About Us

Our Mission

The mission of Hands4Uganda is to make a positive difference in the lives of the children and youth of Uganda by assisting them in achieving their highest potential through a faith-based education. As they grow and learn we aim to instill responsibility, compassion, and love, while providing ongoing economic and spiritual support.

Our Faith Statement:

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that salvation is given through Christ alone and His atonement for our sins through His death and resurrection.  We do not merit salvation based on our own works or righteousness.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Beginning...

Tomanya - Lugandan for “You never know”- but God does. It was with this theme in mind that the Africa 2010 team made its way to Uganda. Not knowing exactly what to expect, anticipation and a little nervousness was evident on each of the jet lagged faces as the team landed at the Entebbe airport and made its way to Jinja, the second largest city in the country of Uganda. It was then that the adventure began.

Throughout the three weeks of outreach spent in the “Pearl of Africa” the team learned that Uganda isn’t just a place of geographical beauty lush in natural resources. It's a country overflowing with amazing people who genuinely love and live each day with a joy most have forgotten.

While in Uganda, the Africa 2010 team did a variety of outreaches including medical physicals for over 120 people, minor medical treatments and procedures, as well as teaching/maintenance at two schools (one of them, Rock of Ages Community School).

“We went to Uganda hoping to bless the people in need there,” said Ariane Drake. “What many of us came to find was that we were actually the ones being blessed through this ministry. I believe I can speak for the team when saying the Africa 2010 outreach was a life changing experience with a few life lessons learned in happiness, thankfulness, politeness, and the greatest of all - love.”

As a result of the Africa 2010 outreach, Hands4Uganda was established to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life for Ugandan children, specifically in the village of Mbiko.

Our Leader

Betty Wasswa

Betty Wasswa was born to a family near Mbiko and was given the gift of an education. She made it through college, receiving her degree in Higher Education. She soon realized her dream of returning to her home village, which is known for prostitution, and helping the children she knew would have no hope for receiving an education. She attended YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and received early childhood education training, making it possible for her to obtain her teaching credentials.

Betty was led to start Rock of Ages School Community School (ROA) because most of the children living in Mbiko are either without parents, their mothers are prostitutes, and/or their family has been overcome by crippling poverty. Betty embraced the great importance and urgency for the children of Mbiko to attend school and decided to offer a free education to as many as she could. Using the little money she and her husband had, she rented a small building and opened the unofficial school.

In 2010, when we first met Betty, she had nearly 50 students attending ROA. She explained to us with such passion, how she one day hoped to have an official school that could provide hundreds of children with the hope of a better future. She knew that education was the key to changing her village. It was because of this encounter that Hands4Uganda, Inc. (H4U) was established and recognized as an official 501c3 nearly a year later.

Betty is a phenomenal woman. She loves her students as if they are her own. She believes in them and that alone can do miracles in the life of a child who has no hope and often no support system. She believes that a free education brings hope to these children and gives them the opportunity to someday escape the stronghold of poverty that leads to so much despair within their village.

In order to best support the students at ROA, H4U established a sponsorship program to cover the cost for these children to attend school. Each sponsorship is a tax deductible, charitable contribution of $30/month or $360/year for primary students and $80/month or $960/year for secondary students (partial sponsorships are available for secondary students at $40/month or $480/year). If you are interested in bringing hope and a future to a child in Mbiko, please prayerfully consider the opportunity to sponsor a child today (click here to see students in need of a sponsor).

Our U.S. Team

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Chairman of the Board
Karla Reynolds

"What will you do, now that you know?"

On Karla’s first mission outreach to Uganda in 2010, she learned what extreme poverty means to the people who live it daily. That experience awoke in her a desire and a passion to serve the poor and marginalized as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 25:40. Before retiring and devoting her time to Hands4Uganda, Karla spent thirty-two years working in research and development in the semiconductor industry. She was employed for 28 of those years at IBM, developing state of the art Computer-Aided-Design software and managing teams of engineers. Later she was hired as a World-Wide Director of CAD at AMI Semiconductor, directing teams across Europe, US and India. Her long career developed her leadership skills, boosted her problem solving and business competence, gained her project management proficiency, raised her sensitivity to cultural differences, and provided her an in-depth knowledge of how to design and successfully deploy software. Those skills would prove useful to an organization dedicated to serving people half way around the world. Armed with her faith and career expertise, she joined a group of passionate and compassionate folks shortly after her initial trip to Uganda to help start Hands4Uganda. Her education background includes a degree in Mathematics from University of Maine and raising three kids with her husband of 41 years.

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Vice Chairman
Syd Hair

Syd is currently employed at Purdue University at the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center in Lafayette IN. Her love for Uganda began in 2008 when she traveled to Jinja to serve with Next Generations Ministries. It was there that she met and fell in love with the work Betty Wasswa was doing at Rock of Ages School in Mbiko. From that point, Syd was determined to do something more to help the school grow from 11 kids. She started a sponsorship program, enlisting friends and family to sponsor a child. In 2010 Syd took her "dream team" to Uganda. It was this team that caught the vision and incorporated the sponsorship program into a developing nonprofit organization, Hands4Uganda. The story of Rock of Ages partnering with Hands4Uganda is one covered in love, commitment, devotion and above all else the hand of God!

God gave Syd a promise that is being fulfilled daily: "Build a school, teach a child! Teach a child, change a village! Change a village, impact a nation!"

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Director
Ariane Drake

Ariane graduated from Westminster College, SLC, UT in 2016 with a B.S. in Public Health. She plans to pursue a second Bachelors of Nursing beginning in July 2019 with the hopes of providing healthcare to some of the most vulnerable populations at home and abroad. Ariane has always had a heart for international aid, holding her first fundraiser at the age of 10 for those affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. Upon her return from the Africa Mission Trip in 2010, she struggled deeply with her "comfortable life" having seen, first hand, the effects of true poverty. Believing that we each must be the change that we wish to see in the world, she decided to organize a group of other passionate individuals to help start what she saw as a grassroots movement- to fulfill the dream of a local Mbikoin who desperately wanted to be the change in her village by educating the children of Mbiko. Ariane proudly served on the Board of Directors for Hands4Uganda for seven years and assumed the position of Program Development Manager in 2017. In her free time Ariane enjoys trail running, skiing, and playing with her puppy, Tikka.

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Director
Randy Fowler

Randy is married to Keri Lu and has two married daughters, three grandchildren and a couple of awesome son-in-laws. He is an Emergency Physician and has a heart for medical missions. He and his family have served together in Ecuador and Uganda. Randy has been to Honduras and most recently to Kenya with Samaritans Purse, staffing the Emergency Department in one of the largest mission hospitals in Africa. He enjoys everything about the outdoors: hiking, biking, snowshoeing, telemarking, snowboarding, water skiing, scuba diving, swimming, golfing, sailing, you get the idea. Randy feels blessed with his life, wonderful family and profession. It is a joy for Randy to be able to participate on the Board of Hands4Uganda, which allows him the opportunity to share God's love with the students, families and community of Mbiko, Uganda. He would like to say a special, "Thank you", to all who have sponsored a child at Rock of Ages School. Your faithfulness has made a huge impact on the lives of those children.

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Director
Gabe Flicker

Gabe Flicker first went to Rock of Ages School (ROA) in 2010. As the Executive Director of Grace Lutheran School he and five faculty members along with 19 others from Pocatello went to Uganda. From that trip and the dream of Ariane Drake to start Hands4Uganda it all began. Betty Wasswa, the founder and leader of ROA, came to Gabe's school in Pocatello, Idaho in 2009 to serve as an intern. Everyone fell in love with her and later in love with ROA. Gabe has been an educator in the Lutheran system for 43 years and recently retired. He was honored to be a National Distinguished Principal and the Principal of a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, the two highest honors given by the U.S. Department of Education. Gabe, along with his wife, enjoys tandem cycling and cross-country skiing. They have three grown children. You can often find him behind a camera. In his bio photo, he is teaching young single moms in Guatemala how to use cameras. Prior to that visit these moms had never taken pictures of their babies.

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Director
Mackenzie Gorham

Mackenzie is married to David, and they’ve lived in Pocatello since 2009. Mackenzie works as a nuclear engineer for the Department of Energy, but is also an avid volunteer. While her volunteer experience is vast, her current focuses include functioning as the Director of the Gate City Food Pantry, a Girl Scout leader for daughters of incarcerated women, and co-leading a weekly Bible study group with her husband. She and David are currently in the proctor for becoming foster parents.

Mackenzie first went to Uganda on a mission trip through her church in 2014. She then led a team for her church in 2015. While neither group was explicitly associated with H4U, both included visits to ROA and as a result Mackenzie began sponsoring a student. Mackenzie and her husband both have a lot of passion for volunteering with marginalized youth, and really respect the mission of H4U to help these kids find a better path in life. She would like to thank everyone who supports the mission of this organization.

Outside of work and service, Mackenzie also enjoys gardening, riding horses, hiking, reading, scuba diving, photography, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and traveling with her husband.

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Consultant
Steph Albano

Steph is excited to be a part of an amazing team making a difference for kids in Uganda. The bulk of her career has been in business with CARQUEST Auto Parts. She worked in a family owned division for many years. After it sold she ran the Distribution Center and became a Financial Analyst for the national company. She has previously served on boards for the Idaho State Civic Symphony, Idaho Zoological Society and Pebble Creek Ski Patrol. In her spare time she enjoys fly-fishing, trail running and other outdoor activities.

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Primary Student Sponsorship Coordinator
Diane Williams

Diane had an opportunity to go to Uganda with the mission group that traveled there in 2010. At that time she met Betty Wasswa and saw the little school that she had started. While helping to wash the walls, it seemed like there was more that could be done to help this vision of providing a Christian education for many of the children of Mbiko. The seed was planted. Now, ten years later she is working as the sponsorship coordinator for Hands4Uganda.  Because she is a retired educator after many, many years of teaching in a Christ centered school, she understands the importance of this education. She feels that God has just put together the right people to help this organization grow to help provide education for the little children. As Jesus said, let the little children come to me.

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Secondary Program Coordinator
Tamera Hopkin

When her daughter returned from a mission trip at age 16 and struggled with extreme “culture shock”, Tamera encouraged her to follow her dream and “to be the change that she wanted to see in the world”.  As a volunteer for the organization that was born out of that encouragement, Tamera is honored to have helped with fundraising, donor correspondence and other projects and is now excited to continue her volunteer role as the Hands4Uganda Secondary Sponsorship Program Coordinator.

Previously, Tamera led a successful career in high-tech marketing communications.  She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with dual majors in Marketing and in Management and Organizational Leadership.

She has sponsored children through various organizations for over 25 years. She visited her H4U sponsored child in 2016 and highly recommends the experience.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

~ Jeremiah 29:11

Our Ugandan Team

Rock of Ages Teachers and Staff

Student Sponsorship Coordinator
Kenneth Lukwago

Secondary Program Coordinator
Denis Ssettumba

Program Facilitator
Abdu Wasswa

School Pastor
Jimmy Kiwanuka

Contact Us

Do you have further questions about sponsoring a child or making a donation? Would you like to share H4U with your church group? Are you looking for other ways to be involved in our organization? Contact us and we will do our best to help you!

Hands4Uganda

2900 Summit Drive
Pocatello, ID 83201

Federal Tax ID: 27-3665710