Partners for Kigezi Orphans Home Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Washington DC. The Kigezi Home for Orphans, located in rural southwestern Uganda, was founded in 2010 by Muganbizi Julius Katemba, a visionary, a local resident and an orphan himself. Julius and his colleague, Egidius Katushabe, serve as Directors of the Home.
Currently the Kigezi Campus consists of a newly built brick and mortar school of 10 classrooms with separate restrooms and bathing facilities. The Kigezi Orphans Home now serves 225 children at the Home and another 25 students on scholarships in secondary schools.
Richard Rome and co-chair Donna O’Connell Choquette are doing an amazing work in Uganda and the Kigezi Orphans Home. They are helping along with Founder of the Home, Muganbizi Julius Katemba and colleague Egidius Katushabe to provide a quality of life for many hundreds of orphaned children through shelter, education, food, and other services.
The goal is to make a global connection with those who will donate and believe that to save one child's life anywhere in the world is the start of securing humanity's future for better days to come.
I caught up with Richard "Rick" Rome recently to discuss the Kigezi Home and his involvement and their goals recently.
RW) Partners for Kigezi Orphans Home, Inc. was founded by Muganbizi Julius Katemba in 2010. How did you come to meet Mr. Katemba and get involved with him and the mission at the orphanage home?
Rick Rome) In July of 2017, a supporter of the Kigezi Orphans Home asked me to assist in fundraising for a new school building. I said yes and then proceeded with constructing a 10 classroom combination of school and sleeping quarters for approximately 200 children. Since then, we have been busy keeping the children safe from COVID and malaria, while teaching them every day.
RW) What are your primary duties for the home? My primary duties are to support the school and orphanage by raising funds for ongoing activities and special initiatives. Our costs are about $4,500 monthly and we rely solely on individual donations through our web site, Facebook and Linked-In.
RR) Who are the other key players that you work with besides Mr. Katemba and their duties with the orphanage home? We have a headmaster, Elias, who is absolutely wonderful. Julius Katemba has a wonderful co-director by the name of Egidius Katashabe. These three gentlemen run the school and the orphanage. We have 12 certified teachers, guardians and a nurse.
RW) Where is the home located in Uganda, and how does it function to work with orphaned children?
RR) In Uganda, a child with one parent or no parents is considered an orphan if their family cannot take care of them. We have 200 children to to watch over day and night. The Home is located in Southwestern Uganda in the location where tourists come to see gorillas.
RW) What is this mission for you personally in working with this non-profit, and what have been some of the challenges and the rewards since signing on?
RR) This is a very rewarding way to help others who are desperately in need. My mother always told me children were starving in Africa so I would never take our privileges for granted. It is an accident in history that our children are where they are with so little and we are here with so much. I try to provide a better balance.
RW) Since this pandemic of COVID-19 hit the world in 2020 and people have had to create a protective bubble for themselves and their families and many businesses have had to alter the way they conduct business, how has that impacted your work with the home and how do you appeal to those to continue to support, and donate, to keep the work of the home stable?
RR) The only change we have made is to refrain from in-person fundraisers. We continue to support the school and orphanage each and every month.
RW) What are some of the short term goals for the orphanage home, and what do you hope to see for the organization in 5 years?
RR) We are in the process of raising funds for a new kitchen ($6,000). Our next project will be to build an indoor dining area. We send our best students to secondary school with scholarships and hope to send them on to the universities as well! At the same time, we have expanded our vocational offerings.
RW) Where can our readers find Partners For Kigezi Orphans Home, Inc. on social media, and if someone wanted to make a donation today, what’s the best way for them to do so?
RR) Thank you! To go to our web site: partnersforkigeziorphans.org. You can find us on GoFundMe, Facebook and Linked-In (under my name).
This is a very rewarding way to help others who are desperately in need. My mother always told me children were starving in Africa so I would never take our privileges for granted. It is an accident in history that our children are where they are with so little and we are here with so much. I try to provide a better balance."
— Richard Rome