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 with lion conservation projects there. Then in 2009, she learned about 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 2 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. Often, no family members are available to take these orphans in, so they are destined to live a desperate, hungry life on the street. This dire situation has resulted in orphans who must go through the city dumps, searching for scraps of food. The girl children are often molested sexually or forced to marry at a very young age, just 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. On her first trip to Uganda, she was joined by her daughter Christie and her grandson Jori who was then just eleven. In that month-long journey, they visited several small village orphanages who had little support. But in spite of the poverty, the children welcomed the visitors with warmth and joy. The open-hearted welcome they received from the Ugandan people was deeply moving.
While in Uganda, Judi registered Help Uganda Kids as a CBO or Community Based Organization. As of 2023, her organization has helped three villages to care for their orphans and impoverished families and has built three village schools. In addition, the organization has brought clean water to several villages and has helped with supplies during serious drought times.
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. 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, which have been directly provided by their donations. The children often write letters of thanks to the donors.