Wayland man dedicates himself to Uganda’s future – one schoolhouse at a time

Posted April 13, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Charity ~ 3,462 views


By Herb Woerpel | MLIVE | If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of this world. Living in Uganda, Ryan Kaminski experiences this reality every day, firsthand.

While studying at Grand Valley State University, Kaminski, a class of 2007 Wayland Union graduate, traveled to Uganda to volunteer at an orphanage. Images of the poverty stricken nation stung dearly, and he returned to the U.S. knowing he had to step up and make a difference.

Back in the U.S. and working at the Byron Center Family Fare, Kaminski, 22, accepted a third-shift job as well, and banked all his earnings. Visiting area churches, he spoke with passion, hoping to alert people of the conditions, in hopes of raising funds to support his mission.

Following his initial visit, he returned to Uganda several times. On his fourth visit, he purchased 10 acres of land and set a goal of building educational facilities on his property.

He then sold all his belongings, bringing his fundraising total to $20,000, dropped out of school, and moved to Uganda in January.

He is now in the process of building a schoolhouse and orphanage in Ssempya, Uganda.

“I have a dream to help these children. I have many days that I think about leaving because life is very difficult here; I feel it’s impossible to accomplish this dream,” said Kaminski, in a blog update. “Then I see these children, countless children, wandering the streets. I look in their eyes, I can see their helpless souls, I can see that they are struggling for a better life. My heart and soul then connects with them and that’s what makes me push on. It builds a fire in my heart.”

Kaminski plans to call his school the “Rising Star Junior Academy.” He has two rooms nearly complete.
Hhe hopes to finish a seven-room schoolhouse no later than this fall, but a lack of funds has threatened his progress.

“I don’t have enough funds to finish the classrooms. I have $3,000, but I need an additional $6,500 to complete them,” he said. “To finish these classrooms is essential for my school to open by February 2012. I’ll need a total of seven classrooms built by October 2011, or the government can refuse to register my school and it may not open.”

With no electricity or running water, Kaminski communicates with friends and family when he can, through a solar panel powered computer. He shares monthly blog updates on his website, and on social media sites like Facebook and Skype.

“He writes us every now and then, and he has a blog on his website, but as far as phone conversations, no, we don’t talk very often because the cost is so high,” said mother, Diane Whitcomb. “This was his calling and we support him 100 percent. It truly is amazing.”

Kaminski’s aunt, Deb Boniface, also admires her nephew’s drive and determination.

“He is only 22 and has dedicated himself to this for the last couple years,” she said. “He made the decision to live over there, and become a Ugandian citizen and he is really making a difference. It is a wonderful project.”

Ryan is calling his foundation, Kayongo’s Hope, after a young Ugandan boy that won his heart. Donations are currently being accepted to further his cause and may be sent to Shelbyville UMC, 938 124th Ave. in Shelbyville, MI 49344. Online donations are being accepted through Kayongo’s Hope Paypal site.

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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