Ugandan Student Overcomes Orphanhood

Soccer standout Geofrey Kalanzi plans to use his business marketing degree to help homeless children in his homeland


Geofrey Kalanzi, a native of Kampala, Uganda, was orphaned at age 13 after both his parents became fatal casualties of an AIDS epidemic that has claimed 15 million lives on the African continent since the early 1980s.

Along with two brothers and a sister, Geofrey was suddenly homeless with no prospects in a country with nearly a million AIDS orphans.

“We lost everything,” Geofrey remembers. “My mother was a successful businesswoman and my father worked as a vehicle mechanic. After they died, we had to find our own way.”

Searching for the means to obtain medical care and an education, Geofrey eventually encountered Aimee and David Kyambadde, the managing directors of Home Again, an orphanage for boys near Kampala, Uganda’s capital and a modern city of 1.2 million people near Lake Victoria. The name Kampala can be traced to early British expeditions and means “hills of the impala.”

Originally from the United States, Aimee Kyambadde met her husband David while attending a conference in Uganda. A businessman and former boxer, David was from Mbale, a city of 50,000 near Kampala. Aimee’s parents are the senior pastors at theResurrection Life Church in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Geofrey Kalanzi (left) at the Home Again orphanage in Kampala, Uganda (courtesy of Alex Fournier)

Geofrey Kalanzi (left) at the Home Again orphanage in Kampala, Uganda (courtesy of Alex Fournier)


“David and I decided that we needed to help the street children of Kampala,” Aimee Kyambadde said. “We built relationships over time by showing the children that they were not defined by their time on the streets, which was just one experience in their lives.”

Earning the trust of wary orphans was not easy, but Aimee and David eventually brought 50 male children into their home, founding an orphanage built on love and mutual respect. That was back in 2001 when a police initiative linked to national elections triggered a crackdown on Kampala’s homeless population.

With permission from the chairman of a local village, the couple established Home Again as a place where orphaned children could be safe and belong to a family.

“We gave the boys responsibility because they had lived on their own and knew how to take care of themselves,” Aimee said. She saw from the outset that her charges had grown up too fast to be treated as typical children.

Along with two brothers and a sister, Geofrey was suddenly homeless with no prospects in a country with nearly a million AIDS orphans.

All Aimee and David asked in return was for the children to uphold Home Again’s good reputation in the neighborhood. That request was honored without exception.

During Home Again’s early days, the Kyambaddes took in Geofrey Kalanzi and his brothers even though the orphanage was full and funding was limited. Aimee looks back on that decision with pride.

Geofrey, now 21, and his brother, Moses Kabogoza, now 23, proved to be exemplary role models at the orphanage. Moses took up the important duties of Home Again’s housefather with Geofrey accepting the position of assistant housefather. Ronald, the youngest at 17, was the first to live at Home Again and still lives there today.

Geofrey Kalanzi

Geofrey Kalanzi

Moses Kabogoza

Moses Kabogoza


The brothers played on the orphanage’s soccer team, competing against tough local teams. Their talent for the game offered opportunities to extend their horizons beyond the shores of Africa. Geofrey earned a scholarship to attend a three-week athletic conference in Cologne, Germany, during the summer of 2007.

“That was a great experience,” he said. “One added benefit was that I received my passport, which came in handy when the time arrived for me to move to America.”

Aimee Kyambadde had returned the U.S. where she met Katie Nelson, a player on the 2006—2007 Blue Knights women’s soccer team who was interested working in Uganda. Through Katie, Aimee met Cam Stoltz, the head coach of the college’s women and men’s soccer teams. Athletic scholarships were arranged that allowed Geofrey and Moses to attend DCTC, playing soccer while studying for their degrees.

“They live with my parents in Eden Prairie,” said Aimee, who divides her time between Minnesota and Uganda. “David and I think of Geofrey and Moses as our sons. They are incredible young men, hard-working and very friendly.”

Geofrey K. (DCTC goalkeeper 2007-2008)

Geofrey K. (DCTC goalkeeper 2007-2008)

(DCTC forward 2008-2009)

Geofrey K. (DCTC forward 2008-2009)


Geofrey related that Coach Stoltz and Nicole Meulemans, the DCTC director of Student Life, were instrumental in helping him adjust to life in the U.S.

Nicole enjoyed making feel him at home in an unfamiliar world that included snow and subzero temperatures along with a formidable language barrier. “Geofrey has endured and overcome many obstacles in his life, and it has been very rewarding to watch him learn and grow at DCTC,” she said. “I have no doubt that he will be very successful at whatever he decides to pursue in life.”

Graduating spring semester 2009 with a business marketing specialist A.A.S. degree, Geofrey has excelled both on and off the soccer field. During his first season, he played goalkeeper and won the Blue Knight Award, which signifies an unselfish commitment to the team.

As a forward during his second season, he made ç. Earning a 3.91 GPA for fall 2008, Geofrey was also named to the NJCAA Academic All Region Men’s First Team.

Moses Kabogoza at Home Again (courtesy of Alex Fournier)

Moses Kabogoza at Home Again (courtesy of Alex Fournier)

Elder brother Moses, a fullback and brilliant defensive player, was named the team’s Most Valuable Player and made ICCAC Region XI Men’s Soccer First Team All-Region. He also made the NJCAA Academic All Region Men’s First Team. Geofrey’s soccer career at DCTC is over, but Moses will be back to play again next year.

Geofrey is active in the Student Senate and the Multicultural Student Leadership Association. He serves as a DCTC Student Ambassador and is in charge of fundraising for the college’s American Marketing Association club.

After DCTC, he has plans to attend a four-year college to get his B.A. in marketing.  He also has hopes to play soccer at the NCAA level. His long-term goal is to return to Uganda and found an orphanage in Kampala that shelters both boys and girls.

“My sister Allen lives with relatives in Uganda,” Geofrey said. “She’s only fifteen and still needs to finish high school. I wish to return home to start an orphanage that will help girls like my sister who have lost their parents.”

Uganda has taken the lead in Africa in the war against HIV & AIDS. During the 1990s, dynamic government projects, comprehensive partnerships and successful public education drives helped slow the spread of the lethal and incurable disease, but the epidemic is still destroying thousands of lives.

Today, health care officials estimate that 940,000 Ugandans are HIV positive. In a country with a population of only 30 million, at least 2.2 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. A similar percentage of AIDS deaths in the U.S. would result in a number topping 22 million—or more than the population of Ohio and Michigan combined.

As a way to help Allen reach her goal of graduating high school and eventually starting her own college career, the Multicultural Student Leadership Association will be holding an event to raise funds that will assist in her education.

MSLA International Potluck Fundraiser
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Dakota Room A
DCTC Rosemount Campus
1300 145th Street E., Rosemount, MN 55068-2999
For more information, contact:
Xuong Tran
Multicultural Student Recruiter

To learn more about Home Again and the plight of orphans in Uganda, see Abanunule: The Redeemed, a film written and directed by Alex Fournier. Geofrey and Moses, along with other boys from the orphanage, served as the movie’s supporting cast.

“I made Abanunule to show the former orphan boys of Home Again in Kampala, Uganda, that their stories are worth telling, and to teach them that they do indeed have a voice and it is worth listening to.” — Alex Fournier

Geofrey (right) with Abanunule director Alex Fournier (second from left) and two other cast members (courtesy of Alex Fournier)

Geofrey (right) with Abanunule director Alex Fournier (second from left) and two other cast members (courtesy of Alex Fournier)