Spotlight: Aman and Jim
While the past year has been challenging for the Kamukama Foundation and the communities we serve, it also presented us a great gift: the partnership of Aman and Jim. Aman and Jim have shared their time, talents, and treasures with the Kamukama Foundation. They have been key partners in the planning and opening of the new Ebenezer School campus as well as in our agriculture initiatives to address food scarcity during COVID-19.
Aman and Jim were touched by the heart and self-determination of the Ebenezer School community, and what started as a commitment to sponsor school classrooms has grown into much more. They have shared their generosity with Bwindi and have also served as strategic partners to the Foundation by helping us to set the vision for the Ebenezer Campus and develop a sustainable agricultural solution for the families we serve.
“I do believe the Ebenezer community wants to improve their own lives and they are prepared to put in the work to get there.” – Jim
Since the beginning, the Kamukama Foundation’s model has been to connect global communities and to build partnerships that empower the families of Bwindi. We’re grateful that the Kamukama Foundation family has grown to include our Canadian friends, Aman and Jim. We’re honored to share Jim’s reflections on he and Aman’s trip to Bwindi and how their work supporting Ebenezer School began:
“Uganda was the very start of our month long holiday so we were pretty tired those first few days. We had three days in the Bwindi area and they asked when we booked what we wanted to do. We got there on a Friday and left on a Monday. We wanted to see gorillas for a day and another jungle walk and a local community tour, including the hospital.
When I booked, they also had a tour of a local school and I jumped at that, but when we got there obviously the school was closed for the weekend. So, we got up early the day we were leaving and went out to Ebenezer. Aman and I were so impressed by how happy the kids were. They had every reason to be sad, getting educated in tin huts with stick frames, but they weren’t sad.
As we came away, Aman started to cry. The determination of these children, the teaching group and of course the parents really touched us. As we were leaving, I had our A&K guide track down Gerald, as he had been our guide on the community tour the day before. I got his contact information, not really knowing what we wanted to do for this community, but knowing then that we had someone that we could reach out to and communicate in English if we decided to do something.
We talked about this as we went around Africa and – to be frank – there are lots of groups in Africa who are just looking for a hand out. Maybe we were just tired, but we didn’t feel that way in Bwindi. We got the sense of it, particularly at the school, that there was a real willingness to improve their own lives, not by some hand out but by putting the work in themselves.
So once we got back, I got ahold of Gerald and started having him collect information for me on the cost of material and labor, initially with a plan to fund maybe a classroom or two. As time went on it became clear to both Aman and I that we had to make this a priority of our charitable activities for a year or two. So, we started to design a school on the land. Gerald was really good at getting information so there was endless back and to. Once I felt that we had our head around it we reached out to Keith and the rest is history!
Aman and I are both really happy to have participated in the building of the school and in the food program that had to come out of Covid. I do believe the Ebenezer community wants to improve their own lives and they are prepared to put in the work to get there. All they need is a little help with some money.”