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There are an estimated two million orphans in Uganda, approximately 16% of whom have a disability. This makes 

them further vulnerable to neglect, abuse, denial of education and abandonment and requiring physical, psychological, educational, medical and nutritional support.

Zee Foundation is working to provide hope for these vulnerable children.

I connected with their Programs Officer, Samuel Bwanika, quite by chance on LinkedIn and he told me about the inspiring work they do.

The Challenges


Zee Foundation accepts children who have been abandoned due, in many cases, to poverty and they can receive as many as 8 - 10 new arrivals a week. The children are aged between 2 and 15 years. They usually arrive starving, poorly clothed and in need of medical attention for malnutrition and conditions such as malaria and typhoid. As you can imagine, the children are also suffering from psychological trauma due to their circumstances and abandonment.

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Some of the children from Zee Foundation

Providing for the children is a 'from the ground up' task, beginning with the most basic of needs like food, clothes, warmth and shelter; although the accommodation is in serious disrepair and there isn't enough space for all the children, Samuel and his team are determined to accept them all and turn none away, which has meant they are renting additional space.

There is rarely enough food for the children; a meal or two a week. In addition, the nearest borehole which provides the community's water is a 5km walk away for the children; this is giving rise to teenage pregnancies due to the long, unsupervised journey.

As well as nutrition and shelter, the children are provided with medication for malaria, typhoid and malnutrition, and access to education; the compound has a makeshift school and a small church, both of which are in extensive disrepair.


Some of the children pose under a tree for an impromptu photograph

The program also endeavours to steer the older children into vocational training such as crafts, tailoring and hospitalities.

The Goals

Samuel and his team have a vision to reach these children in their desperate situation and change the trajectory of their lives! In the short term, this means:

  • Food

  • Shelter

  • Medication

  • Clothes

The weekly care cost is £33.00 ($45.00 US) per week per child. These goals are not always met as the foundation is currently subsisting on donations from friends and family of the volunteers.

Longer term goals include:

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The community borehole

  • Finishing building the orphanage so the children have a proper shelter and they can cut costs

  • Purchasing enough beds for the children to have places to sleep

  • Finishing work on the school and the church

  • Buying a small plot of land so they can raise a small farm for self-sufficiency

  • Buying a van to so the children don't have to walk the long distance to school

  • Digging a local well and installing an underground pump from the borehole so the children (particularly the girls, whose job it is, traditionally, to fetch water) do not have to travel 5km to the borehole and

  • Building a local health centre as the foundation also serves the local community with things such as COVID-19 vaccinations

Realistically, these goals will take a sum in the region of £19,700.00 ($27,000.00 US).

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Left to right; Samuel Bwanika, Stella Madaya and Gerald Kafeero

The Team

Balinda Zahara, Founder/Executive Director (not pictured) - Balinda is passionate about supporting orphans and vulnerable children to achieve their goals by removing the barriers to their participation, contribution and success in society.

Samuel Bwanika, Programs Officer - Coming from a social work and project management background, Samuel's focus is the design and implementation of community development programs.

Stella Madaya, Psychological Support Specialist - A trained teacher, Stella is all about empowerment and nurturing; an extremely valuable part of the program for socially damaged children.

Gerald Kafeero, Social Worker - Gerald's background in social work proves invaluable in supporting the children to achieve health and social well-being and educating the wider community.

You Can Help ...

The task before Samuel and the team at Zee Foundation is monumental.

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Example of Children's Hierarchy of Needs

Their vision is for the children to become happy, well-balanced, contributory members of their community, but there is much to do to achieve that objective; you can't expect children with hungry tummies and nowhere to sleep to feel safe and secure, or to get much from any school lessons.

The staff face a constant battle to achieve the most basic of the children's needs and progress them to their destination of fulfillment of their potential.

You can help with this. Please donate to help with the care and rehabilitation of these precious, vulnerable children; your donation will help to provide the food, medication and counselling needed to rebuild their shattered lives and help them become happy, well-balanced, contributory members of their community.

Samuel, his team and the children of Zee Foundation thank you for your compassion.

Contact Samuel Bwanika: 


T: +256779525359/256700581124

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