The Uganda Martyrs Orphans’ Project (UMOP) is an indigenous nonprofit, started in 1990 by a young girl called Margaret Anyokorit Angoye. Margaret, completed her first College degree and soon joined the religious congregation of the daughters of St. Paul. She was forced to leave the congregation before she took the vows as a novice because she was discovered to be infected with HIV the virus that causes AIDS. At that time, the world had just come to know of the virus and everybody was scared of it. It would be remembered that this was a very dark period in the history of Uganda; particularly for children born in the eighties.(Six out of every ten children, were orphans of either HIV/AIDS or war. Margaret herself was an orphan as a result of the civil unrest that engulfed Uganda during the reign of Ugandan Dictatorial president of the time, IDI AMIN. On her return to her village in Osukuru-Tororo, Margaret picked from the streets of Tororo, 35 children and with them, she started an orphanage. In order to support and provide for their needs, she started a small poultry farm and with it she ignited her dream to support orphans of HIV/AIDS and war. Through this and some farming activities, Margaret raised some money to help keep her children at school. Margaret always repeated that her strength to go on sprung from the 22 Ugandan Martyrs, who never faltered even when threatened by death. Uganda Martyrs orphans Project; a nonprofit she started would like the Uganda martyrs who died defending their faith, inspire many young people to struggle to bring new hope and a brighter future within her community Osukuru and beyond.
In 2000, when Margaret’s condition worsened, she reached out to her brothers Rev. Fr. Centurio Olaboro – a Catholic priest and Mr. Stephen Omuse– a newly qualified teacher whom she asked, to look after the children she was to leave behind. There were 39 children at this time. These children were housed and taught in a one roomed house, which would later become the first classroom of Great Aubrey Memorial College. Stephen newly qualified, convinced and gathered 5 of his other colleagues to volunteer their service for these children as teachers in the years that followed. Margaret by this time had become very weak but did not die without dictating the name of the new school; she called it Great Aubrey Memorial College, after the father of Rev. Fr. Aubrey she had known while working in Mbarara in Uganda.
The first international donors of Uganda Martyrs Orphans’ project were Daniel Kelly and his wife, becoming the first donor and supporter of Margaret’s work and vision. Their generosity and goodwill inspired the accelerated growth of Margaret’s vision of educating Ugandan children in her one classroom structure now, The Great Aubrey Memorial College, a school that would later accommodate, molds and inspires over 1500 children each year until today. Since then, with the dedicated support from the international friends especially Ma Jaya Bhagavati of Kashi Ashram, The Anthill foundation, Inter- Ethnic Alliance, Friends-Together, World Food Program, Healing by Design, The SOMO friends with the help of Angie and Andy, Engineers without boarders, The doctors from the US who help us with the medical students, Debbie, Rotary friends, The United Village Maher, Okaloosa Aids support Organisation(OASIS).The International Labour Organisation, The Government of Uganda‘s USE program and a collection of individual sympathizers and friends who support the good work that Margaret dreamt of and asked her brother to continue with, the centre has remained a fountain of hope for many vulnerable children and families. Some of the UMOP projects have nationally received recognition for service of vulnerable children. The Great Aubrey Memorial College and also Ma’s Junior School for children aged 5-25, have been among the best performing schools countrywide. The years that followed 2010 saw the Great Aubrey Memorial College produce the best student countrywide in the National Examination finals. Uganda Martyrs Orphans’ Project also runs Osukuru Skills development Institute, providing holistic technical hands on skills-based learning within our poor neighborhood.
Through UMOP initiatives – the community has been able to evolve, producing the best resource persons in all arenas of life. The Great Aubrey Medical Students Association (GAMSA) and Great Aubrey Old Students’ Association, Tororo (GASAT) bring together UMOP alumni in the medical field and former students for community service termly. The UMOP friends of Hope project, nurtures gifted and talented children in different respective disciplines especially performing arts of Music, Dance, Drama and various sporting activities which builds the young people’s aspirations.