Raise Uganda Now Inc. has changed the lives of hundreds of children and thousands of families and community members. Our work focuses on developing a self-sufficient, sustainable environment. Our white paper describes in-depth our past, present, and future as we continue to grow with the children we serve.
Since 2014, RUN has been fortunate enough to raise over $100,000, thanks to the generosity of our donors. Now, after months of research, we developed a plan to go even further--a path that will allow true self-sufficiency through a local business. Learn more about how you can join us in reimagining the way we think about non-profit sustainability.
In 2012, co-Founder and current Executive Director, Joon Yang, first visited Ocean’s Orphanage in Kampala, Uganda, then home to 12 orphans and a school for 50 students. Ocean's Orphanage was funded by sporadic donations from tourists and volunteers —an utterly dependent, unsustainable model. Two years later, Ocean's Orphanage went bankrupt. Joon, then a first-year student at Harvard College, received a call from Betty Kadondi, the primary caretaker at the site, informing him that the chief manager disappeared without notice. Joon teamed up with classmate Haley Baker to form a group of five undergraduates. This small group of driven, compassionate students marked the beginnings of a quest to bring a sustainable way to provide for the health, education, and future of some of the most underserved children in the world.
Upon registering in the US as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Ocean's Orphanage rebranded itself as Raise Uganda Now Inc. (RUN), operating RUN Children’s Home for orphans and a private school, RUN Academy. In just one year, the new leadership pulled RUN out of debt through fundraisers, instituted open communication channels with our local partners, and expanded to house 15 orphans, employ 6 staff, and teach over 100 students.
In 2016, RUN moved its operations to the small village of Nankoma in the Bugiri District, a three-hour drive from the capital. To focus our resources toward children with the greatest needs, the Board decided to close down RUN Academy and focus its efforts in operating RUN Children’s Home.
In the following years, RUN has partnered with incredible organizations, companies, and individuals. Since our humble beginnings, we have touched the lives of over 200 boys and girls, raised over $100,000, 99% of which went directly to Uganda, and have been regarded by the community as the most influential organization in the District by providing holistic childcare and education.
Now, we are an international organization comprised of 8 full-time Ugandan staff on-site, 10 Harvard students and alumni, 15 South Korean students, and a spectrum of other individuals including summer interns, volunteers, and part-time professionals. Through all our growth, RUN remains true to its goal and will continue to deliver unique, close-knit relationships that will empower children and their communities and redefine philanthropy.
Uganda is a developing country in East Africa with a population of approximately 38 million, making it the world's second most populous landlocked country. Though Uganda has seen tremendous growth in recent years, it is still considered one of the poorest countries in the world. According to UNICEF, there are approximately 2.5 million orphans in Uganda. Many of them lost their parents to war, uprising, poverty, and AIDS.
Raise Uganda Now is a nonprofit organization run by students from all over the world who are dedicated to providing a home, family, and education to 45 children in rural Uganda.
We believe that all children deserve a loving home where they can fully realize their potential, and a community where they can grow as individuals and leaders.
Through our education programs, we encourage them to explore and develop their talents and interests.
We are committed to revolutionizing the role of today’s youth in philanthropy. We bring together students from different backgrounds who are passionate about creating change to design child development programs for kids in Uganda. Our goal is to utilize our team’s varied perspectives to produce the most diverse and global curricula that empowers the children. Here at RUN, we believe that everyone can make a difference, no matter how old or young.
Securing our own safe and self-sustainable site where our children can grow
Establish a self-sufficient model for our orphanage
50/50 Autonomous Operations in Uganda
Enabling our Ugandan staff to become 50% self-sufficient regarding all operations
RUN Harvard brings a strong group of smart and passionate minds to tackle some of the most important issues in poverty and childcare. These students build scalable and replicable pipelines, developing strategies and connections in domestic and international sectors alike. The team solves some of the most challenging questions in non-profit development and holistic childcare through innovative solutions.
RUN Uganda provides the operational and managerial backbone of RUN Children's Home, reporting information such as daily activities, children's health and academic performances, financials, government cooperation records, etc. to the rest of the branches. Our full-time staff ensure that our operations are fully functional and monitor vitals that lay the foundation for future development.
RUN Korea brings a new perspective, focusing on education and mentoring programs for our children and expanding our scope to the Bugiri community. RUN Korea envisions to create a philanthropic culture in Korea, collaborating with businesses to build corporate responsibility programs while also fostering collaborative initiatives with the Uganda branch.
Founded in April of 2015, Seoul Forest Convention is a long-bias fund consisting of 18 undergraduates entirely from Hanyang University, Korea University, and Seoul National University. With a dedicated focus on Korea’s listed equity market, SFC is striving to achieve excellent performance with original investment aims and strategies.
The Bill Cook Foundation is a nonprofit helping children in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. It seeks to help some of the world’s poorest children to get the best education possible.
As a for-profit organization by Harvard students, Spouts of Water provides water purifiers to the Ugandan population.
We are working with Harvard undergraduates and faculty members.
RUN Children’s Home provides a safe place to sleep, grow, and play for 45 children from all over Uganda. Additionally, we support the education and food expenses of two of our neighbors’ children.
Some are from the Munyole tribe, others are Basoga or Bagisu, each of them from a different part of the country, speaking a different tribal language. In our home, our kids learn to speak English (national official language), Luganda (spoken primarily around the capital), and typically one or two other tribal languages including their mother tongue.
In learning to be proficient in multiple languages, RUN fosters a diverse environment where kids learn to accept and grow from differences, quickly adapt to a multilingual environment, and build strong friendships that shape their identities.
Betty Kadondi, our General Manager (GM), has been overseeing operations at RUN Children’s Home since its conception, along with our Secretary, Brian Mungholo, and Recreations Director, Philex Ochieng. Since 2012, Betty and the team have been invaluable partners of RUN, organizing the infrastructure at RUN and never letting a single receipt slip.
In particular, Betty’s journey with RUN has now placed her as one of the key leader figures of the District at large—the community calls her the mami of all children and pays her the utmost respect for her work in Nankoma, Bugiri, and beyond.
RUN understands that due to limitations in space and funding, we cannot take in all OVCs in the community. As such, it is extremely important for us to maintain and transparent and standardized process through which we accept new children. Each child at RUN went through the following process.
1. The child’s case is brought to RUN’s attention, either by the child’s parent(s) who cannot support him or her, by the child’s next of kin in the case of orphans, or by the government authorities (police, local leaders, etc.) who may have found the condition of the child to be concerning.
2. Our GM reports the child’s case to the LC. The LC of each subcounty is acquainted with every household and must validate the story of the child by checking with the household and neighbors. The police department also plays an active role in the process. Since the police force is well aware of incidents such as domestic violence, divorce, death, etc., the police officers must also sign to corroborate the child’s case.
3. We file for the child’s national ID, create a profile with the recommendation letters of both the LC and the police, and inform the subcounty and district-level CDOs by submitting the child’s profile. Upon being sanctioned to take on the child, we take temporary custody of the child.
How did Ronald join RUN?
After Ronald's parents both passed away due to AIDS, Ronald was raised by this aunt until he was 7 years old. However, his aunt also passed away, leaving Ronald out on the streets for months. One of his family member found out about RUN and immediately contacted us.
He always puts on a smile and enjoys making others laugh.
He loves to dance to music. The center is his once Ronald hears lively music. Not only does he love to dance, he is gifted in drawing. At school, he is often complimented for his diligence and creativity.
How did Samuel join RUN?
Not long after Samuel's mother passed away of illness, his father, who was in the army, also passed away. When neighbors found Samuel on the streets seeking for food and shelter in unimaginable places, they reached out to RUN to help Samuel find a new home.
At first Samuel may be shy, but deep down he has the heart of an entertainer!
He has a dream of becoming a skillful engineer. As he overcame difficulties with a positive soul at such a young age, he studies hard to fulfill his dream as an engineer.