My name is Tugumisirize Frances and I am the founder and Executive Director of The Sunbeam Project.
There are so many underprivileged families, especially pygmies (Batwa) who initially lived in the Bwindi forest and depended on it for survival as hunters and gatherers before it was gazetted as a national park. Their children wandered into the community begging for food and torn clothes instead of going to school. In a large part, the schools were inaccessible anyway due to the long distances to be travelled or because their parents could not raise any money even to buy a pencil since they live in perpetual poverty.
These children are born and raised in poverty, often to parents struggling to survive on less than half a dollar a day. The children live without access to medical care, education, decent housing or any chance of a better future.
Moved by the suffering of these children and and with a burning desire to help, I teamed up with another teacher, Sayuni Inid decided that we could no longer sit on the fence and watch the children wallow in illiteracy, hunger, misery, loneliness and despair.
Frances and Inid went from house to house talking with the community, sensitising people, asking for their views and spreading the message about the need to give hope and a firm foundation to the lives of these children by giving them opportunities to advance in education and to secure their futures by unlocking their potential through provision of knowledge and skills.
With the support of the community we started a school in a rented grass thatched building. Here the children come to gain knowledge and skills, play, have fun and feel loved. Teaming up with Steven Cairns as our first international donor and co-founder, The Sunbeam Project was born.
Steve and Frances pictured with the Matron, Aida in July 2013.
The Sunbeam Project is registered as a Community Based Organisation and is governed by a Board of Directors taken from the local community, and committees have been formed to manage and be accountable for various activities.
Click here for a who's who on the Board and committees
As with all such organisations, its operations are bound by a constitution and the office holders are accountable both to the Board and to the local government, under the terms of its registration.
Click here to see our registration certificate
The Sunbeam Project is in a little village called Rushaga in the district of Kisoro in the southwest corner of Uganda. The nearest township is called Rubuguri. Click here for more information.