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Uganda AIDS Orphans Project Founder to Speak September 10

Kaguri, Twesigye Jackson, founder of the Nyaka Aids Orphans Project

Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, the founder of the Nyaka Aids Orphans Project, an organization that provides support for Ugandan children whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS, will give a public talk, “A School for my Village: A Promise to the Orphans of Nyaka,” at 7:30 p.m. September 10  in Gailor Auditorium.

A reception will follow. The speech and reception are free and open to all.

The Nyaka Aids Orphans Project runs schools that provide free primary and secondary education, supports social entrepreneurship programs that assist grandparents who are raising orphans, and operates libraries, nutrition programs, clean water systems and a medical clinic. All told, the organization provides support for an estimated 43,000 AIDS orphans.

According to United Nations estimates, approximately 7.2 percent of Uganda's population is infected with HIV/AIDs, and a UNICEF report estimated that in 2012, almost 40 percent of orphans in Uganda had lost their parents to the disease.

Kaguri is a Ugandan native who rose from poverty and co-founded Human Rights Concern to combat human rights abuses in Uganda after graduating from Makerere University in Kampala.

Because of his human rights work, he was invited in 1996 to become a visiting scholar at Columbia University, and he went on to graduate studies in public administration at Indiana University.

In 2001, Kaguri, who had emigrated to the United States, visited his village in Uganda with his wife, where they were confronted with the vast humanitarian crisis of HIV/AIDS orphans.

Realizing the scope of the problem in his own village, he decided to start a school. Working at first with the money his family had set aside for a down payment on a house, he managed to build the school and to create an organization that in 2014 alone raised almost $1 million for HIV/AIDS orphans.

Until 2011, he was interim Senior Director of Development in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University. He now works full-time for the Orphans Project.

Kaguri, a powerful public speaker, is the co-author of two books about the Orphans Project and the children it serves, A School for My Village and Sitwe Joseph Goes to School, a children's book.

While here, Kaguri will also meet with students, faculty, and staff both in small groups and individually. For more information about the details of his visit, contact the Babson Center at babsoncgc@sewanee.edu.

Kaguri's visit to Sewanee is sponsored by the Babson Center for Global Commerce, the Economics Department, the International and Global Studies Program, the Mellon Globalization Forum, the Politics Department, the Social Entrepreneurship Education (SEED) Program, and the University Lectures Committee.