Lucy Buck – Founder/CEO of Child’s i Foundation

Lucy Buck is the founder and CEO of Child’s i Foundation, a charity based in Uganda that provides short term life-saving care for children, trace their extended families and reunite them.

Formerly a leading television producer, working for MTV networks, Outline Productions and Endemol, Lucy earned a BA in Politics and Sociology at the University of Reading. Over her television career she has produced many compelling television programmes including BBC3’s popular child psychology series House of Tiny Tearaways, BBC’s UpstagedBig Brother, Hells Kitchen, Celebrity Love Island and Comic Relief does Celebrity Fame Academy. Her role led her to setting up and managing teams producing prime time million-pound TV shows.

During the last 3 years of her television career, Lucy would spend six months producing TV shows and the rest of the year volunteering at a baby orphanage in Uganda. She witnessed first-hand the damage caused by placing babies in orphanages and wanted to use her TV skills to prove that it was possible to place children into families instead of orphanages.

The power of storytelling to raise money was already clear to Lucy when she visited Northern Kenya in 2006 and produced an appeal video for UK charity Merlin (“Medical Emergency Relief, International”). The video helped to raise nearly £100,000 for the famine relief efforts.

In 2009 Lucy quit her TV career to set up Child’s i Foundation. The idea behind it was to create a worldwide community to give love, time and money to change the system. Over the past 6 years, the charity has set up services to provide an alternative to placing children in orphanages including foster care and adoption services. 80% of children placed in orphanages have extended family members, who with good social work support could provide care for children. Child’s i Foundation set up the National Adoption panel and pioneered the country’s domestic adoption media campaign on behalf of the Government. The team provide social work training to orphanages across the country to transition them to services which support children in families instead of separating children.

Highlighting that her TV skills are telling a story, creating a connection and generally persuading people to do stuff they didn’t know they wanted to, Lucy has proved that families were a better alternative to orphanages.

I spent a long time putting together a team to create this charity. My background is television producing so I kind of applied the same rules – you’ve got to get your crew together, you’ve got to listen to the experts, you’ve got to get your schedule and budget in place – it was the only thing I knew, and I had never, ever run a charity before.

A big part of this project is changing hearts and minds and Lucy’s background in TV has been instrumental as they’ve had TV producers volunteer their skills and time since day one: “When we started, adoption was taboo and not spoken of, but over the past few years we have made hundreds of incredible videos showing that there are Ugandans who are willing to adopt. We have made adoption more common and as a result we have a waiting list of Ugandans.”

When asked about her proudest achievements Lucy mentions her team in Uganda: “There are around 65 staff members and everyone of them has a passion and a drive. They want to change their country and all believe passionately that every child in Uganda should grow up in a family. They are doing me out of a job – that for me is the definition of success.

Check out these two insightful interviews Lucy had with Women In Foreign Policy and We Are The City.

For more information on Child’s i Foundation’s visit the official website.

To get involved, read about the Child’s i Foundation Media Volunteer Scheme.