Salim Kisekka: Serving the vulnerable, emulating Bishop Kaggwa’s example

In a way, tending to inspire strong reactions between grudging respect and, outright hostility, many of the vulnerable and ignorant remain unaware of the possibilities of the basic liberties of nature.  

For even on the night, renowned black Movement leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated, Robert Kennedy consoled Americans. Stunned heartbroken in a crowd in Indianapolis, in the words of a great poet. “Even in asleep, pain which we cannot forget because of drops of our tears. The tyranny of our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom with the awful grace of God.”

About 29 years ago, in a place not so far from Bukomansimbi town, Salim Kisekka’s father met his demise. The father was his sun and moon to the little boy he was.  

“And we were suddenly, all alone, with no one to light our way. But here is the wisdom that came to me on that day. We weren’t alone. We had Aunts and Uncles, Cousins, Friends, teachers and coaches, members of our church.”

That hard one wisdom is what Abraham called “the better Angels of our Nation.” Empathy, Compassion, family, community. For it is not about me, it is about us.

Around 1994, after the demise of his father, Salim Kisekka thought he was never going to find help for a better day. With no dues to pay at school, life felt so hard until Edward Musisi, the Gombolola leader for Kyaayi Sub County in Gomba District decided to help him.

Kisekka and the Vulnerable students he cares for

The little known child never expected any such blessings. “What I never expected to be a solution opened doors for me. After my Primary, sponsored by Mzee Musisi, I was able to be adopted by the Catholic Church led by Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa for further studies.” 

At the time, his remaining parents never had money. For then Masaka Diocese Bishop, John Baptist Kaggwa handpicked a young man from more than 5000 students to be supported attain further education at St Joseph Kigando.

Kisekka was later supported by President Yoweri Museveni who ensured that a skinny kid, from a funny locality in Bukomansimbi would later attain education in Kyankwanzi, Tanzania and later Israel where he got letters of opportunity.

It is upon such idea that left Kisekka, siblings going to ensure a promise for a better day. The idea that a community can be governed by its citizens seemingly, revolutionary impossible.

But for more than eight years Salim Kisekka has practiced what could seem impossible. “But we are the people who do the not so possible things. The envy of our rivals, the hope of the oppressed, the sword and shield of free people,” he says.

A businessman, currently with a vast network of potential revenue streams, Kisekka, 8 years ago chose to give back to a community where he was picked by well-wishers including Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa to ensure thusful learning.

“For I acknowledge that, no one stands alone in a changing world. That there is still great good that we can still do together, especially when waters are rising and; the very idea of home is shifting just beneath out feet,” Kisekka reflects.

Towards a sprawling spring, close to a garden, at the entrance of Lukaya town, is Salim Kisekka’s Comprehensive High School. A great ambience, cagy buildings and a serene environment is where he chose to establish a school.

His motivation to support more than 2,000 vulnerable children is based on his life experience, picked by a Good Samaritan, Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa who took him to Gogonya convent regardless of his religious affiliation.

“The Samaritan sisters later took me at Kigando SSS where I met Father Bill (RIP) and the Emeritus Bishop of Masaka Dr. John Baptist Kaggwa who identified me from more than 5000 students. He chose to provide for me more academic support.” He says

At Kigando, he says, is where he met President Museveni who later offered him scholarships abroad.

It’s just upon this background that Kisekka chose to establish SK charity Foundation which currently supports more than 2000 vulnerable children with full scholarships and necessary scholastic materials, at all levels.

Salim says he uses billions of his annual dividends on vulnerable children. He has no special funders to facilitate the works of his organization as it’s the case with other NGOs.

At least 2000 students have so far benefited from the SK bursary scheme which seeks to support vulnerable children in Central Uganda. SK Charity Foundation for the 8 years has been supporting children to attain holistic education in the Districts of Bukomansimbi, Sembabule, Masaka, Kalungu, Kampala, and Wakiso, among others.

Some of the Schools where SK Charity Foundation enrolled vulnerable children to attain education include; Comprehensive high school – Lukaya, Kiti Muslim SS Kalungu, St Victors Kitaasa Secondary School – Bukomansimbi, Bukomansimbi SSS, Giant SS Kagologolo Bukomansimbi, Mbulire SSS Bukomansimbi, St Joseph SS Butenga (Bukomansimbi), Bright Angels Primary School Mbale Kinoni, Bukomansimbi, Watoto Nursery and Primary School – Bukomansimbi and Step by Step Primary School – Bukomansimbi.

Many of those who complete Secondary level and can attain tertiary education are also facilitated to join Universities such as Kampala International University, Muteesa 1Royal University, the International University of East Africa and other Diploma awarding institutions.

Some of the students sponsored by Salim Kisekka

“This helps the children triumph. In so doing, they are able to start a life with opportunities from the skills they attain. That’s what invigorates me. Ideally, I believe Bukomansimbi and Sembabule must be better than the times we struggled for education. If it weren’t for the people who supported me, I would have been somewhere at a point of no return,” ne narrates.

With the six secondary schools and nine Primary schools he partners with, Kisekka currently has 600 students in the different academic institutions. Also 24 students are now at the Universities Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Kampala International University, Makerere, among others.

Such feeling is reflected each time he visits the children at the different schools he supports them from. During his visit at Kiti Moslem SSS in Kalungu, Kisekka offered University scholarships to the 7 students that completed UACE in 2022. He also donated a spring well to the same school to provide clean water to the students.

Kisekka at his radio Station in Bukomansimbi

The feeling turns mutual as he also shares a memoir for the auxins, eating and serving posho and beans with the children who believe now, found light at the end of a tunnel. “They now refer to him as dad since he plays all the parental roles,” a teacher at the school narrates.

One of the students, supported by Kisekka narrated to this website how his parents were saved a burden of exchanging been and papaws to the school in order for the child (Names of the minor withheld) to study at Kitti SS.

“I would carry sacks of beans, together with my parents, plead with the school administration. Many of my colleagues would laugh at me. I have now triumphed, completed Secondary education because of a generous person (Kisekka) who chose to help be. He changed the story of my life,” the student said.

Kisekka’s coffee factory

Some of the parents of such vulnerable children under SK charity Foundation are also supported by the same person in Savings and Credit schemes under Bukomansimbi Mixed farmers SACCO to ensure that they are also empowered economically.

He also invests in communication. His radio within Bukomansimbi moves along way in further sensitizing the local population within the area to engage in not only income generating activities, but also inform them about their basic and social needs, uplifting the society holistically.

For Kisekka, he has not reached the destined horizon. His dream is to quite essentially change society’s mindset, citizens’ start supporting themselves after attaining the necessary knowledge and training.

“Agreeing on a shared reality for great and hard work to begin is what I foresee. The Lord calls us to be stewards of this earth and so gives us the power to change disillusioned work that curtails human progress. That’s a feeling I want every person in my district to have,” he said.

Where he gets the money:

Kisekka’s maize machine in Bukomansimbi

Serving humanity comes at a huge cost including the quest to retain reputation. Many people have often times asked where such money to help the vulnerable is gotten.

Kisekka however invests in coffee and maize processing machines. Abalungi Coffee Factory Kikooma and the Maize Factory not only offer jobs to the people within the area but also, the dividends that come from the factory help in the supporting SK Foundation including paying dues for the vulnerable children he supports.

He also owns Sek Financial Services, Bukomansimbi Media Company, the SK Foundation Uganda and Bukomansimbi Farmers Sacco where hundreds of people seek solutions to financial literacy and solutions.

At his residences in Kawanga – Sembabule, Bukoba Cell in Bukomansimbi, Munyonyo – Kampala, Kyayi – Gomba and in Kawempe (Kutaano), residents throng the homes seeking solutions to the dire challenges they face. “People believe, he is honest in offering the solutions since he listens and indeed finds the solutions,” says Richard Ssekitto, one of the people who has asked for remedy from Kisekka.

Kisekka’s House in Munyonyo

Kisekka says, he only has one wife who manages all the homes and the expectations of his guests.

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