about

Nyaka would not be where it is today without the efforts of people all over the world who have contributed their time, talent, and treasure for our children's sake. We are forever grateful for your support.

Mission

The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project is working on behalf of HIV/AIDS orphans in rural Uganda to end systemic deprivation, poverty, and hunger through a holistic approach to community development, education, and healthcare.

Moved to Act
In 1996, Twesigye “Jackson” Kaguri’s life took an unexpected turn. He was living the American dream. He had an excellent education and was ready to explore opportunities, travel, and have fun. Then Jackson came face-to-face with Uganda’s HIV/AIDS pandemic. His brother died of HIV/AIDS, leaving him to care for his three children. One year later, his sister died of HIV/AIDS, also leaving behind a son. It was through his own personal experience this native Ugandan saw the plight of orphans in his village of Nyakagyezi. He knew he had to act. He took the $5,000 he had saved for a down payment on his own home and built the first Nyaka School.

Vision

For the rural communities of Uganda to build strong community and family structures using holistic and sustainable approaches that address challenges they face due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Uganda

Over 2.2 million children have lost one or both parents.
Extended families and orphanages face enormous obstacles in attempting to care for these children.
Orphans and vulnerable children go without many basic human needs: food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education.
Orphans are often forced to be responsible for income generation, food production, and the care of sick parents and/or siblings.
They may be the first to be denied education when extended families cannot afford to educate all the children of the household.

Operating Philosophy and Guiding Principles

We believe we are all one human family created by God, born equally, and have a duty to help one another.
We believe all people have the right to education, food, shelter, basic health care, respect and love.
We believe all people have a right to a voice that is heard and respected.
We believe a high-quality education is the key to empowering people to transform their lives.
We believe that sustainable, ethical, community-based solutions are the best way to address needs in rural Uganda.

key staff

Nyaka would not be where it is today without the efforts of our key staff and 43 teachers and support staff in Uganda.



Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, Founder & Executive Director
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri

Founder & Director

Mr. Kaguri was born and raised in Uganda in the small village of Nyakagyezi. In 2001, Kaguri founded The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in response to the devastating effects of AIDS in his hometown. Since founding the project, Kaguri has also become an author. In "A School for My Village" he shares how he came to build the first school and the struggles he faced during the first few years.
Email: tjk@nyakaschool.org

Jennifer Nantale, Country Director
Jennifer Nantale


Country Director

A native Ugandan, Jennifer has several years of experience as a manager serving refugees, displaced persons, and other vulnerable groups. Nantale joined NAOP in October 2010. In 2000, she lost her elder sister and had to raise her 2 daughters. Through this experience, she learned that with love and commitment, one can find the resources to raise a child who has no parents. She is committed to serving women, children, and other vulnerable people so they can experience a better life.
Email: jennifer@nyakaschool.org

Wendy Schneider, Bookkeeper
Wendy Schneider


Bookkeeper

Wendy Schneider joined the Nyaka staff in October 2011. She brings over 25 years' experience in bookkeeping with her! Wendy recently enrolled to get her Bachelor's Degree in Accounting. Wendy is connected to the plight of NAOP's students and grandmothers, having lost a brother to HIV/AIDS. Wendy believes that education is the key to breaking the cycle of systemic poverty. When she isn't crunching numbers or studying, Wendy enjoys reading.
Email: wendy@nyakaschool.org

Daniele Reisbig, Development Coordinator
Daniele Reisbig


Dev. Coordinator

Daniele Reisbig joined the Nyaka team in October 2013. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Michigan State University concentrating in Organizational and Community Practice. She is also an alumna of AmeriCorps, serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA in Billings, MT (2010-2011) and an AmeriCorps State Member in East Lansing, MI (2012-2013). Daniele is passionate about ending the cycle of poverty through empowerment of individuals and communities. When she isn't working to end global poverty, Daniele enjoys traveling (13 countries down, only 183 to go!), reading, and camping.
Email: daniele@nyakaschool.org

Desiree Kofoed, Office and Volunteer Coordinator, Granny Program Manager
Desiree Kofoed


Office Coordinator

Desiree joined the Nyaka Team in July 2013. Before joining Nyaka as a staff member Desiree was a committed NAOP volunteer since 2010. She brings her volunteer knowledge, activist desire to make the world a better place, and her enthusiasm and love for Nyaka. Desiree believes in the NAOP and has been advocating on behalf of the children and grannies for years. When she isn't working, Desiree continues her pursuit of making the world a better place through her environmentalism, volunteering, and working with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. She also enjoys reading, riding bikes, camping, and watching movies with her husband Dan, and two kids Kinzer and Gwenyvaer.
Email: desiree@nyakaschool.org

The Nyaka Board of Directors

Our Board welcomes any comments and/or questions you might have for them. To contact them, please visit our Contact Page and direct your question and/or comment to the desired board member in the comment section.

The Nyaka Board of Advisors

Promise Ambrose, Mr. Robert Auld, Chairperson Emeritus, Dr. Sam Carpenter, Dr. Nancy Colier, Dr. Deborah Delmer, Mr. Rolf Dietrich, Ms. Diane Goldberg Hunckler, Ms. Deborah Hutton, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, Ms. Barbara Kroberger, Marlene LaPorte, René Montgomery, Dr. Jude Mugerwa, Secretary, Dr. Graham Pike, Justice Ogoola, Ms. Carol Realini, Mr. Larry Sallee, Mr. Seow Cheng Soon, Ms. Clare Strenger, Dr. Snea Thinsan, Ms. Jennifer Thomson, Immediate Past-President, Dr. Fred Tinning, Dr. Dale Val, Mr. Aime Wata, Prof. Mohamed Zefzaf.

Robert Auld

Rob Auld has over 30 years experience in the finance, investment management and banking industries working with Fidelity Investments, Bankers Trust Company, Bank of America and the U.S. Export Import Bank. He has extensive international experience, having lived over 10 years in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. Mr. Auld served in the US Army from 1968-1970 as an instructor at the Army Engineer School at Ft. Belvoir, VA.  He grew up in Charleston, WV and now lives in Aspen, CO with his wife, Carol, and 2 dogs.

Frank Byamugisha

Frank Byamugisha, a Ugandan citizen, is married with 3 children. Since joining the World Bank in Washington DC as an Economist in 1983, he has held various technical and managerial positions there supporting development programs in East Asia, Eastern and Central Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, he is an Operations Advisor and a Land Reform and Administration Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa. He is also President of the International Community of Banyakigezi, an NGO that promotes culture and socio-economic development among the people that live or originate from South Western Uganda.

Nancy Colier

Nancy Colier is a psychotherapist in private practice. She is also the author of the book, "Getting Out of Your Own Way: Unlocking Your True Performance Potential," as well as many articles and essays. She is also a peak performance consultant, a public speaker, and a certified Focusing trainer. She is an interfaith minister. Nancy feels strongly that an education is a basic human right, and a fundamental component in watering the seeds of the human spirit. Nancy lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughters.

Twesigye J. Kaguri, Founder and Executive Director

Mr. Kaguri was born and raised in Uganda in the small village of Nyakagyezi. In 2001, Kaguri founded The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in response to the devastating effects of AIDS in his hometown.  Since founding the project, Kaguri has also become an author. In "A School for My Village" he shares how he came to build the first school and the struggles he faced during the first few years. Kaguri's Full Biography

Anu Frank - Lawale

Anu Frank-Lawale is a British– born Nigerian who currently lives in Virginia with his wife and children. Having spent a lot time living between the developed and developing worlds he is passionate about bridging the gulf between them. He is trained as a quantitative geneticist with a speciality in aquaculture breeding. Anu is currently the breeding research manager at the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Centre in the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) where he is designing and implementing a selection programme for the Eastern Oyster. He enjoys playing sports, cooking, photography, cinema and music. He is actively involved in his church.

Jude Mugerwa, M.D. FACC - Director

Dr. Mugerwa is a native of Uganda, East Africa. He is a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, and Nuclear Cardiology. Having graduated from medical school at Makerere University in Uganda, Dr. Mugerwa moved to Cleveland, USA where he successfully completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland - Case Western Reserve University. He then successfully completed his fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at Metrohealth Medical Center - Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He is currently in private practice as an Invasive Non-Interventional Cardiologist in Pennsylvania, USA.  Dr. Mugerwa is married and has a son.

Emma Mugisha

Emma Mugisha is currently the Chair of the Board of Advisors. She is proud to be volunteering for Nyaka. She grew up in a home where she met the HIV/AIDS challenge early in life when several of her uncles and aunts passed away from the disease. Her parents had 5 children of their own but have brought up more than 15 children as a result. Learning to share the available living space and resources, and seeing her parents' sacrifice inspired her to contribute and help ease the suffering of many children in Uganda affected by the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

Graham Pike

Dr. Graham Pike is Dean of International Education at Vancouver Island University, Canada. Previously, he was Dean of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island and before that he was Co-Director of the International Institute for Global Education at the University of Toronto.  He has published widely for academic and professional audiences and he is passionately committed to the development of global citizenship through public education. Through his Specialization in International Education program at UPEI, student teachers gained experience in schools around the world - including at Nyaka School, which he visited in 2007.

Janis Simon

Janis Simon has been married for 32 years and is a mother of four children and a host son from the ABC program (A Better Chance). She has her Masters degree in art education from Connecticut. She has taught art in the public schools kindergarten through 12th grade, and pre-school and Kindergarten for the Jewish Community Center. She has been on many boards of directors, including Hadassah, Congregation Kol Haverim, A Better Chance, and Hartwell Soccer.

Jennifer Thomson

Since earning her Master of International Affairs (MIA) from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University in 1997, Jennifer has worked in the field of microfinance and domestic community development finance. Her domestic work focuses on community development credit unions, having held positions at the Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union and consulted with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. Due to her keen interest in Africa, Jennifer managed a loan fund of over $1 million in eight African countries while serving as the Senior Program Officer for the Africa Region of the Hunger Project. Her interest in microfinance began as an undergraduate student while living in Senegal, West Africa, working with African Environment and Development (ENDA) in Dakar.