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Namugoga is located about 19 kilometers from the capital city, Kampala. Though few maps of the area exist, you can explore the Google Map satellite image of the Adonai Center grounds below.
The Adonai Child Development Center was founded in 2005 by Pastor Aloysious Luswata and his wife Abby. Pastor Luswata heads the Namugoga Victors Church, an evangelical church in Namugoga, a village of about 1,000 people in Wakiso District Uganda. The church was founded in 1992 with few resources but the determination of Luswata and his dedication to the people. The Congregation today consists of about 100 families.
From the beginning, the needs of the community were overwhelmed by the poverty of its people. Children were suffering and the Luswatas felt like they needed to do something.
Pastor and Abby started small, taking in children into their own home who would otherwise be on the street. And though the Church had little – its only structure, a temporary one of mud and thatch – it lent support to the opening of a small community school in 1997. They started with just 30 children. Unfortunately, students’ families could not afford even modest school fees, and the Church could not cover the teachers salaries on its own. After three years of struggle, the School closed in 2000.
Pastor and Abby would not be deterred. In 2004 Abby, a trained teacher, left her government position to work full time with her husband. In 2005, they tried again with a new school. This time they had the advantage of experience. The Church was on stronger footing, the temporary structure, which had collapsed during a service in 2000, was replaced with a permanent one. The earlier attempt had also left them with a humble but usable structure in which to begin teaching. Starting with more students also meant that there were more who could afford school fees.
The school started with 105 students in pre-school through P3. They grew to 270 students at the beginning of 2012. Although about 40 percent of its students can afford the modest school fees of 90,000 UGX (approximately $US38) per year, the school receives additional support from the church and a few private donors. In 2007, the aid organization Fields of Life brought a volunteer team to Namugoga to construct a block of seven classrooms and two offices that now houses the school.
Pastor Luswata has a vision that every child in Uganda be cared for within the loving arms of a a true family. The devastation of families brought on by the AIDS pandemic has been dramatically compounded by the two decade guerrilla war in Northern and Eastern Uganda. Of the estimated 30 million AIDS orphans in Africa, some 2.4 of those are in Uganda whose total population is about 34 million.
In 2006 a donor in the UK provided 50,000,000 UGX (about $US24,000) for the purchase of a 1.8 acre plot of land to build a home for orphans who could not be accommodated with relatives and families in the village. In addition, three local benefactors provided a 15,000,000 UGX interest free loan, the final amount to secure the land the Centre now occupies. In 2007, with local support from the community, a substantial discount from the builder and a small community development grant, the current home was built with a capacity of 20 children.
In 2008, understanding the importance of the community’s economic well being to the future of its children, Adonai began to experiment with programs to develop opportunities for Namugoga families. Programs offering livestock to families for their own health and to generate cash have already had an impact on some families. Today families in the village have some 70 pigs from the original gift from Adonai. (The organization itself tends 9 dairy goats and ten pigs.) In the absence of any other resource, Adonai has become the most important driver of community and economic development.
The Adonai Center provides room and board to a number of teachers. With students and teachers living on the same campus, close connections are made in - and out - of the classroom.
Gideon, 25, is the assistant head of the childcare department at Adonai. He loves playing volleyball and watching American television shows like Gossip Girl.
Alex, 25, teaches math and science. He enjoys riding his bicycle, playing soccer and reading fashion magazines. Alex is studying to be a civil engineer.
Kevin, 25, is the mother of one and teacher of english and traditional music at the Adonai Center. She likes Korean dramas and making people laugh.
Grace, 25, likes to watch Nigerian movies. She teaches english and loves to eat matoke. Grace has seven sisters and ten brothers, while she herself has two children.