How the Village of Mary Children's Foundation Began
By Fr. Edward Bwanika
My desire to assist needy children started many years ago while I was still pursuing studies in the major seminary. Whenever I visited home from school, I came across a child or two in the neighborhood of Villa Maria who remained seated at home due to parents/guardians failure to pay school fees. This often saddened my heart. But I could not do anything then, and whenever I discussed with village-mates at home about the cause of these negative trend, they told me that these were effects of new national economic measures of privatization of government companies and retrenchment of people from civil service jobs. My village-mates correctly observed and informed me that the situation was bound to get worse in subsequent years as HIV/AIDS was also eating more parents thus creating numerous orphans.
Nonetheless, when I lost my own dear mother, Regina, I all of a sudden realized that the problem which I once used to observe from a distance had now actually hit my own household! My younger brothers and sisters were also barely threatened with dropping out of school. Friends asked me, a priest, to coordinate efforts and start a small support group for needy children. This would regularly organize fundraising events to assist raising school fees for the increasing number of home village children who were dropping out of school for lack of funding.
What started as a concern from an individual member in one family in Villa of Maria Parish soon became a concern for a group of Villa Maria home boys and home girls and today is a social concern for well-trained, resourceful men and women of integrity within Masaka and Mpigi districts. These needy children to attain the good and purposeful basic, secondary, and tertiary education.