Abel Robert Ssekayombya born to a Ugandan teenage mother 26years ago is the founder and Director of Saint Ann Foundation- a community based development organization. His mother had no education background and did not have any form of employment to see him through his studies but gave in all she could gather so he can go to a public school. By the help of his aunt, he was able to go to better schools and attain the best education till university where he graduated in social work and social administration course. This enabled him to get the skills and inspiration to start up Saint Ann Foundation so that he can help the needy children that are going through the same situation like he did and also to help mothers who lack any form of support for their children.
Today, Robert has empowered over 100 youths with knowledge and skills, supporting 50 OVCs with school materials and has established Elleanor Junior School. He also equips mothers with skills that enable them to earn a living and support their children.
“I never got a chance to see my father or feeling the warmth from the hug of a daddy”- Abel confesses
Go Volunteer Africa is excited to connect with Saint Ann Foundation, an amazing organization that is dedicated to bring help to vulnerable children, youth and women in Uganda. Saint Ann Foundation led by Robert Abel is a wonderful example of how youth can make a big impact in their communities.
Abel talked to our Projects Coordinator- Florence about Saint Ann Foundation, his life and his future plans.
What is “Saint Ann Foundation”?
Saint Ann Foundation is a Ugandan community based organization dedicated to work with children, women and promote volunteerism in Uganda. SAF is a registered and works with the poor to overcome poverty and injustice and alleviate the distress of the vulnerable and defenseless. We provide care and support to those in society who are in need of compassion, disenfranchised or have been rendered voiceless.
We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender or economic back ground etc.
How did you get started with Saint Ann Foundation? What inspired the idea? Tell us about a recent project/accomplishment.
Having enrolled as a student of social science (social work and social administration) at Makerere University in 2011, I realized we were studying society contemporary social problems. These were the same problems mum and my childhood faced without solutions. After one year of study, I found out that it was possible to empower communities solve their social problems by starting an organization. Having gathered the information from the lectures and during internship, I shared my vision and Mission with one of the community leaders. He bought the idea and agreed to support me during the registration and promoting of the organization in the community.
Recently with support from Go Volunteer Africa and Mr. Isaac Ssamba we initiated an environment conservation campaign and we have started a project of planting trees within Nangabo subcounty and surrounding communities. We plan to plant over 30,000 trees in the coming future.
What makes Saint Ann Foundation different from other organizations that aim to help orphans and women in Uganda?
Saint Ann Foundation works directly with the neediest communities in their groups. Our programs respond to local project requests by actively engaging the local communities groups in the design and implementation of the projects. This ensures that outcomes will best address the real community needs.
What impact has the organization made in the community?
With funding support from the U.S Embassy, we empowered over 100 youth with knowledge and marketable skills. Established Elleanor Junior School in 2015 and we support 50 OVCs with school materials, Snacks and Lunch in the community. We support child caregivers with establishing income generating activities these include (micro gardens, crafts among others)
What challenges are you facing as an organization?
Besides financing being our biggest challenge, the second one is human resource. We are under staffed and we are always faced with challenge of juggling meetings and projects. We approached Go Volunteer Africa to help us attract volunteers to join our team. We have a number of tasks and we need people to come and serve with us, be it administration or field work.
Go Volunteer Africa is not only committed to cooperate with grass-roots organizations in Africa through recruitment and placement of international volunteers, but we also support these organizations through small volunteer grants to support their work and help increase their capacity. What can a small grant help in achieving your goals?
We have a number of projects on table and we can utilize the grant to empower our women’s microloans program which has helped women to establish income generating projects to support their families.
Check out Saint Ann Foundation’s weblink- https://saintannfoundation.wordpress.com/
A special thank you to Abel Robert Ssekayombya, the Director of Saint Ann Foundation, who was kind enough to conduct this interview
Interview by: Florence – Projects Coordinator- Go Volunteer Africa