Five alumni give back to western Uganda

(On The Shelves)

BY PATTY HOUSTON-HOLM

Uganda Christian University (UCU), is the founder and director of the  Widows and Orphans Support Organisation Uganda (WOSO-UG), based in Lwengo, western Uganda.

WOSO, which    started in 2012, helps meet the needs of orphaned children and their mothers through assistance    in such areas as tuition fees, food, bedding and micro-credit for entrepreneurship.

Kitayimbwa was once like   these children; he got     his   first pair of shoes at age 11 and his first  mattress at age 13; he often went to bed hungry and slept restlessly on the ground.

Now    aged 26, he lives in the United States where he is scheduled to graduate    in May  2017             with a master’s degree  in organisational  leadership from Eastern University, Philadelphia,   Pennsylvania. Thereafter,  he will return to his   village   of Katovu and provide on-site leadership to WOSO staff and those they serve.

He is one of five UCU graduates working at the WOSO non-profit organisation, which also includes the two-year-old   Shepherd College.

The following are excerpts from a November interview with the other four alumni: Isaac Nkoyoyo, 31, a 2010 Bachelors  of Arts  in Education graduate   and holder of a master’s  degree  in Public    Administration (WOSO secretary); Rose Nabankema   , 24, a 2014 Business Administration    graduate (WOSO programmes coordinator); Eva Najjuma, 25, a 2015 Community Health  graduate (WOSO health programmes/school operations     coordinator); and Deo Kyakuwa, 26, a 2014 Education graduate, serving as director   of student affairs and      teaching   history and Christian Religious  education.

In addition to their UCU affiliation, a common bond for all five is that they were once sponsored through Compassion International.

Q. How are you making a difference here?

Deo – There  are about 160 students at our secondary  school. We have  a holistic approach, which means that the students’ community needs to be involved. I am    not just working with the students, but  also going to  their  homes and engaging their parents.

Q. What is your biggest challenge?

Isaac – The overwhelming need and the small resource envelope challenges me, especially when it comes to prioritizing. Many people need support, but the resources are limited.

Q. How did UCU prepare you for this work assignment?

Rose – The UCU Christian fellowships – and there were a lot of them – got me into the habit of prayer. That is important for anything you do.

Q. What career advice do you have for current UCU students?

Eva – When we are at college, we think we are special. The world is about   the people around you. Remember who you are. Life is not about being served. Respect and serve others.

In February of 2016, Patty met Peter Kitayimbwa at a UCU Partners board meeting in Pennsylvania. Eva, the newest UCU alumna employed by WOSO, is one of the girls Patty helped sponsor at UCU.

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