Kisa Foundation USA
Kisa Blog
Rotary grant fuels Art Center expansion
Thanks to a generous grant from Richmond CA Rotary Club, the Children's Art Center is constructing a new addition that will double the space available for classes and workshops. Center Director James Nsamba is supervising the construction process.
Music from National Teachers' College, Mubende
Kisa Foundation helped to sponsor a student musical performance of "Kasolo Muje” at National Teachers' College Mubende, Uganda in March. "Kasolo Muje” is a squirrel and the music celebrates how cunning and active this animal is. The performers were teacher trainees working on their diplomas in education. The grant was used to bring some of the musicians from Kampala to Mubende to perform in the show. The audience included students from Mubende as well as faculty and students from other colleges. Prof. Moreen Kibuuka organized the performance and arranged the music which was a combination of Western popular music combined with Kiganda folk music.

See the Performance

Namungoona Children's Art Center is on TV
The Art Center was featured on Deal TV Africa in a half-hour interview with Center Director James Nsamba. Nsamba said that the Art Center has enriched the lives of thousands of children since it was founded in 2007.

Several students were also interviewed on the show, and their artwork was featured. Photo Cap: James Nsamba shows off children's artwork to Deal TV audience.

Watch Deal TV Interview

Mark Koire Comes Back to Teach At Art Center Where He Learned as a Child
By Emily Kembabazi

Mark Koire first started taking lessons at Namungoona Children’s Art Center at age 10 in 2012. Now he’s 21 and a second-year Bachelor of Industrial and Fine Art student at Makerere University. But he still comes back to the Art Center on a regular basis to teach art to a new generation of children.
“When I was in primary three,” he recalls, "Mr. James Nsamba and his team held an art program at our church. He invited all the children to come to the Center for free art lessons.
“James was kind to each of us and patiently explained what to do, which I appreciated. He inspired and motivated u. Instead of discouraging those who performed poorly, he showed us that the more practice we get, the better we'll get.
“My Mom encouraged me to attend the workshops because she saw James's commitment to using his talent to benefit the kids.”
Now, Mark makes substantial income from his graphic design business and his artwork. He designs and produces business cards, banners, stickers, printed t-shirts, paintings, cartoons, posters, and flower vases.
"I love art, and it is now my profession. I have started earning some money from my art pieces, which I use to top up what my mother gives me to pay for my tuition."
"If it weren't for James' artistic guidance and support, I never would have realized I could do art. I received a distinction two in fine art in high school as a result of that solid foundation. I am one of the top students in my class at the university. As a token of appreciation for James and the Namungoona Art Center, I made the decision to also begin teaching the young children at the center free of charge.”
Mark says his dream is to open an art studio in Bira town, where he now lives. "I know there will be a market for my artwork there,” he said. “In addition, many youngsters in the neighborhood are perpetually idle; therefore, I will provide free art lessons in the studio, Just like James and the other teachers did for me. And I’ll help kids develop their art skills and even earn some money by making art.”
New Workshops Held at Namungoona Art Center
A new series of classes started March 20 at Namungona Children’s Art Center. The free art training includes painting and drawing, and use of recycled materials to make sculptures and household items. One of the teachers is Mark Koire, a student at Makerere University, who started taking classes at the Center when he was 12 years old.

More photos

Kisa Primary School starts tailoring project
Text: Kisa Primary School is setting up tailoring classes for its students "To better prepare our kids for jobs when they leave school," according to school director Irene Kibuuka. The first sewing machine for the classes was purchased with a grant from Kisa Foundation USA.

In the photos:
1, Kisa School Tailoring instructor Grace Kaggwa measures Dan Nsamba for a new school uniform.
2, Kisa School director Edward Muguluma shows off the school's new sewing machine to an eager group of students.
Now there's clean water in Nansana Neighborhood
From Edward Muguluma
July 31, 2021

The local well in our neighborhood in Nansana near Kisa School was a mess. It was an open water source shared by both humans and animals such as cows and goats. It had been contaminated with the refuse and run off rain water. When families sent their children to draw water, they feared the kids could fall in and drown.

The well provides water for over two hundred households, three primary schools having four hundred children in total, a health center and two churches.

I carried out an education session for the community about Water Hygiene and Sanitation and we elected a water committee. Teachers from Kisa Primary School did a very good job in mobilizing community members to build a new concrete enclosure for the well.

Now we have access to a free, clean, safe and reliable water source which minimizes water borne illnesses and improves hygiene and sanitation.

More photos

Diego's family struggles against enormous odds
Recently, several friends of Kisa Foundation and Namungona Childrens Art Center donated $300 to help Diego Mweze, a 15 year old student at the center. Diego and his family are refugees from Congo, which they fled during civil war over 5 years ago. Amid the chaos and violence Diego’s parents became separated from 4 of their 7 children. They crossed the border into safety in Uganda with only 3 of their children, Diego, his sister Victor, now 17 and his brother Benjamin now 10.

Diego’s Mom, Doricus, described the horrific scene: “We decided to run away from Congo after seeing so many people killed and their houses burnt. While running with other groups of refugees, the other four children got lost from us. I and my husband managed to remain with these three because they were still young. He carried Benjamin on his back and held Diego`s hand while I held Victor`s hand. We couldn't stop to look for them because there were gun shots everywhere. I really don’t know whether my children are still alive or dead. But the information I have is that all our relatives including my siblings and parents were killed others were burnt in their houses into ashes.”

The family found housing in Namungona, but in 2017 Diego’s father died, leaving Doricus with full responsibility for the family. But Doricus suffers from diabetes and spinal injuries, and is unable to work or to buy medicines she needs. The donated funds are paying for medicines for Doricus, school fees for Diego and food including rice, beans, flour and oil.

James Nsamba, Director of the Children’s Art Center, says Diego is one of the most artistically talented kids he has ever encountered. He’s been appointed as an assistant teacher and says he loves helping other kids with their artwork. He hopes to make a career as an artist. Diego says, “I love art with all my life and all my feelings. I can’t live without art because when I’m painting or drawing I feel ok. I started coming to Namungona Childrens Art Center in 2015 and I began to learn painting, drawing and so many other skills. Uncle Jim (James Nsamba) is the one who teaches me everything that I know about art and I thank him for everything he does for me. I want to become known to the whole world as an artist and I want to teach art.”

Read the full interview with Diego and his family by Emily Kembabazi here.

Photo Caption: Diego, Ben, Doricus and Victor.

A family album

So, how does one make charcoal? No, really!
Did you know you can make your own charcoal? At Kisa Primary School in Nansana Uganda. students and teachers have been working together to make charcoal for their school kitchen, because firewood has become so expensive.

The briquettes are made with clay, powdered banana peelings and cassava flour. When lit, they provide plenty of heat for cooking. Uganda adopted very strict quarantine rules to fight the corona virus. As a result they've had only 2 deaths, but the economy has come to a stand-still. Prices have skyrocketed, and many staples including firewood have become scarce. Thus, making your own charcoal looks like a good idea.

In the photos are: students Wasswa Deogratious, Nakakande Aidah, Namukwaya Pauline and Galabuzi Enock; with Irene Kibuuka, school director, head teacher Muguluma Edward and teacher Grace Kibuuka.
Kisa Old Boy Donates Sewing Machines
By Edward Muguluma

Mr. Masinga, one of our old students, last week surprised us with a donation of four sewing machines. He said he wanted to help our school because, "If it wasn't for Kisa Primary School giving me a scholarship for several years, I would never have been able to continue my education and become a successful businessman." He said he is inspired by our efforts to continue helping those in need, and he gave us the sewing machines to help equip our learners with practical skills which can help them in future. We are so grateful indeed. We will be holding sewing and tailoring classes for selected students during the school holidays.
A Primer on Luganda
Luganda (Oluganda) Luganda, or Ganda, is a member of the Bantu branch of Niger-Congo languages. It is spoken by about 3 million Baganda people, who live mainly in the Buganda region in southern Uganda. Luganda is also widely used elsewhere in Uganda as a second language. The name Uganda is the Swahili version of Baganda.

You might find it useful to keep the following brief phrasebook link in your phone or computer if you plan to travel in the region. (If you follow Spanish or Italian pronunciation you will be close.)

Try it out!

Donations spur construction and repairs to Kisa School
Students and teachers have been busy throughout January in painting and repairing classroom buildings around the Kisa Primary School campus. See more pictures in the gallery.
Christmas at Kisa Primary School
Alvin Mukwaya shows off the Christmas tree he made. Alvin is in Primary 4.
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