In 2008, Craig Conover began supporting a small village in Uganda named Kotolo. Craig had an established friendship with Alexander Oboi, a local Ugandan. Alex and his mother Susan Mary asked Craig to pay for the construction of a primary school in Kotolo, because there was no local school. The closest public school was several miles away, and the children in Kotolo had to walk on foot to attend.
Craig had the idea to fund the school through asking for financial support and in turn would train and run marathons. He created “26 for Africa” – the ‘26’ represented 26 miles in a marathon. Craig was also simultaneously working full time, and was funding the majority of the school construction & teacher salaries (4 teachers to start) in phases out of his 401(K) retirement plan. Unfortunately, funding was few and far between, so Craig was funding everything for the school from 2008 to 2012 out of his own pocket.
In 2012, Craig and his daughter Becky had a conversation that led to Becky taking control of the non-profit organization so that Craig was able to eventually retire. Becky got a group of her friends together, formed a Board of Directors, changed the name from “26 to Africa” to “The Somero Project,” and started a sponsorship program to generate funding. The idea of sponsorship was to partner a student and a sponsor, putting a real name and face to the sponsor’s $25 monthly donation.
In the years since The Somero Project was established, we have accomplished a number of exciting projects in Kotolo.
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