With my background as a pediatrician and a career in antimalarial drug development, I have always felt a calling to Africa. Travel to East and West Africa from the late 1980’s to late 1990’s opened my eyes to the great need and untapped potential of these countries. Working in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon, I also witnessed the devastation of the AIDS epidemic first hand, as it plagued all levels of society with fear and discrimination. With disbelief, I saw the numbers of doctors and nurses decrease as the disease took its toll. I observed the numbers of unattached street children grow and the despair of the community become palpable.
I knew then and now that education and loving support was needed to bring hope to deteriorating communities and to preserve the social fabric of each country.
Influencing the education of children has always been important to me, which is what drew me to Children of Uganda (COU). I learned about the organization through close friends at my church. They had been deeply involved with the organization for many years, as members of the Board of Directors, in sponsoring children and by stocking a library for Sabina Primary School in 2008. In 2010, I began sponsoring a remarkable young lady named Josephine, who is now in secondary school and is astounding me with her humility, high marks and determination to succeed. The Tour of Light also opened my eyes to the spirit of these remarkable children, their joy, their gratitude and their friendship to all.
I am proud to serve as COU’s Board Chair, especially as we celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2015. Over 1,300 students have participated in our programs since its inception, producing many teachers, nurses, craftsmen, engineers, and doctors. COU partner schools have provided a superb framework for developing minds, where children are encouraged and coached to reach their full potential.
Now, with the adoption of a new 3 year (January 1, 2015—December 31, 2017) Strategic Plan, we are looking to build on our successes and move our mission forward in the direction of our vision: To realize a future for Uganda where all HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children have access to quality education, skills training and livelihood support to fully grow and develop into self-reliant, responsible citizens.
The 225 students currently enrolled in our program share this vision — they are vibrant, hardworking and striving for a life with purpose and achievement. Each sponsor gives hope and a promising future to a child. As Thomas Merton stated, “Compassion is a keen awareness of the interdependence of all humanity, all a part of one another and all involved in one another.”
Thank you for allowing us to serve the people of Uganda over the last two decades and for many years to come.
With Sincerest Gratitude,
We help you give a hand UP to Ugandan children and women in need + share the joy.
Each child who is educated, fed and safe is a strong foundation for peace.
Each self-supporting woman makes a community thrive. Each beat of music carries the joy of a nation.