Our History


Barb Retelny, President of Partners in Mission USA, first met Rev. Canon John Mulindabigwi when she visited Uganda in 2002. At the time, Rev. John was the newly appointed coordinator of PIM Africa.

In 2005, Rev. John was inspired to begin a secondary and vocational school in Kamwenge, Uganda. He and his wife Jolly decided to sell some land they owned and use the proceeds to purchase 20 acres of land to build Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School for the community.

Rev. John and Barb stayed in touch and in 2006 Barb returned to Uganda to visit Rev. John.

During Barb's 2006 visit, John took her to Kamwenge and showed her the land and first walls for the school. He wondered aloud how he would pay to build the school. Barb was touched by John's vision and determination, and by the need in the community. After discussing plans with John, she returned home to Glen Ellyn and began sharing the vision with others in her church and elsewhere.

In 2007, Partners in Mission USA was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization communicating the work and vision of Partners in Mission Uganda to provide financial support for the construction and operations of Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School. In 2010, Good Shepherd Kindergarten and Primary School was opened on the KSVS property. The schools are growing and now provide education for over 800 students.

Our Mission is to promote God’s love to marginalized children of Uganda by providing education, community development, and Christian Discipleship.

Our Vision is to prepare future leaders and equip them with the education and Christian principles that will enable them to reinvest in and lead their communities.

Together with our partners we are joining God’s call to improve the lives and futures of the people of the Kamwenge District, Uganda. It is our belief that all people are God’s children and deserve an opportunity to live their lives with dignity and opportunity so they can become all that God intends them to be. Through KSVS and GSK, lives are being transformed as the cycle of poverty begins to break.


Kamwenge & Uganda


Progress and Transformation

Uganda is endowed with very rich resources, occupied by well-meaning generous, happy and peaceful people. But Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world.

In 2012, 37.8 percent of the population lived on less than $1.25 a day but enormous progress has been made in reducing the countrywide poverty incidence from 56 percent of the population in 1992 to 24.5 percent in 2009. Poverty remains deep-rooted in the country's rural areas, which are home to 84 percent of Ugandans.

Kamwenge is located in the Southwestern region of Uganda. Kamwenge is a rural community of mostly subsistence farmers, the majority of whom are returned refugees.


The Kamwenge District

The District is considered one of the poorest and most challenged districts throughout Uganda. A recent Uganda study showed children from Kamwenge District rank second in malnutrition in the entire country. Many citizens are former refugees who returned home in 2002 after being displaced from their homes in the 1970’s by Idi Amin. The Ugandan government offered these families small plots of land where they survive as subsistence farmers. Most families live in mud houses and survive on $2.00 (US) per day.

Partners in Mission preaches bringing hope and causing transformation in the lives of the people of Kamwenge of Ugandan returnees chased out of Tanzania. They started out with only the land allotted to them by the government of Uganda. Their future remained uncertain with growing population, without education and no sustainable income sources. We determined that by educating the younger generation we would liberate their mind and develop skills and Godly values would create a bright future.

If you want to change a community you must start with it’s youth. Starting with just a handful of students we have built a campus providing education and skills. Where there was bush, a modern center of learning is flourishing; where refugee children had no hope, they are now facing the future with confidence; where ignorance was the order of the day children are yearning for more computers; where the community was feeling inadequate they are now not only productive but asking for more engagements. There has never been a more hopeful time for this community.
— Professor Jonathan Baranga, Board Member Partners in Mission Uganda