By Vanessa Kyalimpa
Student leaders at Uganda Christian University (UCU) have carried out a community outreach – this time taking their philanthropy to the eastern Uganda district of Jinja.
Sixty students and student leaders recently journeyed to Rwambogo Refugee camp to donate school supplies, beddings, sanitary towels, clothes, shoes and food. The outreach, carried out in September, was the second by the outgoing UCU Student Guild, which serves as a link between students and administration at UCU. In November, UCU conducted elections for new guild leaders who will assume office sometime in December 2022.
“We wanted to share what we have with the less privileged in society,” said UCU Guild President Racheal Sserwadda. Making remarks with her vice president, Jonathan Kivuna, at her side, she added, “Basically, we are spreading love to those around us.”
Mwonyo’s Heart, a giving-back, charity group that was started by Kivuna, collected items from individuals throughout the UCU community.
The UCU student contingency cooked food, sang worship songs and played games with children during a day designed to bring hope within the settlement.
“Being here, and being able to minister to the children reminds me of my life as a young man,” Kivuna said. “I, too, grew up in a child development organization that was supported by a charity, Compassion International.”
Jorem Edonu, a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Laws, said his aim is provide optimism for the children to enable them dream big, and help them know they can achieve their dreams.
Elisha Muwanguzi, a projects officer at Eli Agape Givers International, the organisation that runs the camp, said many of the children in the camp have lost hope for a better life.
“They are used to a life of no fees, no food, or even visitors,” Muwanguzi said. He noted that the outreach by the students brought joy to the children.
Muwanguzi said Rwambogo Refugee Camp was initially started for the casual workers of Kakira, a sugar plantation in Jinja district, who came from various East Africa far countries. The workers have since married and have children living in the camp.
On May 21, 2022, the student leaders carried out a similar outreach to a school in Mukono, Good Samaritan Inclusive Day and boarding Primary School.
“Many of the pupils here have physical disabilities and struggle to lead normal lives,” Sserwadda said during their visit to the school in May. “It is really emotional to realize how brave these people are. They need our help.”
The outgoing Guild President reinforced the importance of supporting vulnerable people.
“We came up with this program to reach out to the struggling communities around us,” she said. “We feel the need to put a smile on the faces of those facing a lot of difficulties.”