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Kawuma dedicates his life to provide for the needy

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Joseph Kawuma has devoted his life to looking after orphans and vulnerable people in exposed communities in Uganda. His experience as an orphan is an inspiration behind his charity works under his organisation, Walk of Hope Foundation. He told his story with Lilian Ntege.

How he started
Kawuma graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Computing from Uganda Christian University.

He always had a dream of giving back to the community. While still a university student, Kawuma shared his ideas with his friends, who helped him in collecting clothes, food and money to give to the disadvantaged, starting with street children.

Kawuma serves cake to the beneficiaries at a foundation party. (Photo/Lillian Ntege)

“We would go to different streets and give whatever we collected to any street children. We did not have an office or a home, but started with just a helping hand,” Kawuma says.

In 2018, he officially registered the foundation, with the main goal of strengthening vulnerable communities.
He started with Kosovo slums in Makindye division, Kampala district. His target is orphans, widows, people with disability, youths and the elderly.

He has so far registered over 210 people, who benefit directly from his foundation.

They pay school fees for orphans, provide scholastic materials, pay hospital bills and build water sources to provide clean water to the communities.

The foundation not only provides basic necessities to the vulnerable, but also trains them in entrepreneurial skills like poultry and backyard farming.

They also teach girls to make reusable sanitary pads. “We help the girls get plain cloths, smooth towels and actual measurements of a normal sanitary pad, then they sew with threads, to make the pad,” he says.

Accomplishments
Kawuma says they have managed to take care of 25 orphans aged between 5-15 years, 10 old women between 50-80 years, 20 youths between 17 -34 years at their household orphanage in Kosovo.

They also extended their services to Rakai, Mpigi and Karamoja districts. Every month, they make occasional visits to these places taking food, soap, clothes, hoes and other necessities to the needy.

Seventy-four year old Mary Nanziri of Buwama village, Gayaza, is grateful to Kawuma for meeting her needs.

“I cannot thank him enough for giving me food, clothes and paying my hospital bills. He has also helped me take care of my grandchildren. I wish him God’s blessings,” she says.

Miria Nakyobe, the finance manager at Walk of Hope Foundation, says she is proud of the work they have done in four years.

She prides in seeing the beneficiaries succeed in school and in entrepreneurial skills. They have successfully branded the Walk of Hope reusable sanitary pads, which are now on market.

Kawuma with beneficiaries of his foundation. (Photo/Lillian Ntege)

Challenges
Kawuma says their main problem is limited funds, and this at times slows down their operations. He says sometimes the money to pay school fees for children is not enough, and this interrupts their school routine.

They also lack volunteers in the foundation because there are few people willing to work for free.

Kawuma adds that transportation to their various areas of operation is difficult because they have to hire cars, which is expensive and hectic.

Future plans
Kawuma says they are planning to build a school, starting with nursery to primary section. This is in order to provide complete free education to the vulnerable children in their foundation.

He also adds that they want to improve their beneficiaries’ farming skills by teaching them other commercial methods of farming.

They plan to provide free seedlings to them. He also says he plans to train his team in social work and administration, to acquire more skills to run the organisation effectively.

He also wants to establish permanent offices in each district where their services are. Kawuma also has an idea of establishing resource centres in their areas of operation including Kosovo, Mpigi, Karamoja and Rakai districts.

Last word
He calls upon everyone to give a helping hand to the needy in order to make the world a better place.

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