Nyaka provides community-based solutions to address the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children in rural southwestern Uganda. We surround each child with a comprehensive support system. This is comprised of interrelated programs developed and led by our community, where children are nurtured and protected so they can learn, grow, and thrive.
”"Orphaned children don’t have money to pay for school - so we made it free."Twesigye Jackson Kaguri19 years with Nyaka
Education breaks barriers of poverty. My mother and father raised five of us, but they struggled because they had no money to send us to school. My father would buy one pencil and break it into five, so each of us could have a piece. Because I had a fifth of the pencil, I ended up at Columbia University.
In 2001 I used $5,000 meant for my house in the US to build a two-room school for the Nyaka community. Our children get uniforms, pencils, and pens. And their pencils have erasers. I never had an eraser.
Cornerstone: The Story of Nyaka.
History of Nyaka
2001 - Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project Founded
In response to the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in his home village and surrounding districts, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri founded Nyaka to provide free education to children who had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.
2003 - Nyaka Primary Opens
It all began with the Nyaka Primary School, a two-room school on a small plot of land serving 55 students. All the students were living in extreme poverty and had lost one or more parent to HIV/AIDS.
2004 - Nyaka Primary School Grows
As enrollment increased, we built additional classrooms to accommodate the growth. Knowing the urgency of getting children in school quickly, we made use of each new building as soon as it was complete — even as the rest of the school was still being constructed.
2005 - Nyakagezi Gets Clean Water
A gravity-fed clean water system was built to provide clean water to 17,500 community members. Tap systems were placed throughout the community, meaning women and girls no longer had to walk for miles to gather water, miss school, and risk assault.
2006 - Nutrition Program Launches
The nutrition program began after teachers noticed students fell asleep in class, because they were too hungry and had too little energy to learn. Kitchens were built at both primary schools to provide two hot meals every school day.
2007 - Grandmother Program Grows
Grandmothers raising HIV/AIDS orphans had few resources. We launched the Grandmothers program with 51 Grandmother groups of 25-70 members each. They gave each other peer support, and we began providing them with microfinance loans and training in budgeting, leadership, agriculture, and child rearing.
2008 - First Nyaka Graduation
The pioneer class of Nyaka Primary School graduated from primary school in 2008. There were 22 graduates, 21 of whom passed their national exams to attend secondary or vocational school. These students were sponsored by Nyaka to attend secondary and vocational schools in the region.
2008 - Kutamba Primary School Opens
After a young boy named Hilary traveled 40 miles when he heard there was a school for HIV/AIDS orphans like him, we decided to build a school in his community. Just as with Nyaka Primary School, Kutamba was built over several years, admitting a new class each year.
2009 - Blue Lupin Library Opens
Kicked off in 2009 and completed in 2010, the library provides access to newspapers, literature, computers, solar powered Wi-Fi, and a safe place to study for thousands of students and community members in Nyakagyezi.
2009 - Desire Farm Grows
Our farm began small, but has grown to encompass 10 acres of crops with cows, chickens, and other livestock to provide food for the primary schools. The farm created new sources of employment for the area, made food cheaper at the primary schools, and opened up new, sustainable revenue streams through the sale of surplus crops.
2011 - Health Clinic Completed
The Mummy Drayton School Clinic was built to provide free and low-cost healthcare and medicine to students, Grandmothers, and community members. Although both primary schools had a school nurse, the need for healthcare was greater than what they could provide alone.
2012 - First Kutamba Graduation
The 29 students in Kutamba Primary School’s pioneer class graduated! Sheila (pictured center left) was so excited, she danced all the way to the ceremony. They joined 30 Nyaka Primary School and 15 regional secondary school graduates.
2014 - First Nyaka Students Graduate
The first class of Nyaka Primary School students graduated from secondary school! Fourteen students received their high school diplomas. Twelve of these students applied to universities to continue their education.
2015 - Vocational and Secondary School Opens
Fifty students came from Nyaka and Kutamba Primary Schools to begin their first day of secondary school. Construction on the school continued until 2020.
2016 - Secondary School Grows
The school grew to educate over 160 students. Six out of the eight planned buildings were opened and operational, including the administration building, girls dormitory, boys dormitory, biology and computer labs, and the carpentry, brick laying, mechanical, and metal workshops.
2018 - EDJA Joins Nyaka
EDJA Foundation was started by Tabitha Mpamira in 2015 to combat sexual assault and gender-based violence in southwestern Uganda. Nyaka and EDJA merged in 2018 to strengthen capacity and help more victims become victors. The program is supporting 120 victors, and has secured convictions of 43 perpetrators. And 10,000 community members have been educated on SGBV prevention.
2019 - SGBV (EDJA) Program grows
We opened 3 more Healing Centers, bringing our total to 4 Healing Centers. All of our Healing Centers are hosted by hospitals or health centers in Kanungu (Kambuga Hospital, Kanungu Health Center IV, Kihihi Health Center IV, and Nyamirama Health Centre III), and our staff work in partnership with local police and other agencies to provide medical care, legal advocacy, and counseling to survivors across the district.