He built a school for AIDS orphans in Nyaka and then wrote a book about the process of constructing it. Now, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri is in the running with 23 others to be a CNN Hero.
His book, A School for My Village: A Promise to the Orphans of Nyaka, was named Albion College’s Richard M. Smith Common Reading Experience novel for 2012-13 academic year. On Sept. 13, Jackson spoke to students about his school. His presentation coincided with the college’s theme for 2012-13 — global diversity.
“Students and faculty who came to my presentation are aware that we live in a global village,” Jackson said. “There is no me and you, there is we.”
Reading Jackson’s book allowed students to compare and contrast the American and Ugandan education systems. Laura Kelly, St. Louis first-year, is studying secondary education and believes the book exposes the differences between students.
“I definitely think the [Ugandan] students were a lot more motivated to do the work because they didn’t have to go to school,” Kelly said. “Here, students are always complaining about going to school. Those students would do their work by candlelight after walking miles and miles, and then do their other chores.”
The Nwagni Project is responsible for maintaining the college’s school in Bachingou, Cameroon. Like Kaguri, the Nwagni Project relied on grants and fund-raising to construct the school. Ashley Miracle, Redford senior and Nwagni Project president, sees the parallels between the club’s work and Jackson’s.
“It seems like in both places there was a need,” Miracle said. “There was a need for a place for the orphans to learn, and [in Cameroon] there’s a place for kids in the village to learn so they would have a chance to go to university if they wanted to.”
Jackson believes his goals and those of the Nwagni Project are one in the same.
“Children in need of education anywhere in this world are the same,” Jackson said. “Cameroonian kids must wear uniforms, pass exams [and] walk to school the same way Nyaka and Kutamba does.”
Jackson plans on dedicating the rest of his life to the AIDS orphans of Nyaka. For him, expanding the school is of the utmost importance.
“We want to build our own high school and build 50 more schools in all districts of Uganda,” Jackson said. “Ours is a holistic approach where these centers of excellency provide all five basic human rights.”
It’s Jackson’s faith that allowed him to overcome financial challenges while constructing the school.
“The [economic] climate might be bad, but see what God has done in Nyaka and Kutamab villages,” Jackson said. “The most remote places on earth are now on CNN international. God is good all the time.”
Photo by Nick Diamond