Jason Baird, the founder of the Jason Baird Martial Arts Academy, stumbled across a martial arts group from Uganda on Instagram and was moved by their passion for the sport, despite their lack of resources.
The group used flip flops as focus pads and trained in the dirt, but still managed to teach children how to fight and stay active.
However, their page was flooded with messages of pleas for help, as they were struggling to afford basic necessities like food and water.
Jason was determined to help in any way he could, and after researching the situation, he discovered that even a small donation could make a huge difference.
For just £1, he could buy a full day’s food for two adults.
He reached out to Kayigwa, the coach of the martial arts group, to see how he could help.
Kayigwa’s main focus was to have food and water for his team, but his ultimate goal was to build his own club with premises where the children could also live.
Jason started working on the project solo and began organising things to have clothing sent to Kayigwa for the children.
He set a funding target of £1500, which would take care of the group’s basic necessities for six months.
He is now encouraging others to donate whatever they can, no matter how small, to help these passionate martial artists who had so little.
If you’d like to donate to this wonderful cause, please click here.
Jason and his team at the Jason Baird’s Black Belt Academy were humbled by the experience and grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact in the world.
Speaking to I Love Manchester, he said: “Recently, I was humbled by a group in Uganda who do martial arts with limited resources, so I reached out to them and donated to help them continue teaching children.”
“We have around 300 members in our gym, which is fully equipped with the best equipment available.
“Our young athletes are fully outfitted with the latest gear, which is something I appreciate.
“Recently, I saw some athletes who didn’t even have basic equipment like shoes or golds, and it made me realize how fortunate we are.
“We often get caught up in our worries and stresses about where we are in life and what we need to achieve, forgetting that there are people out there who don’t have access to basic necessities like food and water.
“I was moved to help after seeing a video from a coach halfway across the world.
“His team of young athletes, many of whom are orphans, train in a building that also serves as a shelter for them.
“I asked him how I could help, and he told me that $300 per month would cover the cost of food, water, and rent for the building.
“I set up a GoFundMe page with a target of £1500, which is equivalent to six months’ worth of support.
“As of yesterday, we have reached £240, which covers one month’s expenses. So we’re off to a good start but there’s much more we can do.”
They continued to work on similar projects and encouraged others to do the same.
The story of Kayigwa and his team in Uganda was a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of giving back to those who have so little.
He continued: “I have contacted a few companies for donations, and we may soon receive martial arts equipment.
“I have also organised a litter pick in my area on Saturday the 13th of May.
“Myself and the children from my martial arts school will be picking up litter in the local community, keeping the area clean.
“We will be taking a donation box with us to encourage the community to donate to Kay and the children in Uganda.
“I hope this will teach the children I teach in the Stockport area that giving back and appreciating what we have is essential from a young age.
“I hope to inspire future generations to continue to do good.
“One of my students, who is 17 years old, approached me after class and said he wants to do charity work. This had a significant impact on me, and I feel at peace knowing that my efforts are inspiring others to do good.
“I have set up a GoFundMe page for donations, and people can also join us on the litter pick on the 13th of May.
“I am trying to use the resources I have to get as many people involved as possible.”
Jason has been practicing Martial arts since he was 5, and set up the academy when he was just 17 years old.
He has competed around the world and retired as an 18-time world champion in 2015.
During lockdown, Jason and of his coaches dressed up as Spider-Man and ran around Stockport which went viral and raised over £100,000 for charities, including £50,000 for the NHS and £10,000 for a little girl with cancer.
He also ran three marathons in 24 hours around the streets of Stockport.
Jason is not stopping there, as he is set to run a 50 mile ultramarathon to raise money for the prevention of knife crime in Greater Manchester.
He is hoping to purchase some bleed kits to help out in case of emergencies.