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.
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. You can read more about Jackson's journey in his book, " A School for My Village".
To break the cycle of systematic poverty in rural areas of Uganda.
The HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Uganda
Over 1.1 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.
The Nyaka Board of Directors
Twesigye Jackson 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
Ms. Janis Simon Chairperson
Janis Simon has eight years of experience in the non-profit arena specializing in Africa. She became involved in Africa in 2008 as a founding board member of the Segal Family Foundation. Since 2010 she has been the Board Chair of Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project located in Uganda. She has a Master of Education degree, was a school teacher in Connecticut for ten years, and is a certified Master Trainer in Helping Babies Breathe.
Emma Mugisha Vice-Chairperson
Emma is an experienced Banker with over 20 year Banking experience within East Africa, She is currently the Head of Transactional Products and Services in the Corporate and investment Banking Division of Stanbic Bank Uganda.
Emma Mugisha is currently the Chair of the Board. 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.
Frank Byamugisha Governance Committee Chair
Frank F. K. Byamugisha, a Ugandan national, is a consultant in land, agriculture and natural resource management after a 30-year career with the World Bank. Before joining the World Bank, he was an Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Finance in Papua New Guinea. He is a founding member of the International Community of Banyakigezi and its President from 2004 to 2010 and is currently a Director on its Board. Since 2010, he has been a Director on the Board of The Nyaka Aids Orphans Project, a non-profit that supports HIV/AIDS orphans and their grandmothers to overcome poverty in Kigezi.
My support for Nyaka is rooted in the fact that its mission is consistent with my adult-life ambition of eradicating poverty and provides so far the most successive model of holistic development.
Barbara Kroberger Secretary
I am a licensed social worker and have been specializing in geriatric social work and behavioral health for more than 35 years. I have worked in a variety of settings including treatment facilities, subsidized housing communities, retirement communities and non-profit social service organizations. I believe strongly in serving the under-served and in a person's right to self-determination. I have spent my adult life, both professionally and personally, treating people with dignity and respect.
I live in Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Philadelphia, with my husband of 35 years, Jeff. I am the proud parent of 31 year old twins, Jonathan and Elizabeth. I am active in my church, Trinity Episcopal. I also provide significant support and care to my elderly parents. One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill - "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" I have been involved with Nyaka since 2007, when there was just a single school without running water, electricity or many resources. I have watched it grow over the years with pride and awe at the progress made in such a short time. I support Nyaka because the original mission to care for children orphaned by AIDS/HIV remains at the core of the work. I know that the values and ethics of this organization are solid and unwavering. I know that the money given and the resources donated are used to benefit the children, the grannies and the community. I take great pride in being associated with this organization and have seen first hand the difference we are making in the lives of the people we serve.
Leah Greenspan Hodor
Dr. Leah Greenspan Hodor is Board Certified in both Pediatrics and Neonatal Medicine. She has developed extensive experience during her humanitarian missions in both SSA and Haiti where she has taught HBB and ECEB. She is a Master Trainer in HBB, ECEB, and is a certified instructor for S.T.A.B.L.E. Dr. Greenspan is a practicing Neonatologist in Maryland and serves on the board for Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in rural Uganda, as well as the board of VHA.
Cath Inanir is a dual British-Turkish citizen. Although brought up and educated in the UK, she has spent most of her adult life teaching in both Spain and Turkey where she eventually set up her own tourism company. She has traveled extensively but is constantly drawn to Africa and has been fortunate to have been able to visit Uganda and Nyaka on many occasions.
Getting involved with Nyaka has brought me many joys. As an avid reader, it isn't often that one can read a book and then have the immense pleasure of meeting not only the author who is an inspiration to so many but also the people that the novel speaks of that have inspired the author, and to happily discover that everything is just as it was written. I have come across an honesty and integrity and warmth that I have not experienced when I have been involved in other charitable projects. In the short time I have been associated with Nyaka, I can bear witness to the fact that the organisation is genuinely changing the lives of those it touches in a meaningful way, one by one, not just the children at the heart of it all but the wider community too who benefit from Nyaka's holistic approach and it has been an honor to be invited to share in the ongoing story.
Topher has been convening and connecting people for the purposes of social change for over a decade, starting with co-founding the Highland City Club, a membership community of 300 change-makers in Boulder, Colorado, to managing Dunton Hot Springs, one of North America’s top all-inclusive resorts and retreat centers, to leading the Opportunity Collaboration, a global network of 1200 nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers, impact investors, corporates and academics building sustainable solutions to poverty, and finally with creating Conveners.org, a group of over 150 fellow conveners and accelerators in the impact space.
His purpose is to convene and connect nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers, impact investors and all other agents of positive change, thereby building the ecosystem for the social sector and creating greater opportunities for international social and economic justice. As someone who has dedicated my life to social impact, Nyaka represents the best-of-class in regards to its holistic approach to social justice.
Ms. Katherine Tillery
Katherine (Kate) Tillery practiced law in downstate Illinois for thirty years. In 2000, she retired from the active practice of law to pursue a master’s degree in International Affairs with an emphasis on Human Rights Law at Washington University in St. Louis. Upon graduation, Kate put her knowledge to work as a volunteer instructor of International Law at the EarthRights School in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Kate has a long-standing commitment to public service, and has performed pro bono work for a number of organizations, including Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation; the Illinois Bar Foundation; EarthRights, International; and Nyaka Aids Orphans Project, where she contributed to the development of a granny training program to advocate for victims of sexual assault.
Kate feels fortunate to be able to pursue her passion for human rights and social justice on a global level. She is an enthusiastic supporter of Nyaka Aids Orphans Project, and joined the Board in early 2016.
As the proud mother of three daughters and two grandchildren, I know the importance of a stable family life to the growth of a child. While it is difficult to grasp the enormity of the challenges facing so many AIDS orphans in southern Uganda, I am humbled by the dedication of the Nyaka team to provide food, shelter, education, medical care and, most of all, hope to so many orphans. In addition, the training, support and opportunity provided to the grannies helps them achieve their human right to dignity. It is a true honor to be part of such a noble cause.
Dr. 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.
Mr. Ted Brynn, Treasurer
Dr. Leah Greenspan Hodor
Ms. Robin Langley
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
Mr. Robert Auld, Chairperson Emeritus
Dr. Sam Carpenter
Dr. Nancy Colier
Dr. Deborah Delmer
Dr. Paul Deweese
Mr. Rolf Dietrich
Ms. Diane Goldberg Hunckler
Ms. Deborah Hutton
Prof. Mondo Kagonyera
Ms. Barbara Kroberger
Dr. Jude Mugerwa, Secretary
Dr. Graham Pike
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
Nyaka would not be where it is today without the tireless efforts of our staff; our team is made up of 89 staff members. Learn more about our staff by clicking on their picture below.
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.
Wendy Schneider joined the Nyaka staff in October 2011. She brings over 25 years' experience in accounting 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.
Development and Grants Manager
Stephanie Andelman joined the Nyaka Team in June 2016. Her 15 years of non profit work experience has been dedicated to environmental causes, cultural conservation, and green building initiatives. She also spent five years as a Board of Directors Member for a community-based organization serving rural students and families. Interspersed with advocating causes to help people and the planet, Stephanie has over five years of experience in digital media, spreading the adoption of music subscription models. Her marketing, fundraising, and partnership specialties will provide support for the growing NAOP community. Having the opportunity to travel to West Africa in the mid-80's, Stephanie studied natural resource issues affecting different regions of the continent. When she is not in front of a computer, Stephanie is biking, skiing, running or entrenched in the music scene.
Office & Volunteer Coordinator
Basket Program Manager
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.
Development and Sponsorship Coordinator
Sarah Seltz joined the Nyaka team in April 2015. Her professional background has mainly focused on education and health advocacy which is why she was so excited to be introduced to Nyaka and continue to promote the importance of education and health, but now on a global level. As a Michigan native, she is a Western Michigan University alumni with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and English. With a high spirit of adventure, Sarah has also lived in Shreveport, Louisiana and Tallahassee, Florida. While in Louisiana, she completed her Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Administration at Louisiana State University. Sarah contributes to the communities she lives in by volunteering her time to animal welfare initiatives that focus on reducing animal cruelty and neglect. During her free time, Sarah and her husband, Andy, enjoy spending time with family and friends, and exploring all of the beauty that the State of Michigan has to offer.
Webmaster & IT Consultant
Clyde Baldwin joined the Nyaka Team in August 2014. Before joining Nyaka, Clyde was a freelance web designer and consultant, contributing to the web development needs of several local organizations. He has also lead supplemental instruction classes for the computer programming courses at Lansing Community College; where he also graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Associates Degree in Computer Programming for Business. Clyde enjoys science & technology, music, games, and spending time with friends and family. He is happily married to Joy Baldwin and father of two teenage children, Jasper and Willow.
(Photo courtesy of gwendolynmortonphotography.com)
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.
Executive Program Assistant
Shabnam was born in Fort Portal, a beautiful town in western Uganda, and raised in the mountainous region of Mbale in the Eastern part of Uganda. She is a social worker who is very passionate about children and working with communities. Her love for working with people sent her off volunteering to South Sudan just as it was coming out of a 20 year conflict where she worked on an HIV/AIDS project. Having volunteered for a few years, she decided to pursue her Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies and wrote her thesis on HIV/AIDS in conflict situations. She has since conducted trainings in peace building and conflict transformation and worked on several HIV/AIDS programs. When she is not working to improve the lives of people, she likes travelling and spending time with her two children.
Sempa Abu Bakr
Finance & Administration Manager
Finance & Administration Assistant
Finance & Administration Assistant
Mwesigwa John was born in June 29 1989 in Rusembe Ward in Hoima Municipality in Uganda. He currently stays and works as a Social Worker at Nyaka AIDS Foundation-Kanungu/Rukungiri. He received his Second Class Upper Bachelors degree in Guidance and Counseling award at Kyambogo University in Uganda. Johns study was not easy as it was a struggle because he was single parented and the mother tried her level best to ensure that he attains a better education which he did through being hardworking, patient and prayerful. He is born from a humble family and raised in a hardworking environment where he involved himself with educated people since his childhood and who contributed to who he is today. During his teenager he participated in student leadership and he held different positions as well and for his exemplary work he was awarded certificates for the different positions held. In addition, he previously worked as a HIV/AIDS Counselor with Action Africa Help-International (Uganda Program)-UNHCR Implementing partner at Kyangwali Refugees Settlement, Volunteered at Reproductive Health Uganda, worked as a Peer Educator at Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa and all this experience enabled him realize how leadership skills can enable an individual work within a multi-cultural team and achieve desired results. The leadership skills he attained were demonstrated while undertaking a Diploma in Virtual leadership Development Program for monitoring & evaluation of family planning and reproductive health services funded by USAID and moderated by Management Sciences for Health and during which led to an over how of M&E strategy of family planning and reproductive health in the organization he was working in. Furthermore, John participated in the International Youth Essay Competition by the World Bank on youth Migration and was given an award. John therefore believes that each person has equal opportunities in life to succeed.
Teacher & Chapel
Teacher & Assistant
Teacher & Scouts
Morning Johnson Tibihabo
Nyaka Vocational Secondary School
Biology & Chemistry
Ainebyona B Pius
Maths & Physics
Dr Hope Kibansha is a 34 year old female surgeon, married with 2 children, working as a resident surgeon at Kambuga Hospital, also heading Kambuga Hospital as a medical superintendent, she did her first degree in Makerere University College of Health Sciences and completed in 2009, and masters in Surgery in 2014, she is a Urology fellow candidate under COSECSA, she has special interest in improving Health service delivery, and has a passion for children's Health. She is involved in research and has written abstracts. She loves her job and what motivates her is seeing a patient recover from an illness.
Dr Hope looks forward to improving quality of life of her patients through her services, especially helping the most vulnerable ones'.
Blue Lupin Library
Volunteer GHC Fellow
Assistant Granny Coordinator