Some good friends of ours have been building something absolutely powerful over the past 12+ years and we want to tell you all about it!
Back in 2005, when faced with challenges coming from a place that was meant to provide safety and security, Griffin Matthews packed up his bags and purchased a one-way ticket to Uganda. Within the first few weeks, his life had changed drastically and a personal mission was formed within his heart.
Through this experience, Griffin founded the Uganda Project (UP) - with a mission to provide Ugandan students with empowerment through free education, housing, mentorship and basic needs.
The beauty of this project is that they keep the groups small with no more than 10 Ugandan students so they can fully provide a feeling of family and security while also being able to see them through every step of their journey through high school, university, and even medical school!
And that’s just the beginning, Griffin is half of a dynamic duo with his partner Matt Gould. After facing financial hiccups paired with the collapse of the US economy, Matt began asking question after question, requiring Griffin to dig deep and explain everything behind this passionate mission. Once Griffin got started, Matt slyly hit the record button on garage band and captured that inspirational passion. He spent the rest of that night composing music to match the incredible words he had heard.
Once Matt played this back to Griffin, the real magic began through the ignition of an idea to create an entire musical around Griffin’s personal story and mission to share what the Uganda Project was all about while raising funds in the process! Witness Uganda was born and has grown into an off Broadway hit with shows around the world and music videos with so much incredible feeling and emotion behind it, you can’t watch without tears in your eyes and chills up and down your body.
The Ethnotek and UP connection began in the most beautiful and serendipitous of ways. Back in 2011 during Teg Intl's Art Walk event in Los Angeles, Jake presented his new company, Ethnotek to the public for the first time. And low and behold, Griffin and Matt were his very first customers! They actually felt such a strong connection with Ethnotek, that they reached out to Jake again back in 2015 when they were heading to Uganda to film for the Witness Uganda video “Beautiful”- which was used to promote the evolution of their Musical now called ‘Invisible Thread’ and upcoming performances. Jake was honored to be able to outfit the entire crew with Raja Packs for their upcoming adventures.
The results were nothing short of magical and we can’t stop revisiting this amazing performance. To know that we are connected with such a beautiful mission reminds us why we do what we do. And it has the power to lift you up on dark days- we dare you to watch this video and not be overcome with emotion!
Learn more about Griffin, Matt and the Uganda project here: