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.