Email: Ndaganonamwangwa1998@gmail.com Cell: +256 752714833
Inspiring stories of NDAGANO and MUGISHA NAMWANGWA
"Making Bricks to Building their own Education Centre”
In this inspirational story, Mugisha and Ndagano Namwangwa share how they went from making bricks to opening their own educational centre called Success Roots at Base Camp in Nakivale Refugee Camp, Uganda, and then to sharing globally while transforming lives through the educational system and the 3 Principles. Success Roots is a school that presently has 500 students and 15 teachers. (https://www.youtube.com/@successrootsnews568/videos) This inspiring story begins when the two brothers were forced to flee and register as a refugee in Uganda.
We were born in the village called Mugaja in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The majority of the kids from our village never attended school. However, we went to school in the mornings. In the afternoons, we followed mum to the garden to help her with the family chores. She taught us to carry cassava on our heads from the garden to home. After our work, we would sit in the summer breeze, our backs against a tree trunk, overlooking the hills. We dreamed of becoming a leader who would fight for people's rights. We wanted to change the terrible things happening to our village.
Our father was a cattle keeper. Each morning he would set off to work, staff in hand as he walked into the distance. Birds chirped, lambs bleated, and trees blew in the wind. One day our father returned with his head hanging low. He said, “I have worked for decades trying to save for my kids to shape a bright future. Our properties should not be taken away.” Just as it had happened with others in our village, our cattle and everything we owned had been stolen by a marauding gang of thieves from the city. Father explained how the men had shouted, "You illiterate farmers, you don't deserve to own anything. You are good for nothing except digging in the gardens." Then, they beat our father to the ground, rounded up the cattle and disappeared over the hills.
Our father knew we had to do something to stop this from happening. He looked at us with his tired eyes, concerned. "Sons, I'm sending you to school in the city. This pillaging and stealing must be stopped. You must get an education to protect the family rights when you grow up.”
War begins in 2016
We were completing our last year in high school when one morning Ndagano awoke to police shouting. Our neighbors had been killed, including one of our family. We didn't know the reason people were crying and shouting next door. One lady ran down the street, banging her head in her palm. My legs shook, as my mind raged uncontrollably.
The ugly situation soon escalated. Shouting and gunshot rang out all over the town. "Brother ,we must flee too" as I grabbed my brother by the arm. We took nothing with us except what we wore. We ran and we ran.
We ran, along with hundreds of others escaping the town. We heard a refugee camp had been established in Uganda. We headed East surviving on the food we begged from truck drivers along with a little change which kind people gave along the way.
Hungry, thirsty, feet blistered and exhausted to our knees was our world. We walked for three weeks until one day, up ahead on the road, we saw the board workers unloading cartons from a small supply truck. As we drew closer, Ugandan officials assigned to register refugees waited at the gates. We crossed over, grateful to be safe, and relieved to be alive. Many of our friends had not made it.
Registered as a Refugee
Our dreams as a boy while sitting under the tree overlooking the hills now seemed impossible. Our father's target had been destroyed. The study we had done, all the work simply blown away by war. We hadn't finished high school and to make matters worse, here in Uganda, they spoke English. We had been schooled in French. That meant we had to go back to a lower-level primary school and restart our education.
The only thing we had to look forward was having food on the table every day. We kept vigilant for an opportunity--the opportunity to work, the opportunity to learn English, and in the quickest way possible. One day we saw a man visiting the camp. He spoke English very well and we saw an opportunity of learning English. We asked him, “Will you teach us English.” He said, “Make the bricks, lay the bricks, construct my house and I'II use a room to teach you English.” We thought for a moment, that seemed like a huge undertaking, but, Mugisha said, “We can stay making excuses and blame your environment or we can stand and fight for a better life." I agreed.
We shook the man’s hand and agreed to his terms including that he would teach those who wanted to learn English. That day, we went out and organized 8 other marginalized youths who wanted to learn English but lacked opportunities like us. Together we made over 2000 bricks. Some of the youth who joined us had construction skills. We constructed a house for the teacher who agreed to teach English classes. He began. We studied hard and learned quickly. We also started to teach other students at lower levels. In 2016, seeing a greater need to help other young refugees we established our own English training centre.
We established our training centre, not only to teach English, but we wanted to encourage, educate and fully empower young people to transform their difficult life experiences into a strength that transforms society. Today, we honor our dreams, and our father's dream.
After building the training centre called Success Roots with the help of a French donor, we developed a fully functioning educational facility to teach all ages of students. Presently we have a growing attendance of 500 students, along with 15 teachers, paid by a small grant from the Ugandan government.
My younger brother, Mugisha became the Executive Director of the school, and I became the Vice Executive Director. The school grew in students and the full spectrum of subjects providing education and self-esteem for the Base Camp children and youth.
“Warm greetings from NAKIVALE refugee settlement in Southwestern Uganda. My name is MUGISHA NAMWANGWA and I am the team leader at SUCCESS ROOTS, a refugee led organization on a mission of helping young refugees to gain access to and experience quality education as a human right in a unique way that enables them to grow and succeed.”
At the end of 2022, Mugisha invited Harry Derbitsky, President of ACT Training, to begin teaching the spiritual psychology of the 3 Principles to the school, teachers, and students. This led to a transformation in the school, whereby the school became a leader to helping the students, parents, teachers, and community to seeing life as being happy, no matter what the outside or past circumstances of life are. This teaching has led to 10 other projects in Nakivale in Youth Groups, Communities and Alcohol Counseling, along with projects in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya and schools in Kampala, Uganda.
The success of our programs has been the foundational spark and inspiration for others in Africa. I have shared, along with our teachers, at various webinars around the world and would welcome the opportunity to come in front of your organization and share this amazing story of hope, love, and happiness. Go to 26.35 minutes into the podcast and listen to one of my and the teachers presentations. (https://www.acttraining.biz/post/af2-3-principles-in-nakivale-kakuma-refugee-camps-and-beyond)
One of Mugisha’s dreams was to build a library for the school. He had arranged for 1500 books to be donated from USA and delivered to Kampala, Uganda’s capital and which is roughly 200 km from Nakivale Refugee Camp. Harry arranged a donor for the cost of shipping the books to our Camp. However, tragedy stuck, and when Mugisha picked up the books, the vehicle experienced a serious crash, and MUGISHA DIED.
As Mugisha was a recognized leader in the community, this tragic event created a sadness throughout the school and Nakivale. When I replaced Mugisha as Executive Director of the school, I used my wisdom to make the transition as comfortable and complimentary to what Mughisha would want. The teachers have stated that this is true.
As the team leader of Success Roots, we have expanded the scope of our educational teachings . Mugisha’s dream was to build a library so the community, teachers, students could be inspired by these donated books. With the help of Harry and a donor, we will have the building completed and books in it by Christmas, 2023. Also, we have included in our curriculum, “Zahara asks WHAT IS LOVE?” (https://www.acttraining.biz/post/af1-zahara-asks-what-is-love) taught by 2 of our teachers with great success. I teach an adult community class in English and in the last 15 minutes, we share about Happiness is Free via these 3 Principles. Attached is a video of one student talking about the success of the 3 Principles to her parents at graduation in December 2023.
I come in front of everyone who will view our stories to help me share this inspiring story with the world or your organizations and even to get a scholarship to improve my experience of inspiring the communities and the entire world. I want to tell people, especially the young people because they are the solutions for tomorrow, that it doesn't matter where one comes from or the environment around us.
Realize who you are, not as you are told, and realize your unlimited potential. Anything is possible if we learn how to avoid making excuses and decide to start making progress.
Love is a positive change.
Let us inspire the world together.