Ruth Ndyabahika, a Child Psychologist by profession, currently serves as the first woman President of the prestigious International Community of Banyakigezi (ICOB). She is the Founder of Grace Villa sanctuary for girls.
After living 20 years in the USA, Ruth, moved back to Uganda in August 2012, where she set up a home for girls she rescued, at Grace Villa, Kabale.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois to Anglican priests Rev Can Prof. James and Rev Can Grace Ndyabahika, with two siblings: Apolo and Rachelle. Her family returned to Uganda for six of Ruth’s most definitive years of Primary 5 into high school, before she moved back to the USA to join university.
About 10 years ago, she stumbled into the nonprofit and advocacy world which now defines her, after watching a documentary that opened her eyes and heart to the plight of the night commuting children in Northern Uganda. She got passionately involved in awareness campaigns such as Gulu Walks, lobbied Senators and Congressmen at Capitol Hill, and in 2009 was part of Uganda Lobby Day, which to date was the biggest lobby day for Africa in US history.
Before long, Ruth gained a reputation for herself in the US Diaspora community as a lady at the center of advocacy and the nonprofit world. Her philanthropic and lobbying efforts were recognized in a laudatory letter from the late Senator Edward Kennedy.
The signature appended to all Ruth Ndyabahika’s outgoing email reads, “For upon our children rests the future of tomorrows world”. This message resonates through the things Ruth is associated with. International Community of Banyakigezi flagship “Kigezi Education Fund” builds centers of excellence in IT and technical training across rural Kigezi, thus availing these employable fields to youth who would have otherwise never had access to such.
Grace Villa (GV), which Ruth founded, is a home and sanctuary for over 45 orphans and vulnerable girls. It’s a beautiful, warm home in the hills of Kigezi, and the girls are counseled, nurtured and exposed to unique programs within the GV walls: Photography, Baking, Entrepreneurship, an all girls Soccer Club, IT classes and Tailoring. As one of her GV girls simply but profoundly put it, “It opened a door for me. Grace Villa means that I can learn and be anything in this world, and nothing will obstruct me”.
Ms. Ruth Bahika will also join the recipients of this year’s Ugandan Diaspora Awards given her philanthropic work and continued contribution to positively impact the less advantage girls in Uganda. To learn more about Ruth and her project visit the link below – http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2012/07/15/grace-villa-a-new-home-for-girls-in-uganda-by-ruth-bahika/