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The Friends of Ruwenzori is an American non-profit dedicated to raising funds for the Kitojo Integrated Development Association (KIDA). It is a grassroots organization that uses an integrated approach to arrest and reverse the vicious cycle of HIV/AIDS and poverty in southwest Uganda. KIDA emphasizes personal responsibility and education with programs that include:
- HIV prevention & testing
- Better nutrition and hygiene practices to avoid infections
- Access to Anti-Retrovirals & antibiotics to treat opportunistic infections
- Educational funds for children orphaned by AIDS
- Vocational training
- Sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation
- Literacy training
KIDA is a registered NGO, certified by the government of Uganda as a non-profit organization. The Friends of Ruwenzori has 501c3 (non-profit) status from the IRS.KIDA is a registered NGO, certified by the government of Uganda as a non-profit organization.
The Friends of Ruwenzori was founded by Karen & Gil Gleason of Orinda, California. While visiting Uganda in 2001 and 2003, they became acquainted with The Reverend Ezra Musobozi and his wife, Marjorie, founders of KIDA.
The Kitojo Integrated Development Association (KIDA) was started by Ezra and Marjorie. They mobilized the surrounding community to take a leap of faith in 2000. Volunteers created over 40,000 mud bricks and, in 2003, used them to build a four-room clinic. No one knew where they would get the money for a roof or stucco to protect the mud bricks from the rain, nor did they know how they would fund voluntary counseling and testing. They only knew that it wouldn't happen unless they took the first step.
Inspired by Ezra and Marjorie's vision and commitment, Karen & Gil started the Friends of Ruwenzori Foundation. It was recognized by the IRS as a not-for-profit organization and gained 501c3 status in 2004. Donations have grown steadily, from $11,000 in 2004 to $54,000 in 2006. Our goal for 2007 is $55,000.
KIDA has grown commensurately, and recently became the only rural clinic providing access to Anti-Retroviral therapy for people living in the area. Thanks to solar electricity panels funded by The Friends of Ruwenzori, KIDA is also able to offer antibiotics as treatment for opportunistic infections. Access to this medical care makes it possible for more HIV+ mothers and fathers to survive long enough to raise their children.
The Friends of Ruwenzori has raised funds via individual contributions and a Fall Event. The organization is composed of volunteers, and aims to keep operating expenses at a minimum. Thus far, the gift from Karen & Gil has been more than enough to cover all costs, making it possible for all other donations to go entirely to Uganda. The majority of our supporters are in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we are looking to expand.
- Martha Baker
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