Wakiso Hope Project is a 501c3 charity
Our story begins in 2006 when Corporal Robert Stasiak of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines, served his 2nd deployment in Iraq at Camp Taquddum. Located approximately 60 miles outside of Baghdad, Camp Taquddum was a marine base established to maintain security in the surrounding area. Through participation in the counter-terrorism efforts of his battalion, Robert witnessed the vulnerability of people, especially children, to political extremism as a result of poverty and illiteracy.
Corporal Robert Stasiak of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines in 2006
Because the marines assimilated Ugandan contractors into their operations, Robert met and befriended a Ugandan, Godfrey Sekyene, at Camp Taquddum. Professionally, Godfrey was a teacher and for many years, he and his wife had a dream to build a school for children who were left out of the educational system for financial reasons. Robert and Godfrey shared common interests such as bible study and soccer.
After finishing his tour in Iraq, Robert returned to the United States and maintained contact with Godfrey and the two discussed their wish to build a school to provide an education for underprivileged children. In 2009, Robert flew down to Uganda and started depleting his personal resources purchasing land and building materials to build a school. Subsequently, he returned several times to Uganda in an effort to finish portions of the project. In 2014, he formed a 501c3 called the Wakiso Hope Project in order to raise funds for the completion and ongoing support of the school.
Construction of the school began in 2009 and was finished in September of 2017. The school is located in Ssumbwe, Uganda about nine (9) miles outside of the city-center of Kampala. Despite its proximity to a major urban area, most families in Ssumbwe struggle to survive. This struggle has prompted the school to accept students who cannot afford to pay tuition.
Additionally, the school is a safe haven for abandoned and neglected children whose parents are deceased or are unable to care for them. The school is open to all children regardless of their ethnic or religious background. Because a large percentage of the students do not pay full tuition, the school struggles to remain open.
At times, the school does not collect enough tuition to pay teachers and the children don’t have enough food. To make the school self-sustaining, the Wakiso Hope Project aims to purchase a farm that will supply food for the children and a steady stream of income from the sale of produce.
Godfrey and Cate pose with some of the students outside the school shortly after its completion.