Who We Are

Our Founder and Director
Director Judi
Haven Gentry lived in Kenya for a year in the 1970's and says she must have left a part of her heart there. She has never forgotten her experience, helping to save the Rothschild giraffe from extinction and working closely with the Masai tribe there. She helped to send one of the Masai children to school.  Now living in California, she was recently moved by the plight of African orphans, especially in Uganda. Civil war and the AIDS epidemic have almost decimated an entire generation... the parents. This has left approximately 1.5 million orphans who must be cared for by either a grandmother or an older sister or brother. These households often have little or no income and the children have no way to raise money for either food or school fees. This dire situation has resulted in orphans who must go through the town or city dump, searching for scraps of food. The girl children are often molested sexually or forced to marry at a very young age to survive.

In spite of the encouraging fact that there are now hundreds of projects doing their best to help Uganda, the need is overwhelming. Judi decided to do her small part to help.  She founded Help Uganda Kids in 2009, and researched orphanages there that she would personally visit.  Paying her own travel expenses (and armed with the $2000. donations that she, her daughter, and her grandchildren had raised) she left on her "Fact-finding, do-SOMETHING! trip."  In her month-long journey, she visited three orphanages. One was the Message of Hope Home and Academy near iganga.
For part of the journey, she was joined by her daughter Christie and her grandson Jori, who at age 11, was determined to come to Africa too!  All three had an amazing time.

Because her funds were limited, she decided to choose one project to help first. On her trip there in 2010, she decided to "adopt" the Message of Hope Home and School, as she realized that the founder, Ugandan Isaac Ouma had not only a big heart... but a record of responsibility and accountability. Spending a week with the 35 wonderful children there, she assessed that they had the greatest immediate need.  While in Uganda, Judi registered Help Uganda Kids as a CBO or Community Based Organization. As of 2019, her organization has sponsored and enhanced two other Ugandan projects:
Asaph Aturinda's project Open Hearts and built a school and farming project in Sembabule, headed by Jackson Murungi.

She feels that her organization is unique in that it gives concerned people a way to know that every penny of their donation goes directly to the children, because she personally sees that it gets there and is used for the purpose intended. She found that when she donated to the large humanitarian organizations, she never really knew where her funds were gong. Now, when people donate to Help Uganda Kids, they receive photos of the children receiving food, shoes, clothes, and school books, directly provided by their donations. The children often write the donor letters of thanks.