Twesigye Jackson Kaguri defied many naysayers – and his own nagging doubts – as he and a small group of supporters followed his dream to build, stone by stone at times, a school for AIDS orphans in his village in Uganda.
Growing up in southwestern Uganda on his family’s small farm, working long hours for his taskmaster father, Kaguri was fortunate that his parents were barely able to afford tuition and school fees. He excelled, won a place at the national university, and became a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
When he returned to Uganda with his wife, they were overwhelmed by the many people lined up outside his family’s door to ask for help, many struggling to raise the children of relatives who had died of AIDS. Having lost two siblings to AIDS, and as the guardian of his brother’s children, Jackson impulsively vowed to open the first tuition-free school for orphans. Seeing the line at his parents’ door, he wondered, “What about the children with no uncle? Who willtake care of them? It was that day I decided I must help”
A graduate student and newlywed living in the United States, Kaguri faced almost insurmountable obstacles: little money, the opposition of his father and many villagers to a school for AIDS orphans, the skepticism of many about donating to projects in Africa, the corruption of school inspectors, and the crushing needs of the children. Yet Jackson doggedly built one schoolroom at a time with the aid of many supporters in Uganda , America, and Canada, and with the sustenance of his strong religious conviction.
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