Sunrise House: Uganda Childrens Fund
THE VISION: Sunrise House is a home for middle school-aged children in Fort Portal, which is in western Uganda. These are children who have lost their parents due primarily to the AIDS epidemic, but also due to other causes. There is a tremendous need for safe places for these orphans to live and be able to receive an education.
HISTORY: The idea for Sunrise House was begun in 2000 when Sam Crump initiated the effort as a project of the Rotary Club of Sebastopol- Sunrise, California. He established contact with a long-time family friend, retired Anglican Bishop Eustace Kamanyire, who suggested the project. That year Sam traveled to Fort Portal with fellow club member, David Brennan. A 1500sf house on two acres just across from a 600-student girls’ school was identified as a good site for Sunrise House.
PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: The Rotary Club of Sebastopol- Sunrise partnered with the Rotary Club of Kabarole in Fort Portal in order to work jointly on the project. The oversight is being provided by Bishop Kamanyire’s non-profit organization called the Rwenzori Community Service & Development Project. Now a third club, the Rotary Club of Anthem, Arizona is joining the effort to establish Sunrise House.
FUNDING: In 2001, a donation of $14,000 was received from Sebastopol residents Chris & Elena Eich in order to purchase the Fort Portal house. Title is held by the Rwenzori Community organization. Since then the Sebastopol-Sunrise Rotary Club has donated over $8,000 and the Anthem Rotary Club has donated $2,500 for renovation work on the house.
A Rotary International (RI) matching grant was secured by the Sebastopol- Sunrise Club and Rotary District 5130, with each of them contributing $5,000. The grant total is $20,000 and those funds are now being used for items such as school tuition, uniforms, books, furniture, etc.
THE FUTURE: After several years of work Sunrise House is now open and children are moving in. They will be able to grow much of their own food on the property. But ongoing help will be needed annually for the upkeep and support of the home and the children. It is hoped this will create long-lasting relationships between the project participants and the many residents of Sunrise House in the years to come. The Anthem Rotary Foundation has been created to accept tax-deductible donations of funds, which can be specifically designated for Sunrise House.