Master Andrew Ono-Langoya (L) shares a light moment with some members of Gulu Disabled Persons’ Union recently
“We had friends who were less privileged and were in need of scholastic materials, money for up keep like sugar and eats; and a group of eight of us decided to come together to help those in need by sharing what our parents would give us with them”.
GULU-UGANDA: Andrew Ono-Langoya was born on December 31, 1993 when I was already a correspondent for a Ugandan daily newspaper the Monitor Publications Limited. This young boy whom I saw growing up was born to a Kampala based business couple Mr. and Mrs. Dickson Council and Jane Bitek Langoya now runs a Non-Governmental Organization “Touch a Heart Today Ministries Uganda” (TAHT) which he started on September 12, 2012 to help needy school children and widows with the very basics of life.
A Law student at Uganda Christian University, Ono-Langoya says his passion to help vulnerable youths like needy students, orphans, widows and the disabled started when he was just nineteen at Our Lady of Africa Secondary School in Kampala. Ono-Langoya says he began to share with his friends who are not from well-to-do families what his parents would give him to support him with at school like scholastic materials, eats and money.
“We had friends who were less privileged and were in need of basic scholastic materials, money for up keep like sugar and eats; and a group of eight of us decided to come together to help them by sharing what our parents would give us with them”, says Ono-Langoya, during an interview recently.
Such assistance was not limited to material things, but they would conduct counseling sessions, share the word of God during fellowships and sing in churches.
Today, Touch a Heart Ministries Uganda, has over one hundred and fifty members who are scattered all over the four regions of Uganda i.e. north, east, west and central regions with a budget of UGX24545000/= (US$7283.17) for community outreaches in 2016.
It has a Facebook account; “touch a heart today ministries Uganda-THAT” for publicity.
As its Executive Director, Ono-Langoya says TAHT’s vision is to realize a Uganda society where there is equitable care of disadvantaged children, elderly and widows. Its mission shall be to achieve transformation of children through self-help initiatives, relief, giving all necessary assistance to orphans and needy children and widows.
The Project Manager of TAHT, Master Amos Akena, a student of Architecture at Kyambogo University, says the organization raises its funds through contribution from members were each member pays a membership fee of shs.20000/= per year with a monthly contribution of shs.5000/=. Executive members’ (cabinet’s) monthly contribution is shs.10000/= per month while selling the organization’s store which includes T-shirts and organizing talent shows and sports also contributes to the organization’s basket.
On August 7, 2016, TAHT visited Kaliro district in eastern Uganda and had fellowship with a group of 85 children and 35 widows as part of its outreach program during which they distributed used clothes to the group. On August 9, 2016, they were in Gulu district in northern Uganda where they played wheelchair basketball with members of the Gulu Disabled Persons’ Union.
However, in western Uganda and central region, THAT established mentoring clubs in some secondary schools in Rakai and Lyantonde in western Uganda and at Makerere Highway College and Kawempe Global College in central Uganda.
“Sometimes we are not able to raise enough money for our programs like transport by public means, feeding and accommodation and the second challenge is that some people are not well equipped with the attributes of a leader”, says Ono-Langoya.
Whereas Ono-Langoya diverts some of the money his parents gives him for upkeep to run TAHT activities, his Project Manager, Akena runs a construction firm in Gulu and uses some of his income from the business to sponsor him for TAHT activities.
At just 23 years Ono-Langoya describes himself as spontaneous, God- fearing, respectful, ambitious, and creative and fun loving with interests in sports like football, golf and swimming including making friends, singing and writing.
Elders like me can only wish him well in his dreams.