Whether she’s in her office of the Brody Outpatient Center or in a village in Uganda, Ginger Dail gives people the tools they need to better their lives.
In addition to her work as a health educator for ECU CARE, Dail is the founder of Hope Aid International, a non-profit relief organization that seeks to relieve poverty in the eastern African nation.
A Greenville native, Dail earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Carolina University. She first visited Uganda in 1996, and has returned twice to the region, with plans to return again.
“Once you start thinking about it, it doesn’t go away,” she said. “I feel like I was born to do this; I couldn’t imagine not doing it.”
In 2000, after she returned from her second visit to Uganda, Dail got involved with Alliance for Youth Achievement, an organization that provides assistance to village schools.
“I found that the problems and needs of the communities spanned beyond the needs of textbooks and desks,” Dail said.
She found that these communities needed ways to make money, such as goats and chickens. They also needed clothing and school supplies. Sewing machines. Materials to make bricks.
The children, many of them orphaned, needed homes and food.
In 2005, Dail launched Hope Aid International to find ways to address the living needs of the residents of Fort Portal and Kampala, Uganda.
“I thought it would be a one-time thing, but then I thought, why not take it a step further?” she said.
Since then, she has coordinated more than 200 projects, and 100 percent of donations go directly to the Ugandan families. On-site coordinators in Uganda help Dail connect the needs of families with available resources.
While cash donations from $10 to $120 dollars could bring a means of income to a Ugandan family, the ECU community has also found ways to get involved. ECU communications students and instructor Kelli Munn (who is also a Hope Aid Board Member) raised $2,500 for a poultry project at Good Hope School. ECU child development and family relations professor Linda Robinson coordinated an exchange program, Hands Across Waters, between children at after school programs in Greenville with children in Uganda. Children exchanged letters and photos and learned about each other’s culture and crafts.
“It was a great cross-cultural learning opportunity,” Dail said. “The children wrote letters to one another.”
When her attention is not devoted to providing the tools for Ugandans to emerge from poverty, Dail is busy assisting clients at ECU CARE. The program, founded in 2000, is designed to assist low-income patients who have limited resources.
Dail works with clients to develop health plans that will help them to quit smoking, to introduce exercise into their lifestyle, or to make beneficial changes in their diet with the hope that a change in lifestyle could help them avoid medication.
“Basically, I’m a health coach,” she said. “Part of what I do is to help people find ways to be healthier. I tell my clients to call me every time they think of picking up a cigarette.”
In the next few months, Dail is anticipating new projects at both work and Hope Aid International. She’ll launch an eight-week wellness program through ECU CARE, and will soon lay the foundation to start a home and school for orphaned children in Fort Portal through Hope Aid. She plans to return to Uganda in the spring. “We know we can’t save the world, but if we can make it a little better for someone, then it’s worth it,” she said.
Hope Aid received non-profit status in November. A web site for the organization is online at http://www.hopeaid.org.