My husband Kiran Ramchandran and I are currently one week into a 17-day journey to Uganda with UgandaProject. The grassroots non-profit has worked for over eight years to provide free education, housing, mentoring, and basic needs to young people who have lost one or both parents. This short film, which we shot and edited while here, tells the story of one of UP's extraordinary students, a young man named Kenny who lost both his parents at age 16.
The government of Uganda is unable to provide free education to its children. Therefore the majority of students never make it past elementary school. As UgandaProject's website puts it: "No education. No job. No hope... And so the cycle continues." UP's objective is not to build structures or even schools, but rather to "resurrect people," enabling a new generation of Ugandan leaders like Kenny to emerge.
We're here with UgandaProject's dedicated founders Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould, photographer Andrea Moore and her Wayfaring Band cofounder Pavel Reppo, and Harvard American Repertory Theater's Shira Milikowsky (who is associate directing Witness Uganda, the musical Griffin and Matt have written about their experiences with UP, which opens in February 2014).
Beyond documenting and assisting the non-profit's incredible work, we're getting to know the students UgandaProject sponsors. They are utterly delightful: full of humor and joy, and truly inspiring in their resilience and compassion. It has been a challenging and enriching life experience so far. I'll have more to share next week.