but much is cut in search for wood fuel.

To me Smith is God given especially here in western Uganda through his Omushana company.
solar lanterns are doing great since it improves peoples welfare. How? No more kerosene lamps that causes diseases. they also prevent environmental pollution among others.

Thank you Smith

KAUNDA ELISA

I am a twenty year in active primary teaching professional aged 39 years. I first of all thank Smith for he came from US for Uganda. Smith you lived in Uganda and you are speaking real western Uganda though this same tool can be replicated to other rural regions. This lantern tool helps our families in different ways including ; school going children are able accomplish school tasks conveniently, elders are able guide the young timely, reduced pressure on our energy resources , reduced fire outbreaks and its grave impacts, reduced air pollution,… For your family upheavals, thank God you have life, every happening in ones lifestyle has an implication. I call upon people towards Smith’s cause.

Arthur karuhanga

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