While interning with Save the Mothers (STM), Ananya Parasor had a chance meeting with STM alumnus Richard Mulindwa. They had a long talk about his time with STM and his current work (as a community development officer and running a non-profit organization). Ananya also asked Richard about his involvements since graduating from STM, (Uganda Class of 2012), and prepared the following blog post to bring us up-to-date.
His professional background:
“I am a social scientist with a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from Kyambogo University in Kampala. I then went on to get a Master’s degree in Public Health Leadership (MPHL) from Uganda Christian University (UCU). I’m currently studying a Master’s degree in Theology at Uganda Christian University, while also working as a public health, development and management consultant.”
How he heard about STM:
“It was through a friend who was already a student in the program. She was given an opportunity to talk about maternal health at our church, and her story moved me. Later, we linked up and she shared with me her experience in STM. Subsequently, I decided to follow in her footsteps.”
How STM changed his life:
“STM helped me discover myself and it played a role in shaping me and my worldview about mothers and children and their role in society. Being a social worker wasn’t enough until I got a new way of thinking about what the lord wanted me to do. God wanted me to reach out and become an agent of change and become a voice for the voiceless. When I finished with the MPHL program, I had been transformed.”
“In a bid to reach out and advocate for the girl child, I started a community-based organization called TEESA community development initiative. TEESA comes from the Luganda word “okuteesa,” which means to create a dialogue and to talk about or deliberate on something. Menstrual hygiene is something in our culture which is a taboo topic, which can never be discussed … so we used the word to affirm that menstrual hygiene can be discussed, and deliberated upon.
TEESA focuses on menstrual hygiene management, reproductive health and rights, advocacy and skills training. In addition, the organization has a program for special-needs children.
Qualities needed to start an NGO:
“There is nothing as important as passion, passion, passion. It’s all it takes to start. The desire to see change and be part of the change. We are all equipped to create change and to make a difference, to turn this world into a better place. TEESA thrives to give the mothers of tomorrow the life they deserve and hope for in the future.”
Lessons he’s learned in life:
“We are stewards of all we have – gifts, environment, education, experience. We are who we are because of what we’ve been given by God. We ought to use all our abilities and gifts for his glory.”
Words Richard strives to live by:
“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” – Nelson Mandela.