Meet Aaron Bukenya, Founder and Executive Director.
2014 ANNUAL ADDRESS FROM BESO FOUNDER
& EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AARON BUKENYA
Over 18 years ago I moved from Wanteete village to Kampala seeking a better education. The quality of education in the rural area was extremely poor, and my parents wanted a better life for at least one of their children. My parents sold all of their cows and crops to send just one of their children to a better school. Of their six children, I was chosen to live with an uncle in the capital and pursue my dreams. At home, my siblings and neighbors walked numerous miles to the nearest school and crammed into a classroom with over 100+ peers.
Throughout my education in Kampala, I traveled home for holidays. As I grew older I noticed the drastic gap between myself and my siblings and neighbors. It was not because I was more intelligent than them, but they simply had no opportunities or access to a quality education.
Passionate about this injustice, I devoted my career to teaching and social work. After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Education, and spending a few years teaching, I decided to focus on making a difference in rural communities through access to quality education. I began talking to schools in Kampala who also shared my passion, and they graciously offered a 50% scholarship to 300 children coming from different villages. I realized that I could make a significant difference through networking and advocacy. At that point, the concept of starting a Community Based Organization gradually took shape with a dual purpose of improving rural families' livelihoods through economic empowerment and providing underserved children access to quality education in their rural home setting.
On April 14, 2010, Bugerere Education Support Organization (BESO) Foundation was formally created. As all new NGOs experience, mobilizing resources was challenging at first. After investing my personal savings of $2,500 USD into BESO I began knocking on doors. At first, I encountered every kind of obstacle and rejection. But, with dedication and resiliency, we succeeded in finding highly-respected partners that believed in our vision. In particular, we thank the Segal Family Foundation, Spark Microgrants, One World Children's Fund, the Cubit Family Foundation, STIR Education, the Kayunga District Local Government, and the Value Addition Institute.
In this year's Annual Report we share the details of what we accomplisehed for the past 4 years in all of our programs. When facing obstacles of such magnitude it is wise to reflect on the daily differences we are making for the children and families we serve. They are not nameless, faceless statistics. They are children whose names are recorded on our attendance rosters, and eventually on progressive report cards handed out during academic semesters. They are mothers who dance in celebration of a new farming season and the help they receive because of you!
To learn more about specific acheivements to date, please visit our Impact Stats page.
On behalf of the children and women we serve, we thank you for your support. The future is bright and the best is yet to come. We ask for your continued support, and we wish for you a prosperous new year!
BESO Foundation Executive Director