Founder's Statement by Rupert Turpin of Uganda Reflex

This short article describes how and why Uganda Reflex was formed.

Rupert's experience goes back to 1991 when as a 25 year old he flew out to Kampala to work on a project growing chillies for export to Europe. During his time in Uganda, Rupert made some fantastic friends including Paul Lwanga and Alex Senyama, both of whom were very involved in setting up and now running the charity, Single Parents Association of Uganda.

Paul Lwanga set up SPAU after seeing the poverty in rural Uganda and the special needs of families missing a breadwinner, mother or both. Many of these devastated families lost people through diseases such as AIDS and malaria. Paul saw much of the overseas aid going to awareness projects and medicines for those suffering from AIDS, but very little going to their family dependents who have to keep their own lives going in economic hardship.

Since its inception SPAU has brought single parents into support groups to offer each other mutual support and in addition has developed small business programmes to give a sufficient income to these families to enable them to eat properly and pay school fees. In addition SPAU has helped support an orphanage with around 30 small children and pays the school fees for an older orphan girl.


Some of SPAU’s projects include small scale pig rearing, sewing projects, cake making and mushroom growing.

In March 2004, Rupert visited Uganda for the first time in 11 years. During the visit he saw many of the SPAU projects in villages all around the Kampala region and saw how the members of the support groups can and do support and encourage each other.

Rupert also visited an orphanage supported by SPAU. The lady running the orphanage herself suffered from AIDS, as did many of the 30 or so children in her care. The children, away on various errands, gradually drifted in and sat in a group outside. As they sang what was supposed to be a cheerful welcoming song, the sound they made was instead weak and plaintive, but more moving than anything he'd seen before.

As he watched that performance he realised two things were certain; firstly these children were not at fault for their poverty, and secondly their chances of survival or living a normal life with normal hopes and aspirations were minimal. He wanted desperately to do something to help … so the seeds of Uganda Reflex were sown.


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Uganda Reflex is a registered charity in England, number 1114929