DUBAI // A 12-year-old schoolboy has collected hundreds of football shirts, shorts and boots for Ugandan children - and flown all the way there to deliver them.
Lachlan MacPherson, a pupil at the American School of Dubai (ASD), travelled thousands of kilometres to east Africa with his Canadian expatriate parents to hand over the kit.
Lachlan started with the Kit Out Campaign in June after hearing about the initiative through a charity called Sustainable Economics Education Nutrition and Health (Seenah) that is raising money to build a clinic in Uganda.
Kathy Leibman, who runs Seenah, and Evelyn LeRose, a Grade 5 teacher at ASD, went along on the trip.
The group said they were overwhelmed by the reaction they received at Masooli Primary School in Kampala during their four-day trip.
"There were literally hundreds of children lining the road into the school and they were all singing," said Lachlan's mum, Alison MacPherson.
About a third of the schoolchildren, aged between five and 16, are orphans.
"We ended up taking part in training drills and had a few games," said Lachlan.
"They are really talented players. It was an amazing experience and the reaction we got from the people there was really special."
Lachlan started his campaign by collecting unwanted kits from friends. But word spread quickly and they were soon inundated with donations.
"We had the Manchester United Soccer School donate 100 balls, Ace Hardware donated big red bins to help with collection and people outside our school and community dropped stuff off," said Alison.
"One drop-off turned out to be from the manager of the UAE national team in Abu Dhabi."
In all, they managed to collect 30 footballs, 40 pairs of boots and more than 200 shirts and pairs of kit.
Emirates Airline allowed them to take an extra 50kg of luggage on their flight to Uganda.
The football strips were distributed to boys and girls at the school, as well as a local men's team.
"We are going to make this a continuous thing and maybe go back there in a couple of years," said Lachlan.
The focus will shift to collecting specially designed footballs that remain inflated on any terrain.
"It was a touching experience for all of us to be involved in and we plan to maintain contact with the school in future and help to support them if we can," Alison said.
* For more information, visit the Kit Out Kids Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org