From Uganda to Murray, with loveJul 01, 2022 09:30AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Gratitude came full circle for a man known for promoting literacy, social justice, and health in Uganda. He now serves the Murray community that has supported him in his causes.
David Muyanja, chief operating officer for the Murray-based Kids Read Uganda organization, nearly lost his life trying to reach a rural community. While on a motorcycle, Muyanja was involved in an accident and injured. His foot and thighs were severely wounded, his big toe nearly ripped off, and his teeth shattered.
“Since this accident, I had never been able to wear shoes or even take anything hot or cold because of the severe pain I was going through every day,” Muyanja said.
Kids Read Uganda is not the only organization that depends on Muyanja; he is a Project Manager for the Remnant Generation, an organization that rescues and helps sexually abused teenage mothers and survivors of sexual abuse.
Also, he is a Resource Center Coordinator for Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union with USAID’s funded project—Strengthening TB and HIV & AIDS Responses in Eastern Uganda (STAR-E) Project.
KIDS READ Foundation President Lynda Brown thought it imperative to get Muyanja to the United States and get the necessary treatment for his injuries. Kids Read Uganda is an organization that educates and feeds 100 children in Uganda, where Muyanja also serves as the foundation’s Children Learning Independently Program advisor.
“I am so grateful,” Muyanja said. “Currently, I am getting treated for the nerve on my foot and dental treatment for the damage that I got nearly two years ago.”
A local physician has volunteered to work on Muyanja’s foot, while the University of Utah Dental School has worked on repairing his teeth. While his health has improved, he still has many treatments to go.
“I am highly indebted to the doctors who have cared for me,” Muyanja said.
While recuperating in Brown’s home, Muyanja has decided to pay back to the community by supporting the Kids Read Foundation to provide books to children in Title I school areas or neighborhoods through Little Libraries.
The Kids Read library program was first started in Uganda, where they have 11 libraries in the slums providing books to children. Kids Read Uganda also provides safe drinking water filters to volunteers and children, nutritional support to highly vulnerable and malnourished children in five communities, mosquito nets, and hand washing sanitary stations.
Brown realized the need to have similar Libraries established here in Murray to provide books to children in Title I school areas or neighborhoods to help them access books and improve their learning and reading.
Muyanja has been meeting with community groups such as the Murray Rotary Club and elementary schools advocating for more books and encouraging the use of the Little Libraries. In addition, he met with state legislators to discuss Kids Read and the work they are doing here and in Uganda.
“In a special way, I wish to appreciate the people in the Murray Rotary Club whose service is truly ‘Service Above Self.’ They are supporting the library program in Murray,” Muyanja said.
As Muyanja’s medical visa will soon expire, he will return to Uganda. According to him, he has gleaned knowledge here in the United States and hopes to provide technical support and further develop programs in Uganda.
But his time in Murray will always be in his heart.
“Murray is a place that welcomes visitors and cherishes true philanthropic values. I have been humbled to meet people who are so welcoming, loving, and caring,” Muyanja said. “To a nature-loving person like me, Murray has great mountain views that are so captivating with beautiful sceneries. Above all, a chilly, beautiful winter season with beautiful snow and beautiful flowers.”