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AOET Uganda


By: Karissa Harrison

HIV and AIDS more heavily affect sub-Saharan Africa than any other region of the world. An estimated 22.5 million people are living with HIV in the region, around two thirds of the global total. In 2009 around 1.3 million people died from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and 1.8 million people became infected with HIV. Since the beginning of the epidemic 14.8 million children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.

Sam Tushabe founded AOET Uganda in 1995. AOET’s main purpose is to increase family and community capacities to care for orphans and other vulnerable children, who are either affected or infected by HIV.

Sam Tushabe, like many other Ugandan people, has an incredible history. His father died while he was at an early age so he was left alone with his mother. In Uganda the man is the sole provider for the family so Sam’s family was rather poor. A few years later Sam’s mother fell extremely ill due to the fact that she had AIDS so he was forced to nurse her and work to support their family. One tragic day Sam’s mother died and Sam was left alone. He moved in with his extended family, but they couldn’t afford to send him to school. So Sam took matters into his own hands. He took on every form of work that he could find and saved all of his earnings. Once he had saved enough he walked to the nearest school with his jar of pennies in hand and went to the principal and said, “I want to go to school,” and poured his jar of pennies onto the principal’s desk. The principal counted the money and figured that Sam had enough for two semesters.

Sam managed to get through elementary school, high school and college without parents. He realized that he was not the only one who had faced this problem so one day he decided to do something about it. He began helping others that had similar pasts by taking in orphans he had found on the street and welcoming them into his family. Soon there were too many and Sam realized he couldn’t do it all on his own. So he sought the help of individuals outside of his social circle, which founded the non-profit organization AOET.

AOET Uganda consists of: a children’s village, where the main objective is to encourage and support the extended family and community members to open their homes and hearts to vulnerable children in permanent foster families, instead of placing children in orphanages; a primary and secondary school; and a health clinic where care is free.

Since AOET Uganda has been extremely successful there are now programs in Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda and Botswana.

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    lenny kwarikundaMay 22, 2015 at 5:30 am

    May God bless Sam for the good work you’re doing for the community