Caroline Nakayenga


Caroline Nakayenga Ottawa, ON
Award for Community and Leadership

In 1986 when political unrest in Uganda made it unsafe for Caroline Nakayenga and her family, they fled to nearby Kenya. Even though confined to a refugee camp for two months she was inspired to give of her time even then and volunteered for the Nyeri Catholic Printing Press. Since arriving in Canada in 1990 as a refugee from Uganda, Caroline Nakayenga has combined her need to work with her deep desire to help others. In 1994 she co-founded the CanHave Children’s Centre (Canadians Helping AIDS Victims with Education), an Ottawa-based registered charity which was set up to meet the education and personal needs of young Ugandan orphans whose parents have died of AIDS. With a board of direc-tors in both Uganda and Ottawa, Caroline juggles many voluntary duties including sourcing donors, acting as Treasurer and handling the administration. Recently she spent her holidays in Uganda overseeing the building of a trade school for CanHave and visiting sponsored children. From supporting a group of five primary school children CanHave has managed to expand its activity to support 39 children; and the new trade school will enable secondary school leavers to learn skills to ensure their livelihoods and to acquire skill for survival, citizenship and lifelong learning. Extending her volunteer reach in many direc-tions she has also given her time to the English Language Program at the Canadian African Solidarity Organization, the Catholic Immigration Centre, Christian Horizons, Glebe Centre Nursing Home and the Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) with the Ottawa Mennonite Church where she served as Secretary on the RAP Committee rep-resenting them on the Coalition of Refugees of Ottawa. In 2003 Caroline was recognized by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration with the Citizen Citation Award, awarded to new Canadians for their outstanding volunteer contributions. Caroline has been known to pick-up refugees from the airport, provide orientation and interpretive services for them, escort them to medical appointments and grocery shopping, and not surprisingly—offer her home as a place of refuge while they settle into the Ottawa area. Knowing that education is at the heart of inde-pendence in any country, Caroline is an inveterate learner who’s education has included: Diploma of Apprenticeship in Conservation/Restoration/Bookbinding in London, England; Secretarial Certificate in Kenya; Records Management for Libraries from Ottawa and received a Registered Practical Nurse Diploma from St. Laurence College in Cornwall. Caroline’s strong faith and profound concern for others, coupled with her need to give back to her adopted country has been her motivating force. In 2006 she volunteered over 300 hours, making a significant difference in the lives of new Canadians while never forgetting those in her native land.


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