Future Leaders

If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you have the qualities to be a great leader.

Abdul & Huzaifah

These brothers have had experiences that most of us cannot fathom. Sadly, we do not know much about their early life. Due to death and poverty, these brothers joined a street gang at the ages of 3 and 4 years. The gang consisted of children and adults, ages 3 to 30 years old. Huzaifah was the youngest of the group and they called him the last born. The other kids would hustle, sell and search for food to feed themselves. Every day for the next 4 years, they would find new warehouses to sleep in and ways to cope while living on the streets. The brothers don’t remember too much since they were so little. But Huzaifah vividly recalls wishing at one point that he wanted to die. Food was too hard to come by and he eventually turned to accepting drugs to hide the hunger. They were 7 and 8 years old at the time. 

After 4 years, they were approached by a new school director offering them the opportunity for an education. Most of the children in the gang stayed behind. They were used to the way they lived and did not trust anyone else. Abdul and Huzaifah were the only ones to accept the offer — they started school in 2008. The school was so small that there were no classroom buildings and the students would study and learn outside under the mango trees. I met the brothers in 2012. There had been many United States university student learning trips at this point with the goal of building up the school. There were US based volunteers who helped sponsor many of the school fees. Abdul and Huzaifah were part of the 17% of kids who were able to continue on to secondary school (7th-12th grade). 

Unfortunately, there were still challenges along the way. For years there was corruption and greed at the school. Many kids were no longer receiving their school fees. Throughout the years Abdul and Huzaifah ended up being chased from school many times, then switching schools and unable to sit for exams because of their lack of fees. In 2016, Huzaifah dropped out of school. He went back to the streets to become a house boy, cleaning and cooking to survive. When we learned about his circumstances, in the face of never ending adversity, we were able to offer him the opportunity to finish his education. He went on to receive top grades and become Head Boy at the school. He will follow in his brother’s footsteps this fall to start at University. Abdul will receive his Bachelors of Education and he hopes to be a history teacher one day. Huzaifah is slated to start his Bachelors of Business Administration where he hopes he can learn more about the agricultural trade business in Uganda.

Najjemba patience

Patience is currently in her second year at St. Lawerence University where she is studying computer science. She has aspirations to become a computer programmer and web developer.

Many of her age mates and friends have since stopped attending school because of the steep price of education. Most have married, or become house girls where they clean and cook for families in large cities.

Patience is one of only six of our kids to attend University. It was not until recently that this opportunity came. She gives big thanks to her Sponsor Bridget, who she says “has been a cool mom to her.” She says that the important thing people seek from others is someone who can give the time to listen, advising you, but also encouraging you. She said Bridget has given her another chance, and hope for a brighter future.

One day Patience has hopes of owning her own tech and computer development company. She would like to hire both men and women, but focus on having a pipeline of smart women who may not have the opportunity elsewhere. She wants to practice empowerment for all women, even provide training to equip others with the skills needed to succeed.

Patience says sponsorship has been the ultimate gift to her. It has changed her life. And she hopes that one day, when she is in the position to do so, that she will be able to change the lives for others.

Elijah Kuteesa

Elijah’s parents fled Rwanda in 1994 during the genocide and took refuge in Uganda. After settling in the Rakai district near Kasensero, his mother raised him. Elijah was bright, but his mother couldn’t afford to send him to the best schools. One day down by the lake, a fisherman noticed Elijah’s musical talents and offered him a spot to play the drums in a local troupe. After some time, others took notice and offered him a Primary Sponsorship for drumming at Nabbunga Fountain of Education. During his studies, he really took to the trumpet and joined the school band where he played until he graduated.

Trumpeting was his entry ticket into secondary school where he met his sponsor Zach, who supported him throughout secondary school and into University. Not only did Zach support Elijah’s school fees, but he supported him emotionally, serving as a great role model and mentor who continually pushes Elijah to be the best he can be! 

While Elijah still loves music, playing the trumpet, singing and recording songs, he went on to Kampala International University for his degree in Clinical Medicine and Community Health. In 2020, he officially became Dr. Kuteesa, the physician. It was a long journey, but Elijah is excited to mentor younger students and to help guide them on the right path in the future. Sponsorship is a gift that touched Elijah, but also all of the younger kids to follow after him.    

You have the power to change someone’s life.

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