This is the story of Rev Robert Mugume, a leader with a vision to transform lives and his local community.
Robert (50) is the Regional Bishop for Ibanda with the Full Gospel Churches of Uganda, a pentecostal denomination. He grew up in the village of Birongo III in Ishongororo and married Mrs Jolly Nabasa Mugame. They have five children and two adopted children. He began serving as a pastor in 2001. While Robert was studying Theology at Glad Tidings Bible College he was inspired to work for the development of children. He developed a vision to start a school in his local community where children could have a quality education. He says his vision is to raise children holistically by supporting their physical, spiritual and educational development. In 2005 his vision became a reality when he started Birongo Primary School with 120 pupils. He connected with Fields of Life to assist with the construction of the school and today the school has grown to 530 pupils. As the partnership with donors from Northern Ireland continued a new vision developed to start a school in Ryamugwizi. This vision also became a reality.
Ryamugwizi Primary School is the school supported by the REAP Project that I’m visiting this week. It now has 310 pupils.
In partnership with Fields of Life and donors from Northern Ireland Robert has also established two primary schools in the neighbouring district of Kiruhura; Ulster Farmers & El Shaddai. Projects have been supported to drill boreholes and protect natural wells in the school communities (see yesterday’s blog) to ensure the community has clean water so that children remain healthy to attend school.
‘As a leader,’ says the Bishop, ‘I feel proud and thankful for the partners and donors from Northern Ireland.’
In the Birongo school they have built dormitories for children to enhance their access to education. Fields of Life has also gifted livestock and sewing machines to parents to enable them to generate income so that they can earn money to pay for their children’s education themselves.
‘I’m seeing the vision I had in 2001 now become a reality’, says Robert, ‘Lives and communities are being transformed.’
When I ask Robert how it feels to see his vision become a reality he smiles and says, ‘I thank God. I’ve seen transformation in the lives of the orphans and vulnerable children we are supporting.’
Robert is delighted to see children from the schools now becoming teachers, nurses and students at university.
Of course visionary leaders like Robert Mugume do not stop when one vision becomes a reality, so I ask him about his latest vision for the future. He does not hesitate to respond. He wants to see the children from the schools become successful in life. He wants them to aspire to be doctors, engineers, lawyers and bishops.
He has a vision for a secondary school in the region with the same ethos. He also wants to establish a vocational school for young people who cannot go to university so that they can gain practical skills for work. In addition Robert wants to establish income generating projects, such as businesses and farming, so that each school will raise funds to sustain itself and Robert’s vision will be secured for the future.
I have no doubt that this determined leader will see his vision sustained. Once again on my visit to Uganda I am inspired by hearing the story of a visionary leader creating hope and transformation in his local community.