Many apologies the “AfroOptimist of the Month” Page had been interrupted these past months, capacity shortage is the culprit!
But we are back, strong and optimistic as always, and pleased to present you our AfroOpitmist of the Month: a truly inspirational young but consciencious Ugandan leader named Hannington Segiriniya. Not only is Hannington (or Seggy as his friends call him) a true community leader, but he is also a dedicated community servent who has been involved with the Red Cross of his country for as long as he can remember.
Hanny embodies the spirit of Afrooptism, and demonstrates what can be achieved when you don’t settle for what is, but rather work towards what should be. With a great dose of dedication, hard work and courage, he decided to take on one critical need he saw in his community: support to HIV affected children, whose future is compromised by the paucity of opportunities, and most of all, of hope. In his own words: ” We reassure them of their talents and the opportunities which are waiting for them. We convince them of their right to live instead of their struggle to survive, the right to have a healthy meal instead of begging for food, the right to health care instead of being depressed because of being born with HIV/AIDS, the right to be loved even when their parents are sick or deceased…”
The road to NEW DAWN’s birth was fraught with many challenges however, as we see in the interview below with Hannington. For all those of us still waiting to START, still waiting to begin our own community emporwerment initiatives, taking full-on the challenges in our communities, we trust this interview will be very informative and encouraging. Our hope is that Hannington will inspire YOU to take action, too, wherever you are.
For more information on Hannington’s initiative feeding and supporting HIV children in Entebbe and around Uganda, visit the webpage of NEW DAWN Africa by clicking here
Do contribute/champion/fundraise for and support this cause in all the ways you possibly can. Thanks heaps from the entire Afro-Optimism team!
A new dawn…
A new day…
A light in darkness…
That is what we are in the lives of children who are unfortunate to live a tough life in Africa.
A new dawn…
Because we are all humans…
You are so much welcome to be a part of it and
be a blessing to a life of a child who deserves it and awaits.
– Hannington Segiriniya, founder
1. What is New Dawn Africa?
We at New Dawn Africa Foundation are committed to providing nutritional, educational and general care to orphans, street children and other Extremely Vulnerable Individuals especially those affected by HIV / AIDS and other serious conflicts in Uganda and beyond. We do feel that the purpose of attainment of our goals and objectives is to cultivate a genuine and responsible sense of unity, cooperation, dignity and to promote the general welfare of all members of the communities we operate in. Due to the meager resources, the organization established its initial operations in Entebbe, Wakiso District before spreading to the rest of the countryside. Wakiso District is one of the areas most hit by the HIV/AIDS scourge and its location being close to different landing sites makes it more prone to the problem. Such a scenario definitely presents other HIV/AIDS related problems thereby justifying our measures to try and address the situation in the area.
2. What is the vision of New Dawn Africa?
To see an improved and happy community that can respond to its basic needs.
3.Which critical development need in your country does it address? How do you address these?
We are tackling nutrition care and unemployment by providing nutritional, educational and general care to orphans, street children and other Extremely Vulnerable Individuals especially those affected by HIV / AIDS. We also provide trainings in skills development for the caretakers of the children under our care support.
Access to skills
Access to seed capital
3. How did you start? Was it very difficult?
We had a survey carried out in our community and the results were alarming. We realized that many children living with HIV/AIDS were getting treatment but they had no good meal to have. Taking antiretroviral drugs without a good meal is so dangerous. So we embarked on the journey of making sure that we provide the families with nutritious food supplies. The beginning was not easy but we had to persist since deep down we knew we had to make a difference.
4. How does New Dawn operate on a day to day basis?
Every last Saturday of the month children come with their guardians to our centre to participate in a couple of activities. We start the day with breakfast as a big family then we have counseling sessions for the children and their guardians or caretakers. We have volunteers who introduce games where all children participate. At times the children are taught how to make cookies or other snacks. The caretakers come to our centre 3 days a week to be taught in different skills that will help them get or create jobs thereby being in position to provide for their families.
5. How do you inspire more people to join you in accomplishing your ideal?
I have challenged my friends to remember where they have come from, all of us Africans have gone through hard times in life and this should wake us up and do something for others. I have also invited several people to come join us as volunteers so we can accomplish our dream.
6. Any concrete achievements of NDAF to date you’d like to share?
Within a period of 1 year we have seen improved lives of children living with HIV. Their health has improved and they see hope. A number of caretakers are now able to do craft works and tailoring as a result of our skills development trainings and now they are able to compete on the job market.
7. Do you face any challenges in your work within NDAf? Any particular story/experience you’d like to share on difficulties encountered as an Afrooptimist taking the road less travelled by…
Many a time we are faced by lack of food supplies to the children but somehow we get a breakthrough at the last minute. We do not have savings so we spend as we receive since food is a daily need and it’s a matter of death and life. The main challenge is seeing children we work with suffering and losing hope. Some lose the meaning of life since they feel its all about pain.
8. What is the next frontier for NDAf?
We got a donation of used carpentry tools so we plant to construct a workshop shelter to start offering training in woodworks. We also plan to start farming on large scale so we are able to be self sustainable as an organization.
9. What next for you in your personal life and path as an AfroOptimist Hannington?
I see huge needs every day of my life and I tell myself I need to do more whatever the case maybe. I want to acquire more knowledge in the area of social development and also venture into business.
10. What recommendation do you have for other young Africans offended by the daily tragedies in their countries, who want to take a stand but just do not know how to begin?
I say, nothing is impossible as long as you START on it. The major fear is to start something but once you start then you just keep going. Motivation should come from within oneself if you are to become successful in that you do.
11.Where do you see New Dawn in 5 years?
I see NDAF as one of the leading grass root non-profit that is self sustaining working in many areas.
Work of Passion: Hannington, NEW DAWN Africa founder, at work…