FINDING FAR AWAY FRIENDS
By Audrey Willett:
Far Away Friends is all about helping improve resources in rural villages. The organization believes that where you’re born shouldn’t determine your access to wealth, health, or education. Please enjoy the interview!
AW: Tell us all about you and your organization!
MBW: My name is Miles Bradley-Winters, and I am a 16-year-old girl from San Diego, California! I am an aspiring activist and the President of a club at my high school called Far Away Friends. Far Away Friends is a nonprofit organization aiming to equip children in Namasale, Uganda, with the tools and resources necessary to break cycles of generational poverty. It was founded by two extraordinary women, Collines Angwech and Jayme Ward. It started in Lakewood, Colorado, and now new Far Away Friends chapters are starting up across the country! With the guidance of co-founder Jayme Ward, I started a Far Away Friends chapter at my new school in California. We have weekly meetings during the school year where we discuss a wide range of topics such as white supremacy, neo-colonialism, and period poverty, and how they specifically affect communities in Uganda. Along with having discussions on how to make a change, my peers and I also fundraise for things like new desks and sanitary hygiene kits for schoolgirls.
AW: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
MBW: I think that it’s crucial for our generation’s voices to be heard because children and youth are the future. As a member of Gen Z, I truly believe that our generation is full of changemakers, and we will create pathways for a better future for not only ourselves but the generation that comes after us. When I look at Gen Z and everything we’ve accomplished, I am very hopeful for our future.
AW: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
MBW: Oftentimes, it’s difficult to not be worried about some aspect of the future. I, myself, am guilty of this. Regardless of what we see on the news and hear on the radio, there are so many reasons to be optimistic about our future. I feel like Gen Z has passionately voiced our opinions on the issues we’re currently battling in our society and that our passion will ensure a bright future for all of us. I think we exhibit a determination to better our society that has never been seen before.
AW: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
MBW: Right now, I think our society is facing a multitude of issues. From white supremacy and nationalism affecting the world, and the major lack of gun-safety laws in our own country, it is vital that we work to fix these issues, as they’re not only deeply rooted and complex but time-sensitive as well. Our generation’s exposure to these issues is unique to any other generation. As young adults, our lives were disrupted by a global pandemic while also trying to figure out a way to amplify our voices to fight against systemic racism and police brutality. Our generation faced a hurricane of social justice issues all at once, and we now know that we must put in the work if we want them to be fixed.
AW: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
MBW: Far Away Friends is working at enhancing the quality of primary education available to children in the Amolatar district of Uganda. While advocating for our friends across the world, we also aim to break down the White Savior Complex that is so prevalent in our society today. By having Far Away Friends clubs around the United States, kids like me can become active global citizens and learn that where you’re born should not limit the amount of opportunities available to you. In our Far Away Friends clubs, we have educational meetings about topics that affect youth in Uganda. Whether it’s lack of transportation or lack of health care, we talk about the root causes and what we as global citizens are able to do about it.
AW: Will you be voting in the next election?
MBW: I will absolutely be voting in the next presidential election! My parents have always taught me that voting is not only a right we have but a responsibility we must fulfill. If you want to have an influence on our future, voting is one of our biggest opportunities for change!
AW: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors. Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
MBW: Far Away Friends has Advocate opportunities for global citizens who wish to invest in educational equity. As an advocate, you are able to help and support amazing Ugandan educators and students with a monthly gift of $25. Along with our Advocacy program, Far Away Friends is working on income-generating projects. Throughout the course of the next couple years, Far Away Friends will begin to develop a business-training and income-generating program for families in Namasale, Uganda, who wish to invest in their children's futures. If you would like to know more or donate to the launch of this program, you can visit our site.
If you would like to know more about Far Away Friends and how you can make a difference, you can visit us here.
You can also check out our social media platforms and stay updated!
@farawayfriendsglobal on Instagram
@farawayfriendsrbhs on Instagram
@faflakewood on Instagram
And on Youtube!
Audrey Willett is a southern California sophomore in high school. She is an activist and aspiring filmmaker, and the Social Media Outreach coordinator for The Gen Z Collective.