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The Ssubi Foundation’s first foray occurred in an Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camp in Gulu, Northern Uganda where the populous has survived a 20-year civil war. Philip and Dusman were moved by the stories of many of the school-aged children.
With assistance from Mrs. Openy, an IDP camp school headmistress and local leader in the community, three children were selected for educational sponsorship. Selection was based on the financial need and potential of the students to continue with secondary school. After choosing these children, The Ssubi Foundation Directors were struck by the poor conditions many of them experienced at home. With this in mind, The Ssubi Foundation Directors decided to develop a micro-financing component to the overall program, where small loans would be provided to the parents or caregivers of the supported children. The hope was that it would provide an opportunity to improve conditions at home and in a small way assist the local economy. As these programs were developing, the vastness of the need for assistance throughout the entire community also became apparent. But how could The Ssubi Foundation, a small Canadian-based foundation assist a greater number of people and make a difference? Through conversations with local leaders, The Ssubi Foundation developed a school and support program where financial assistance to the existing school system would also be provided. And so it was through this process that The Ssubi Foundation developed financial assistance programs in three integrated areas:
Although The Ssubi Foundation started to work in Northern Uganda, underprivileged children could be found anywhere in Uganda, including the capital city of Kampala. Therefore, the Directors of The Ssubi Foundation decided to continue working in Northern Uganda but to also expand to include projects in other parts of the country.