MUKWANO is a Tokyo, Japan based and registered non-profit organization. Its mission is to cooperate with a group called Samanya that supports orphans in Rakai, Uganda. MUKWANO means “friend” in Luganda, a Ugandan language. Most of the children in the area were orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS infecting their parents. MUKWANO’s mission is to give basic necessities of home, food, and schooling so that eventually they can lead independent, productive lives. MUKWANO was founded in April 2006 by Yuka Nagatani. In October 2007, it was officially designated and registered as a non-profit organization by the municipal government of Tokyo, Japan.

About 50% of the population of Uganda are under the age of 15 and is considered to have the high proportion of children in the world. Over 1 million children are orphans because their parents contracted AIDS and approximately 25% of all households in Uganda are taking care of these orphans.

Rakai, Uganda was the first place in Africa that a person with AIDS was diagnosed. Currently approximately 12% of the population has contracted AIDS. About 50 – 70,000 orphans live in Rakai but many have no living family or relatives and thus live by themselves in ‘child-headed households’. It is not uncommon that the children have to sell their home in order to pay for their parent’s funeral and then have to build a home out of mud and banana fiber. These ‘homes’ are often in remote areas, far from others, and many of these children die without having been supported or even visited by anyone.

MUKWANO has funded and directed the construction of a dormitory and school for orphans in the region. In addition, MUKWANO funds and manages the education (teachers, curriculum, and teachers) and the daily meal requirements of all 250 children attending the school.

The curriculum includes classes on agriculture, AIDS prevention, and family planning. In addition, MUKWANO sends essential daily supplies such as mosquito nets and soaps to children who live within a 100 km radius.

The new school and dormitories, completed in December 2007.

A child-headed household in Rakai supported by MUKWANO

Another child-headed household in Rakai supported by MUKWANO


Short Term

  • Build and manage a dormitory and a school
  • Provide basic education

Medium Term

  • Education: provide secondary education
  • Help children attain stable employment
    • Increase quality of job training
    • Develop agricultural training program
  • Sex education (e.g. birth control and contraception)
    • Community approach
    • Religious approach

Long Term

  • Help to decrease the future orphan population
  • Decrease infection rate of AIDS

MUKWANO’s Philosophy

  • Over 80% of MUKWANO’s donations are given directly to local projects and operations.
  • Support through cooperation with local community
  • Do not give simply because people are poor or simply because we have something that we do not need and thus can give to someone else. We work to understand the needs of the local community and then support activities that will create self-sufficient and productive members of society.