Bright Kids Orphanage - BKOC
Ronald and Hassan.

Bright Kids Orphanage - BKOC

Making a difference, One child at a Time.

By Edna Nakalungi
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First published: January 19, 2008


Just recently articles in the Washington Post newspaper (US) have revealed, and many of us know that not only is the peace in Northern Uganda in a fragile state but so are the many children that have been affected by the twenty-year old war. The war has spawned orphaned, abandoned, neglected children and other children that have to recover from both physical and psychological scars caused from being forced to become child soldiers and sex slaves.



Ibrahim and David
Ibrahim and David.

Though the task of trying to do something was daunting, many of us read stories, watched the documentaries Invisible Children and the award-winning War/Dance and wondered what we could do to make a difference in even one of these lives. Some people have lent their financial support to these and various organizations that are helping these children. To raise funds and awareness of the problems plaguing the street children of Uganda, millions have tried to make a difference by participating in Gulu Walks in various cities throughout the world, including Gulu, Uganda.

Julie and Okol
Julie and Okol.

Until the day she was confronted face to face with a couple of street children in the heart of Kampala in the midst of opulence while on vacation in 2007, Ms. Elizabeth Lidonde was one of these people. What she was doing seemed enough since she was busy working full time and rearing five children. It broke her heart to see the desolate and desperate conditions they were living in knowing that her own children were enjoying the benefits of living in a protected and sheltered environment where all their basic needs were being met. With whatever little she had in her wallet at the time, Elizabeth decided she had to do more so that the children she met could enjoy the same rights and privileges. Ms. Lidonde turned her heartbreak into action and upon her return to her home in the United States she established and incorporated the non-profit organization Bright Kids Orphanage, Inc. (BKOC). BKOC's mission was to rescue vulnerable and economically disadvantaged children, from the dire circumstances in which they live by providing housing, their basic necessities and an education. Elizabeth knew what she wanted to accomplish through the organization but had no idea how to go about implementing the organization's mission. Divine Providence was putting everything in order.

On the other side of the world, Ms. Lidonde's friend, Mr. Rex Miller had forged a friendship with another hard working lady Ms. Victoria Namusisi Nalongo.

Saidi
Saidi.

Victoria has been working with street children, orphans of war and AIDS, child prostitutes, children of war, and other disadvantaged children for a few years. She was running an orphanage she established in 2000 after giving up her promising career in politics as the district commissioner of Mpigi district. She had decided that in order to make a lasting impact in her community she must focus on the children. Her eyes had been opened to certain realities during her discussions with the street children. Ms. Nalongo once asked the children if they would take the Scout promise, which encourages them to live in integrity and with responsibility. Their fact-of-the-matter answer to her was that they could not make such a promise when their main daily concern was survival of the fittest on the mean streets on which they lived. This kind of lifestyle meant stealing just to get something to eat as well as other criminal activities. This is what prompted Ms. Nalongo to establish Sunrise Village which originally had 13 children.

Once Elizabeth completed the work of incorporating her organization, she contacted Rex Miller to obtain advice on how to go about beginning the implementation of BKOC's mission. Rex in turn advised his friend to use the wealth of his new-found friend and former civil servant, Ms. Nalongo who had already gone through the process Elizabeth would have to go through. As Elizabeth and Victoria's interaction would reveal, they had the same drive, compassion, determination and vision as to how to bring about lasting change in the lives of disadvantaged children. And hence Providence had paved the way for their partnership to form which led "Sunrise Village" to become "Bright Kids Orphanage"-Uganda. Elizabeth had miraculously found a way to implement BKOC's mission while providing Victoria more concrete means by which to obtain funds for the orphanage.

BKOC is currently helping over 60 orphans and has to turn many away others because they are filled to capacity. The needs continue to be many and Ms. Lidonde and Ms. Nalongo are determined to find ways to fulfill them. They cannot do this alone. They continue to depend on the support of family, friends, volunteers, and anyone who wants to make a difference, one child at a time. Elizabeth chairs several fundraising events throughout the United States. These have included a pool tournament in Worcester, Massachusetts and will be followed by another fundraiser at The Cherry Hill Conference Center in Silver Spring, Maryland on Friday, October 10, 2008. The organizers have planned an evening of food, fun, music, fashion, and live entertainment as attendees "Party For A Cause" and celebrate Uganda's Independence Day. Let "Freedom Ring" for all disad vantaged children in Uganda and elsewhere in the world! For those of you who want to partner with BKOC but are unable to attend the fundraising event in October, please go to www.brightkidsuganda.org where you will be able to find out all the various ways you can join the movement of "Making a difference, one child at a time".

For more information you may contact:

Elizabeth at elizabeth@brightkidsorphanagecorporation.org or 508.335.2982

You may purchase tickets ($40) online at: http://brightkidsorphanage.eventbrite.com

Or e-mail or call:
Nakalungi@aol.com 240.271.2305
Fidelia26@aol.com 240.350.5440

By Edna Nakalungi
more from author >>
First published: January 19, 2008