What Bono Taught Me About HIV/AIDS and Justice (World AIDS Day)

Beth Heckel 2010
What Bono Taught Me About HIV/AIDS and Justice
In 2006 I had the opportunity to attend a Global Leadership Summit that was hosted by the Willow Creek Association. Bill Hybels, founding pastor at Willow Creek Community Church interviewed Bono. Bono, an Irish rockstar? This combination seemed interestingly odd yet ended up being a life-changing experience for me, an eye-opener to poverty and the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
He commented on how the church had been inexcusably late to the game at fighting poverty and treatable diseases, adding that people are judgmental about the AIDS virus. Bono gave an example: If you came up to a car accident and the injured driver was drunk, do you help him or judge him and let him die? No, we must act!
Bono said, “Love thy neighbor is not advice. It’s a command. In a global community, the poor and the disadvantaged in Africa are our neighbors.” He quoted Matthew 25:45: “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
He added, “Our purpose is to bring Heaven to Earth. The world is not a happy place for most people living on it.” Bono wrapped it up with this statement:
“Your charity is important, but your passion for justice is needed. I’m asking for your voice and for you to give permission to fix these problems that are fixable. It’s not a burden, it’s an opportunity…it’s an adventure.”
Within a year, Think Humanity became a nonprofit organization, and our adventure began!
Enjoy this day of remembrance and awareness, but know that beyond this day, any hope for a better world is to work towards compassion, love, and fairness for all people regardless of where they live, what they do and who they are. – Beth Heckel, Think Humanity Founder
You ARE your brother’s keeper and “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo was taken in Kyangwali Refugee Camp during a day of hope for HIV/AIDS sufferers. in 2010

To all who remember the mother who passed away from pneumonia just two weeks after giving birth to twins (Joseph and Lucy), here is an update.

As promised we were going to use the balance to go back and give the babies more milk, diapers, clothing, soap and whatever they needed. Dr. Herbert shopped for them and brought them the much needed items.

We give special thanks to Emmanuel and Carolyn Songsore who helped with the remaining amount needed this time and in addition they donated to the grandmother who is raising the children. We thank the following who have made this possible from their donations last November and now. Donnie Gladfelter, Pam Howard, Brenda Oman, Barb Johnston, and Emmanuel and Carolyn Songsore (as mentioned above).

There is a thank you letter from the family. Enjoy the photos, smiles and thank you all for your loving care for these babies. Below is Joseph and Lucy. The second photo is the father Deo, twins, grandmother and Think Humanity Dr. Herbert.

The month is almost over, and I keep thinking…when will I share a story on human trafficking. I cannot put
it off much longer.
Our human trafficking experiences might be a little different than what normally comes to mind. Sadly, in
what we see, it is usually done by the parent or caregiver. Unfortunately, extreme poverty causes people
to do desperate things.
I remember several years ago when a 17-year-old girl named Annet came to us for help. Her father had
already forced her older sisters into early marriage. When I say, “forced marriage” I mean to exchange her
for something of value for basic needs. For example, a goat or a cow. Older men who have something of
value are the ones who can afford to purchase these young girls.
Annet’s mother refused for her youngest daughter to be married. Her husband beat her and left them
We brought Annet to the Think Humanity Girl’s Hostel where three years later she graduated from
Advanced Level.
Another example was an 8-year-old girl named Floridah. Floridah was sent to Hoima to work for a woman
as her house girl (child-servant). One of our managers heard about her and went to the woman of the
house and asked her if Floridah could attend school. She agreed after a payment. We put her in boarding
at a primary school. When the mother finally realized that she was no longer getting paid by the woman
where Floridah was supposed to be working, she demanded her daughter back. We tried everything we
could however we failed. We knew that this mother would find a new home for Floridah to work as a
house girl. The child was a good student, but this was where her opportunity ended. We had even involved
the police, but we were devastated to lose Floridah.
We recently had another situation during the Covid-19 pandemic and succeeded to convince the caregiver
to let the girl attend school once it opens. We donated food to the family, which also helped. It can be a
struggle even in 2021, but we believe these cases will seize once the parents and caregivers can see the
benefits of girl education. This is why we hold parent meetings and have regular parent-days at the Think
Humanity Girls’ Hostel. We also educate the parents and guardians.
Over the years we have seen this happen, mostly we have succeeded in convincing the parent to allow
their daughter to finish their education. You can weigh the differences. A goat for $15 or a daughter who
is educated and can earn a living to help herself and her family. Education is something you cannot take
Thank you to all who are a part of what we do. To learn more about the benefits of girl education visit

This is how we found Floridah at age 8 in 2015 when she was a house girl.
Floridah was with us until 2017.
Annet in 2014 was thin and not a happy girl
Annet is shown in her Advanced Level 2016 and she graduated in 2017.

These were just a few examples of the benefits for girls when they are educated. They will end the cycle
of poverty, get married at a later age, have less children, their children will go to school, and they will give
back to their communities. This is how to end forced marriages and child labor. Through education.

Dr. Herbert, Think Humanity Health Center Kyangwali’s doctor, recently lost his sister. His sister had spent two weeks in the hospital with pneumonia before passing away. She had just delivered twin babies. He requested if we could do anything to help this family in the care of the babies. We posted a request for help with a list of items needed.

This is the grandmother with the twin babies. This was right after the babies’ mother had passed away from pneumonia.

Immediately we received several people who wanted to help this family. On November 20th the donations were sent to Uganda and on Thanksgiving day (in USA) the family with the twin babies was helped. The report is as follows:

Think Humanity Education manager received shillings on 21st November 2020 to help the Kagadi twins. The following gives the details regarding the allocation of money during the purchase of items to make sure they are helped.
The Kagadi twins (boy and girl) are babies whose mother died after two weeks leaving them with their grandmother. The babies are now three months old and Think Humanity came in to extend help by giving them milk (207 liters), clothes (two packs of baby receivers, two baby shawls, six sheets), diapers (four packs), washing soap (four bars) and powder (two tins), feeding bottles and flask (three litres), and gift pack to help these babies grow well since their immediate mother passed away.

On November 26th, 2020 when help arrived

The twin babies were allocated 3 large tins of powdered milk (285,000 shillings), however due to challenges that come with abrupt changes of babies from breast feeding, to cow’s milk, we realized it will not be good to change the babies from cows fresh milk to powdered milk. According to consultation done, most mothers told us that it is not good to feed babies on powered milk more especially when they are below 6 months. According to these mothers, powdered milk tends to have preservatives, lack of freshness, and difficulty of mixing the solid particles to complete milk. They add on to say that, during the mixing, some caretakers leave solid milk particles undissolved and all these lead to constipation and other digestion related problems to babies. In addition, the powdered milk tends to be consumed very fast, hence costly compared to cow’s fresh milk supply.

Given such reasons, we decided to order cow’s fresh milk as means to mitigate the above challenges. According to Doctor Herbert-the uncle to the twins, a liter of milk costs 1,400 Uganda shillings in Kagadi and the twins consume 3 litres of milk daily. The family was given 290,000 which will supply the twin babies 207 litres of milk for 69 days (approximately 2 months and 9 days). Since the babies are growing, their consumption rate is expected to increase, and we shall be getting updates from Dr. Herbert.

Two packs of baby shawls (receiving blankets) were also gifted to the twin babies. These shawls will help keep the babies warm especially during cold days and wrapping up after a bath and when they are taking them on short trips such as immunization, medical checks to mention.

One pack containing 6 baby sheets was also gifted to the babies. These sheets can be used to fit baby cribs, wrap the babies especially during hot sunny days to give a light protective cover and many other uses as they grow.

The twins were gifted with one cussions brand gift pack containing bathing soap, powder, moisturizing lotion, baby wash, shampoo, jelly (lotion), baby oil (body and hair),  and glycerin.  We also bought a three litre flask to help keep enough babies’ milk warm and safer for drinking. Non-breakable flask was considered the best option to ensure durability compared to these other metallic flasks that easily break in case it accidently falls. We also purchased a pack of feeding bottles (baby bank) with 2 bottles, 2 cups, 2 baby plates, bottle washes and ear pads. In total it has 8 pieces where the bottles are to be used while they are young; cups and plates to be used when they start eating and drinking by themselves especially at 6 months and above.

The twins also received four packs of diapers- new best quality on the market that keep babies dry preventing them from burning and heat rashes. Each pack contains 40 diapers and in total they received 160 diapers.  We also bought four bars of large white star soap and two large tins of magic washing powder to help in laundry. 

Due to bargaining power and price discounts we were able to get a balance of 90,000 thousand shillings only that enabled us to add the babies the following items. Dozen of baby stockings (12 pairs) at 20,000 to keep the babies’ feet warm. Each baby is expected to take 6 pairs. We also purchased two baby caps/hats each at 5,000 to add on the ones that come within the baby receivers making each baby own at least two pairs of caps.   Two packs of baby wipes each at 15,000 for cleaning babies bottom during diaper changes, wiping the babies face and hands to mention. Three litre Fabric softener (Fabric conditioner) at 30,000 that helps to keep the baby cloth fibers smooth so that clothes feel gentle to the touch. Apart from keeping clothes soft and fussy, it also saves drying time for the wash load, reduces wear and tear of clothes, and enhances breathability of clothes and caring for the color of clothes. Given such advantages it was recommended to include these items on the twins’ list.

The uncle and grandmother were so grateful for everything that was received.

Thank you Emmanuel Songsore, Donnie Gladfelter, Barbara Johnston, Pam Howard and Brenda Oman for all your help to see that these babies were helped after the passing of their mother.

We are grateful to the donors who came forward to help this family during their time of need.

Our student, Natasha and her family have been through a devastating time. Their home was demolished in Bukinda, a village within the Kyangwali Refugee Camp in Uganda.

The story is complicated. Many Ugandan families were living in Kyangwali Refugee Camp. The land had been given from the government to the UNHCR for refugees. There are thousands of new refugees coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the camp now has more than 120,000 people. When we first began coming to Kyangwali, there were around 19,000 refugees. The Ugandan families in Bukinda were all evicted, but sadly it was done in a violent manner. Homes were destroyed and unfortunately people were killed. (according to an article from an eyewitness -see below at bottom of page.)
The good news is, they were so fortunate. Natasha’s sponsor has paid to help move her family outside of the refugee camp and paid for six months’ rent as well as donated toward food.They will soon have a new start to life.
The first photo is their destroyed home, the second is showing their kitchen destroyed, third moving and lastly, the food.

natasha family

father of Natasha on empty land

Natasha's famly in moving truck

Natasha with all the food donated

Once they were moved the family was so grateful to the sponsor of Natasha, Larry and Mary Hereford. Below shows the family of eleven in their new locations. Natasha is one of our top students at the Think Humanity Girls’ Hostel in Hoima. We hope that school resumes soon.

natash fam moved

We are not able to help all Think Humanity students with emergencies, but we are so grateful to her sponsor for helping them in this case.

This is a happy ending to a terrible situation.



By; *Kyomugisa Frankline*

Land grabbing is no longer something new in Uganda. For many years now, many people have been forcefully removed from their land. Some compensated and others left in the middle of nowhere with nothing. Families have been displaced and abandoned, children have dropped out of school leading to early marriages, people have committed suicide and others have been beaten and killed in the process.

This week has been another week of cries, bloodshed, death and lamentations from the local communities of Bukinda, Kyangwali sub-county in Kikuube district western Uganda- a new district, and it should as well be known that Bukinda comprises of 28 villages.

It is a tough week, since the second Eviction merged after the visit of Minister Moses Ali in Kyangwali.

It’s on record that he called for a meeting at Kasonga, Kyangwali Refugee Camp that aimed at giving and implementing new orders on the second eviction on the people (nationals) in Bukinda.

After the order, the week has been one of tears, bloodshed and death since many people have been arrested by security organs and toured, others over five by now have been killed in cold blood as others are nursing wounds in nearby hospitals of Ngurwe, Kituti health center 4.

Houses have been demolished, properties destroyed, gardens put on fire as others have no more access to their gardens even when their children and themselves are starving.

The communities have resorted to killing each other since the land demarcation/serving isn’t proper and transparent.

This report includes children who lost their parents and those who were abandoned by their parents for so long and live a desperate-lonely life. Some of these children risk their lives daily in a bid to help themselves and others depend totally on their neighbors who afterwards subjugate and impose heavy works on them. Some of these children have benefited from Think Humanity with past relief food that has been distributed. As we could not find most of the children in their homes, we talked to them from where we found them. Some are so young and couldn’t speak a word.

Below are photos and summarized stories of the children we were able to find.

Balikagira Chance, 8 and Faith Namagembe, 13 were born from Kasambya. They shared the same mother, but different fathers. Their mother passed away in 2018 with breast cancer. The father of Faith died in a fatal link-bus accident occurred in Kiboga as he was traveling to Kampala. The father of Chance has never been seen since April 2019. Faith takes care of her brother.

Chance and Faith. We had given them some soap.

Tusabe Robert and Treva Byamukama, also known also as the Agasti boys. They are the two young brothers living in Kasambya village without parents. They were part of the beneficiaries of Think Humanity food support last July. I learned that the Agasti boys grew without a mother. They only knew their father who also left them last March this year and has never communicated to them. The Agasti boys have never been to school before but they have hope to get their education. Tusabe is older than Trevor. Tusabe cooks food and Trevor fetches the water.

Tusabe Robert and Trevor Byamukama (Agasti boys)

Catherine Mercy said, “My Dad died in 2014. He was bewitched by his brothers due to disputes over land issues. Later my mother shifted to this location. When we reached here she married another man. When he realized that my mom was pregnant he ran away. When the child was born our mom lost her life due to pre-eclampsia. The younger child, Priscilla had grown from the Catholic Church. Last year however, they brought her to me. I am in primary 7 class in Kikonda Primary School, a government aided school.”

Mercy is 13 years old and Priscilla is 4 years old. Below was a visit where we brought them soap. (Last June a man broke into their home and forced himself on Mercy. She screamed for help and he is now in jail, however the experience was terrible for such a young girl.)

Mercy 13 and Priscilla 4.

Samson Dagalaus benefited from Think Humanity food support on July 24th. Dagalaus used to live with his father, but the father went to an unknown location up to now. Dagalaus told me he has not finished the food we gave him. He has never been to school and he doubts whether he will have that opportunity. ( we are in the process of getting more information on this child. He also goes by Kiiza Soul. His father may have just returned but with another wife.

Samson Dagalaus (Douglas?) or Kiiza Soul

Arinda Joseph is now one and half year old and his sister, Kajungu Sarah is almost three years old. They were orphaned after their mother, Kebirungi Goreti succumbed during Arinda’s birth. No one knows the story related to their father. Right after death, a widow whose name is Kalekwa Florah volunteered to keep these young children in spite of her resource limitations. We do not know how long she can do this.


Arinda 1 1/2 and Sarah almost 3


Katerega Moses is a 10 years old boy living alone in a seemingly old grass-thatched house. He fetches water for people to make a living. Moses’ mother became sick in August 2017 and was taken to a nearby hospital. After two weeks she passed away. The chairman and the surrounding neighbors told me they have never seen Moses’ father. Moses couldn’t understand what I needed from him. He kept trembling in horror until I left him.

Moses age 10


Below is Kiiza Fred. During this visit he would not speak. We will get more information soon.

This child also cried after the photo. We will try our best to get information without scary the children.


Olando Sharon and Lwalamba Deborah are siblings with ages 14 and 8 years old. They are seen below with soap donated by Think Humanity.

Olando Sharon male 14 and Lwalamba Deborah 8.

Namumpa Peace is two years old and was found with her two nephews while their guardian had gone to the nearby center to find ways of making both ends meet. Peace is still too young and almost cried when we tried talking to her.



Joan is three years old. We will get more information on her life soon.

Joan age 3.

The area chairman had a list of more than 20 children. A few of the children failed to talk to us. The chairman said they were either scared or had an inferiority complex. Two young girls and one young boy (each living apart) of between 7 to 10 years shed tears instead of talking to us and they are not therefore included in this document.
Finally, I would like to thank Think Humanity directors, donors and managers for the continuous efforts to improve the lives of many people in different places of Uganda. God bless you.
I am proud to volunteer with Think Humanity.
Wilson Katima, Think Humanity volunteer.


“This is Kabatembuzi Yosinta . She is a single mother who stays with her son Ismail. The smile, laughter shows it all. They were so happy for 10kg of rice, 10kgs of maize flour and 10kg of beans offered to them by Think Humanity. They asked me to convey their sincere thanks to all that helped give them food relief,” – Alinaitwe Herbert Akiiki, TH Clinic Officer

This is Nyamumbubi Nyansiano of Nyamyehebo Village in Kyangwali sub-county. She is an elderly woman who stays with her three grandchildren.

Dr. Herbert said, “When I reached the home, one of the children came running up thanking us for bringing them food. They were so happy and grateful to Think Humanity donors for their generosity and for thinking about them in the hardest of times.”

Nyamumbubi Nyansiano from Nyamyehebo village Kwali sub


Charity in Hoima
“I did not know what to do next,” said Charity
We found Charity Alituha seated at the entrance of her one roomed rented house.
Sitting next to her was her 6- year old girl and her 3-year old boy.
When Government announced a lockdown, her business came to a standstill. She used to vend porridge in selected business premises.
“When Government announced a lockdown, even my customers stopped working. I had nowhere to sell my porridge,” Charity said.
Amidst uncertainty, she started feeding herself and her children on the porridge which was formerly her capital. But the capital did not last long before it was finished.
The single parent was left perplexed.
“I did not know what next. I did not have food or money to buy it. This (food) is a big relief for me. God has used you to give me life,” she said.
Written by Francis Mugerwa, Journalist and volunteer for Think Humanity

Marion Nyandera

When the Ugandan government announced a lockdown in March this year, it took Marion Nyandera by surprise.

The mother of three lives in her one-roomed rented house in Hoima town in western Uganda. She did not anticipate that the Presidential announcement on a national TV would have far reaching impacts on her livelihood.

On March 18th, President Museveni announced a lockdown of the Ugandan borders and limited various economic activities as some of the preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID 19. The president barred vending of food and retail trade. Even when he lifted a lid on selected sectors on 4th May, retail trade remained barred.

Marion Nyandera who used to sell porridge before the lockdown was left without a source of livelihood. To-date, she remains unemployed and she lacks any stable source of food.

“The lockdown was announced when we had not stocked enough food. We ate the little food we had and by last week it was done,” said Marion.

Since then, her family was surviving on sourcing for vegetables from the wilderness in her neighborhood.

“This food has restored my home and livelihood which were uncertain,” she said. She is married to a primary school teacher who used to earn a living at a private primary school.

But all schools were closed in March as one of the precautions to fight the COVID 19 pandemic. But the Ugandan government has not announced an exact date of re-opening the schools.

Amidst such uncertainty, Marion breastfeeds a three-month old baby boy yet she is uncertain of whether she will get her next meal.

She says the donation of food from Think Humanity will guarantee the livelihood of her baby and family.

Written by Francis Mugerwa, journalist/volunteer for Think Humanity