It was a merry affair on Saturday afternoon as the pupils of Bishop West Primary School in Mukono were treated to a memorable afternoon buffet meal courtesy of UpendoMikono a newly registered Civil Based Organisation.
The idea for the organization a brain child of Herbert Mukuru- whose roots lie within UCU was nurtured in early April when Mukuru first walked into Bishop West Primary School and asked how he could help do something for the school
“I found myself near the school one day and while chatting, I found out that it catered for special needs pupils so I asked the headmistress what I could do for them” he says.
Within the week he had carried out his research and tried to find out what challenges came in between the Bishop West Primary School pupils and their education and came to the realization that poor feeding and lack of scholastic materials was their main challenge.
He wanted to do something significant for the School and try to give back to children, but he figured he wouldn’t be able to do it alone since it would require resources that he didn’t have at the time.
“At the time it seemed like a joke, it appeared like i wasn’t serious, but with each single day that I appeared to follow up on the school was able to convince every one that i was serious about honoring my promise”.
So he sat down with a group of friends and pitched his idea and together they came up with UpendoMikono, a name that they felt would bring out clearly their message.
“Upendo is a Swahili word that means Love or care and by adding it to the Luganda word Mikono which means hands, we felt that we had found the perfect name for our organization” Herbert Mukuru.
By adding the two words together Mukuru was able to get a translation close to “Loving Hands” and the organization was born but continued being less active as the team tried to come up with a master plan to ensure its longevity which would later be confirmed by the registration of UpendoMikono in early September as a Civil Based Organization with the Mukono Municipal Council
In mid-August barely three days to exams Mukuru was surprised when Charles Alpha Karamagi a friend of his invited him to the very school he had promised to help with a plan to help donate to the school.
“He (Karamagi) called me and asked if I could join him at Bishop West to deliver some things and I tagged along and we donated cartons of soda and milk to the school.”
A week later, he was surprised when the Headmistress Lydia Nakachwa Sekalumba who happens to be a friend to him called and informed him that the simple donation they had sent had been christened “Christmas” and the conversation going around was that the pupils had been given Christmas by Karamagi.
From that point it the annual “Christmas in October” themed event was born and Hebert set out to honor his promise and canvassed around the University with his team who included his friends from the graduating class and a few third year mass communication students who included, Brilliam Atwesigye, Sallam Oshaba, Christine Lutwama, Rita Tusiime, Ivan Mutamba and Henrietta mobilizing funds or the event eventually collecting at least five hundred thirty thousand shillings (530,000)shs.
The event which would be headlined by a buffet of exotic dishes like beef, rice, Irish potatoes, salads, friuts and soft drinks was now in high gear awaiting just the day of festivity.
On Saturday the UpendoMikono team finally executed the long awaited program that began with a soccer match at UCU to raise awareness for the cause that attracted hundreds of students who came to watch their colleagues play in support of a charitable cause.
This was followed by cooking, a task that saw the UCU graduating students show their expertise in the kitchen as they put together a buffet of meals that were served to the pupils of Bishop West Primary School amidst smiles.
This was followed by the donation of a water tank from UpendoMikono who worked in liason with Ramagunandan Enterprises, Mukono to procure the equipment that was commissioned earlier on today.
By the end of the day it was clear that the first “Christmas in October” event organized by UpendoMikono had been a great success and was there to stay.
“The event went well and it’s encouraging because we didn’t expect things to work out this well but through cooperation and God’s grace it actually went to plan, we hope to organize another next year.” Mukuru said.