His Hope Uganda hosted its annual auction fundraiser in Cranbrook and shared what the organization has been up to.

The organization was founded and run by Kimi Toyota with the goal of providing kids with education and facilities.

Since it was founded in 2009, around 150 students have been sponsored, 40 houses have been built and 40 toilet facilities constructed.

The annual auction took place at the Cranbrook Alliance Church over the weekend with items donated from businesses throughout the community.

“It was a great night, we are always so overwhelmed by the support of the community. It was fun and we were able to share a lot about what’s going on in Uganda,” said Toyota.

One of the initiatives the organization is up to includes a new university program where one student so far has been able to start post-secondary education.

“He was one of our almost original students. He joined the program in 2010. We have a university fund for students that really do well in school and excel and work hard,” added Toyota.

“He’s in his first year of university and loving it. He’s planning to become a doctor in the next four years, so we’re excited to be able to share that with him.”

However, it wasn’t all good for the organization as they dealt with difficulty brought on by COVID-19.

“It’s been so challenging. I know it’s been challenging everywhere in the world, but especially for Ugandans who rely on their daily income every day to survive,” said Toyota.

“Whether it’s running a small business, selling vegetables on the side of the road or handwashing people’s clothes, all of those things shut down when the country went into a lockdown and the government didn’t provide any support at all.

“Children aren’t in school, businesses were closed. It was really a challenging time.”

She said the first lockdown lasted around four months and just as things were starting to get back to normal another lockdown was put in place.

“As soon as everything got back to normal the government shut down again and went into a second lockdown which was even more challenging than the first one,” said Toyota.

“We’ve been there supporting families and encouraging them as much as we can. It’s been a blessing to be there for them and there for their kids as well.”

His Hope Uganda is now looking at getting a more reliable vehicle, which Toyota said is a difficult task in Uganda.

“We are fundraising for a new vehicle. We really need a vehicle that’s reliable and works on the roads which isn’t easy to find. if you’re interested in supporting us you can contact us or go to our website.”