Hello. I am Rev. Fr. Robert S. Aliunzi, a Ugandan native but recently naturalized as an American citizen. I am also a missionary priest currently serving as Pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle in Chandler, Arizona and served for 8 years as the Dean of the Northwest Deanery in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.
I’m so excited to have the opportunity to introduce you to E3 Africa, an organization committed to educating the orphaned, impoverished and often forgotten of Christ’s children.
In a country that has a history of poverty and rural devastation, I am excited that hundreds of Ugandan students are now finding their lives transformed through education provided by the loving sponsors of E3 Africa. There was a time when these students would never have dared to dream of a life beyond subsistence, but through the educational opportunities provided to them by E3 Africa sponsors, they now plan productive futures and ways in which to contribute toward the economic transformation of their own communities.
E3 Africa was conceived and born out of my personal life experiences. Born into a family of ten children, we lost our father when I was five years old and my mother a year later. My oldest teenage brother became head of the family and eventually found a way to send me on to school. But the most productive and sensitive stages of my youth were marred by hunger, sickness, fear, threats to my life, expulsion from school and extreme isolation. These experiences created a profound sense of loss that haunted me for many years.
Reflecting back, I came to realize that these experiences were really blessings from God that had taught me about compassion, love and understanding. Had it not been for the intervention of many kind people along the way, I would never have been able to finish my seminary training or go into the priesthood. My childhood experiences shaped my adult world and created a passion for helping other orphans. They helped to define my priesthood in no small way and “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that, you do unto me” (Mt.25:40), became my inspiration.
In gratitude, I began paying the school fees and living expenses of other Ugandan orphans who were so similar to me. In 2004, I was assigned by my religious order to the United States. I began my training at Saint Thomas Aquinas parish in Avondale, Arizona and then went on to St. James parish in Glendale as pastor. Rosalie Weller and I established EENU with the support of the parishioners of St. James. EENU became an official outreach ministry of St. James parish and a registered NGO in Uganda in 2005. A year later, under the advice of Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, the organization became a registered (501c3) non-profit organization called EENU-USA, Inc. In 2013, we renamed our organization E3 Africa to reflect our mission of Educating, Enriching and Empowering our students in Uganda.
From its inception, the goal of E3 Africa has been to provide educational opportunities for secondary students through funding and sponsorship. Today we have hundreds of children’s education being sponsored by some amazing people, with more children on the waiting list for this same incredible opportunity.
E3 Africa also has a Board of Directors in Kampala. Joseph Ambayo, our Ugandan Executive Director, manages the ground operations after years of volunteering his time to E3 Africa. As a former secondary school teacher and school administrator, Joseph has a solid understanding of the Ugandan educational system, teen psychology and behavioral attitudes.
Joseph has developed a solid relationship with the personnel of the schools that E3 Africa students attend. He has developed career guidance and counseling seminars for the students and their guardians. He monitors the progress and behavior of each student through personal visits to their respective schools. The focus of E3 Africa is to develop educated, psychologically healthy young adults, capable of becoming productive citizens and leaders of Uganda. By bringing the students together, they are learning to deal with their differences. They are learning to appreciate that they are all “one people” who can live peacefully together through Joseph’s promotion of the “E3 Africa Family”. This vision is particularly crucial because most of these students are orphans who are the product of years of conflict arising from tribal, ethnic and religious issues.
Having experienced the loss of parents, siblings and other family members, these students often experience issues of abandonment. By building an E3 Africa family, we help our students to develop an identity, self-awareness and self-confidence; they now belong. This attitude is much appreciated by the educators of the students as being a uniquely E3 Africa outlook and is credited with helping our E3 Africa students achieve a 98% success rate in being promoted to the next educational level.
Donations are vital in supporting our operational expenses and are critical to our continued success. Student sponsorship is vital to our ability to educate poorer, rural Ugandan teens. We are always interested in joining up with persons with interest in education, business and international affairs to work with us on our Board of Directors and Sponsorship, School Construction, Fundraising, Finance, Communications and Board Development committees. I share our successes, hopes and dreams with you in anticipation that you will be inspired to join us in the warm glow of satisfaction that one receives from helping those so much less fortunate. We encourage you to learn more about us by exploring our website.