A Personal Reflection of the Man Isaac Ssamba

Isaac Ssamba known affectionately as The Chairman or Master Isaac is the Founder and Executive Chairman at Ssamba Foundation and is probably the most amazing person I have ever met.

He comes from a background of peasant farmers, his family was not wealthy, and Isaac had to work to pay for his own secondary education.

To do this he worked in a stone quarry, making bricks, fetching water and pottering on buildings. Not neither working crashing stones in a stone quarry nor collecting buckets of mixed sand under the African sun are the easiest of jobs or well paying, in fact both are really hard backbreaking labor, yet Isaac having completed primary school wanted to go on to further education.

His family could not at that time afford to pay for his education so he went to his teachers and asked how he may be able to fund it; this is what they asked him to do. Now add to this that as many African kids have to do to this everyday he had to also help at home and he had to walk 16 km a day just to get to school and back.

On finishing his high school education Isaac went on to study as a civil engineer, once more to pay for this education he worked on buildings (unfortunately he did not complete this course due to lack of enough school fees).

He diverted to Psychosocial Counseling and Environment studies. Isaac rarely talks about these times I know that they were very hard indeed for him.

I believe that for every volunteer who goes to Ssamba Foundation, will be taken to the Stone quarry where he one day fell from top to down after a long day without lunch. I am sure that it is one of the reasons he is so passionate about keeping the Ssamba Foundation projects and services completely free and for orphans and vulnerable children who could not otherwise afford any education, healthcare or social services.

While working with a certain organization, Isaac came to see the dire needs of his people and how HIV Aids, Malaria plus many other diseases and Poverty was affecting his people. He also saw that because of poor nutrition even something as simple as worms could kill many infants and children.

He also saw how the main aid organizations spent much of their time in 4×4′s driving up and down paved roads never venturing far into the village to help those in real need and how they spent much time in 4-star hotels. This I think also affected his thinking.

So instead of betraying his chosen career for which he had worked so hard to train he founded Ssamba Foundation. He set up throughout many villages of Mukono district a chain of outreach counselors whose job it was to report to him on any who really needed help.

Those of us who have worked with him will be aware of the hundreds of calls he gets almost daily from not only counselors but from people from many villages who find he is the only person they can trust to get proper advice and help from.

To fund this, he led groups of ‘volunteers’ out to villages which had previously received little or no aid at all. These groups gave and still give seminars and demonstrations on Aids, Family planning, hygiene, nutrition and many other subjects plus Isaac and his team give advice and help to those with HIV and other problems.

The fees he got from these volunteer groups were the sole source of income for Ssamba Foundation but gradually as time went on several of the volunteers realized just how valuable and unique a service Isaac and the organization were providing and have all helped to send some monies to help the Ssamba Foundation cause.

After his hardworking background, he was appointed the Mukono District Youth Representative on the Uganda National Youth Council, he resides on several boards of NGOs in Uganda, he is currently the President of COGU (Coalition for Grassroots Organizations in Uganda), he doubles as the Country Coordinator for both Volunteering Solutions (Indian based) and Frontier (U.K based) volunteer travel companies and he started a tours and travel company. So, to this background Isaac earns enough for him and his family.

One of the most unique things about Ssamba Foundation is that not one penny is taken out in expenses; every cent is spent in Uganda at real grassroots level. Isaac lives a simple lifestyle, no fashionable clothes, bling-bling or any other of the accoutrements so much loved by most African men.

He still works 7 days a week and often 18 to 20 hours a day. He will hate me for telling people this but I believe it is important for them to know this. Isaac founded the organization at the age of 19 in 2006!

Volunteer with Ssamba Foundation and you will become part of the story of a legend in the making, for Isaac Ssamba truly is a man and a half.

Mark Williams

International Special Operations Director- Ssamba Foundation

International Volunteer No.1- 2007

Thank You!

Ssamba Foundation Communications Department