Kerren Katembo wants to help. You can see the willingness in her demeanor; her passion is perceived through the computer screen.
“I knew from a young age that I wanted to make a difference,” Katembo said in a virtual interview. “I wanted to spend my life mending broken people for the better.”
And that she is.
Aside from pursuing pediatric ambitions at the University of Hartford, Katembo has joined forces with Guiding Light Orphans, a nonprofit organization based in Connecticut that is dedicated to aiding communities in Uganda.
By establishing medical camps and Village Health Teams, the foundation seeks to provide care and impart personal health protocol to individuals in a nation rife with poverty.
While Katembo was drawn to the organization for its alignment with her humanitarian aspirations, she is now incorporating their success of administering physical aid abroad into executing her own philanthropic endeavor known as “SheGlo’s”.
“SheGlo’s focuses on women and girl empowerment in Uganda,” Katembo says. “But it also implements entrepreneurial and life skills for them. For they need to be financially independent, self-confident, self-aware, self-sufficient, and simply need to be a link to form an ongoing chain of inspiration and change for other women and girls.”
The idea stemmed after one of Katembo’s professors approached her as the perfect candidate for the Dorothy Goodwin Scholarship. Extended by the Women’s Advancement Initiative at UHart, the scholarship involves a student and faculty mentor coming together to design a project for the betterment of man and—more specifically—womankind.
While it is similarly propelled by Guiding Light’s goal to heal and educate Ugandans regarding their physical health, “SheGlo’s” additionally possesses the preponderant focus of supplying the nation’s women and girls with strong mental skills to overcome their circumstances, those of which Katembo learned of after speaking with them through virtual face-times.
“Most of these women have been physically abused or raped,” Katembo claimed. “They want to have an education; they want to have a voice but they’ve just been belittled so much.”
“Hearing their stories…I could tell that they are very hungry, they are very determined to work hard not only for themselves but for all women who are in their situations all over the world.”
In response, Katembo’s plan involves her traveling to Uganda in order to conduct her health and leadership training to these eager Ugandan women. However, the combination of the pandemic and political unrest in Uganda has postponed her visit indefinitely. In the meantime, she has organized empowering letter writing campaigns and assembled self-care kits, both of which she sent to these women overseas.
It’s clear that despite any potential setbacks, Kerren remains committed to the moment at hand and her vision at large.
“I never thought I would be doing what I’m doing right now,” she said. “It just goes to show that you must keep your mind wide open to opportunity cause you never know who might be inspired.”
It seems that this is a concept anyone would be better off considering.
For more information about SheGlo’s or Guiding Light Orphans head to Guidinglightorphans.org or donate to the project directly through venmoing @Kerren-Ketembo-1.