Uganda: Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project

Rotary Clubs Collaborate on Clean Water Project in Uganda

May 29, 2012 — Okemos, Michigan — Spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Lansing, Michigan, Rotary clubs in Michigan, Colorado, and Uganda, along with participating organization Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project (NAOP) are working together to raise the funds necessary to support building a clean gravity-flow water supply for students enrolled at Kutamba Primary School and their village in southwest rural Uganda.

The Rotary Clubs of Lansing, East Lansing, Haslett-Okemos, and Williamston, and Gull Lake, Michigan; Vail, Colorado; and Rukungiri, Uganda have so far raised $11,000 of the project’s $37,000 cost. The Michigan Rotary District Matching Grant fund has pledged $2,500, and Safari Club International has contributed $1,500, bringing the total raised to $15,000. The clubs and NYOP are also seeking funding from individuals.

“This project will ensure the school can provide safe, clean drinking water to 250 students and the surrounding community. The current system is depleted and often runs out of water during the dry season,” says project champion George Siegle of the Rotary Club of Lansing. “Unsanitary water is a worldwide problem that Rotary Clubs help tackle. We are especially excited to be teaming up with other Rotary Clubs and hope many more will join us in this worthwhile project.”

Okemos resident, Founder and Executive Director of NAOP, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri explains, “We are so grateful for the generosity of Rotary Clubs in Michigan, Colorado, and Uganda. Clean and available water improves the quality of life for a community. It decreases the amount of time spent carrying water so that students are less likely to miss school. More often than not, girls are expected to fetch the water and as a result end up behind in their studies. Research suggests a major component in alleviating global poverty is through the education of girls, and therefore a clean water system fits neatly into our holistic approach of education. 56% of our students are girls. NAOP learned early on that students who are ill simply cannot learn. Further, women and children won’t be exposed to attacks and rape, a previous occurrence, by not having to walk many miles to obtain water.”

The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project (NAOP) is working on behalf of HIV/AIDS orphans in rural Uganda to end systemic deprivation, poverty, and hunger through a holistic approach to community development, education, and healthcare. NAOP operates two primary schools that are educating 487 children this year, including 60 preschool aged children. NAOP is also paying for 97 students to attend secondary school. A unique aspect of the organization is that the schools are completely free to attend. Children are guaranteed an education through high school from the moment they are enrolled. Last year, 97% of Nyaka students passed their Primary Leaving Exams with the equivalent of an A or B passing grade. In addition to providing a quality education in a nurturing environment, NAOP includes two meals per day, uniforms, books, medical care, and supplies to the students.

Out of a population of approximately 31 million, Uganda’s HIV/AIDS pandemic has resulted in over 2.2 million orphaned children who have lost one or both parents. In addition to the trauma of losing a parent, orphans go without many of the basic human needs: food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education. The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project was born out of this crisis.