MADRID, N.M. (KRQE) – Madrid, New Mexico is partnering with another village to do good – halfway around the world. They’re sponsoring a village in Uganda and hope other communities will do the same. The partnership all started with a Facebook message.

“He lived in the little village called Kyamulibwa which is Madrid’s sister village,” said Brian McMahon, chairman of the New Village Alliance. “He said, ‘sir, I want to change my life.'”

The boy in Uganda inspired the Madrid resident to do more, so he started by sending seeds and sponsoring a chicken farm. Then, fellow residents joined in, wanting to help. That’s how the New Village Alliance was formed.

“We’ll put up pictures of orphans, or a project like we build houses for people,” said McMahon. “We’ve gotten medical treatments, we’ve almost finished an orphanage, and it’s all been publicly supported.”

A couple years ago, McMahon decided to visit the village to see first-hand, how he could help. Now, he tries to visit a few times a year.

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“We don’t want to be people that come in and think we know it all just because we’re from the first world,” said McMahon. “They’re very intelligent about their problems. They just don’t have access to the resources to address a lot of them.”

One of their biggest moves — taking care of the many children left orphaned in the village. McMahon says much of the country’s population is very young.

“Because of HIV and a lot of difficulty politically there, there’s a lot of children that are either being raised by grandparents or by distant relatives,” said McMahon. “That was one of the things we noticed first was when we started seeing pictures from the village, we saw a lot of kids and not as many adults as you would think.”

They’ve since sponsored 54 kids to go to a private boarding school where their education and living arrangements are taken care of. A community in Albuquerque has even started their own village partnership, called the World Shine Project — and McMahon hopes more will take off.

“We’re really looking for the idea to take off, for other people to understand it and sort of get a feel for it,” said McMahon. “When you know the name of the child and you’re regularly seeing updates of that child as they grow, you feel like there’s a connection there that’s meaningful. It’s not just a place to put your money.”

New Village Alliance says much of this is possible with technology, allowing that direct communication between the villages. The non-profit wants to help other communities start their own sponsorships of villages in Uganda and beyond. If you’re interested, you can reach out to them online or call NVA at 505-603-4559.