Areas of Focus
We know that education is the key to community advancement. We've provided the Namutumba school--which serves Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children together, electricity through solar panels, and have helped many members of the Abayudaya community pay for primary, secondary, and higher educational fees. We have also provided educational materials for Namutumba's children and illiterate adults.
We emphasize the development of entrepreneurial projects that will eventually allow the residents of Namutumba to support themselves. These have included small community businesses such as the raising and selling of poultry, eggs, and livestock, boda-boda (motorized scooter-taxis) rentals and rideshares, and even the opening of small stores in the larger Namutumba town center.
We help to provide preventative medical care, including fully inoculating the village--Jews and non-Jews alike--against COVID-19; we've also sent dozens of mosquito nets to stem outbreaks of malaria. We provide an emergency fund to the village council, to be distributed to families in need due to medical emergencies. Through this fund, we recently saved the life of a premature infant who needed expensive care in a far-away hospital.
We focus on improving Namutumba's infrastructure and the community's ability to sustain itself. We've provided shared community oxen and ploughs, which are used to work the land and farm more efficiently; funded the acquisition of solar panels for dozens of individual homes and community structures; built a grainery for the storage of surplus crops; and are working on developing more boreholes to ensure clear water supply.
We work to supply Hebrew and Jewish educational materials for the Abayudaya of Namutumba. We have also brought the community with its first full-sized, Kosher Torah; funded the construction of the community synagogue; performed Jewish marriage ceremonies for multiple couples in the village; and facilitated the Jewish schooling of the community rabbi and cantor.
Services in Lusoga
In November 2021, Ezra Uganda Assistance executive board member Samantha Mandeles traveled to Namutumba, Uganda to bring the Abayudaya community there its first ever full-sized, Kosher Torah.
Sam stayed with the Abayudaya in Namutumba for two weeks and was able to join the community for services in the synagogue. The Abayudaya of Namutumba pray in Hebrew and local languages Luganda and Lusoga, and using both Ashkenazi and Ugandan tunes.
Check out this video of Abayaudaya services in Namutumba. (Un-mute by mousing over the video and tapping the sound-on button.)
For more photos and information about Sam's visit to Namutumba, click here.