Edward K Sengendo
Eddie was born in Uganda, East Africa. When he was 8yrs old his mom and siblings fled to Kenya to escape turmoil, many in their family were killed or forced to stay. Eddie, his mother, and siblings lived for almost a year in a refugee camp in horrible conditions. He experienced death at an early age, witnessing children dying of starvation around him. While in the camp, Eddie made a promise to help kids, more specifically orphans, if he made it out alive.
“As a young child in a refugee camp in Kenya, many children surrounded me—some much older and others much younger. At seven years old, I thought to myself that life was unjust because it treated children and adults with equal cruelty. It was unjust because a child unknowingly suffered from the actions of others. However, as I grew up, I came to realize that young children become adults and as adults, we have the capacity to make the unjust for children just.”
Eddie’s family, received a lottery ticket to come to the United States. They lived for almost 3 years in a homeless shelter, Father Joe’s Village, in downtown San Diego, California. One Christmas, the kids were all invited to go to Rancho Valencia Country Club. One of the activities available to them for the day was tennis. New to the sport Eddie reluctantly picked up a racket. Wow, what a difference an opportunity makes. Eddie impressed many of the pros and adults at the club in just one day. He continued to get picked up at the homeless shelter to play tournaments and get lessons. He quickly realized this was the way to build the orphanage; he would use tennis to give back to others.
Fast forward a few years and Eddie is a professional tennis player who has played his way through high school, California State LA, and many professional tournaments. A car accident with a drunk driver landed him on the sidelines for a while. The dream of building an orphanage seemed impossible without tennis; however, Eddie was determined to find another way.
“As a young tennis sensation at age 10, I was asked what I wanted to do in life. My response, which surprised me and my interviewer, was "I want to win two grand slams, quit, and go use the money to open an orphanage." While I never did win the two grand slams, the dream of starting an orphanage has come true.”
Eddie decided to stay in tennis to be a teacher and now works at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club. When Eddie turned 30 he started to fulfill that promise he made as an eight year old boy in the refugee camp.
Rachel is on the Kimera San Diego team. She met Eddie in 2013 and agreed to help with the fundraiser, the rest is history. Now Rachel is leading the fundraising efforts as well as volunteer engagement in San Diego. She helps Eddie with annual fundraisers, presentations, and organizing the amazing people who are involved in helping Kimera grow.
She is passionate about making the world a more beautiful place, whether it be gardening at the local homeless shelter, volunteering for refugee center in Cape Town, or writing a grant for a micro-farming nonprofit. Rachel currently works as a marketing director for McKinney Advisory Group, a commercial real estate advisory firm headquartered in San Diego, California. Her main responsibilities include branding, networking events, social media, advertising, and coordinating Corporate Social Responsibility.
Rachel grew up in San Diego with her family including two sisters and a younger brother. Rachel obtained a MA in Medieval History at University of Chicago and a BA in Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She continues to take classes in marketing and nonprofit management – a perfect combination for her continued work with Kimera. She enjoys traveling, baking, photography, and running. She has a little red dog named Duchess and the two of them enjoy long walks on the beach! One of her most valuable skills is connecting people’s passions and talents with a way to make a difference.
Rachel looks forward to building Kimera, watching it grow, and being a part of the organization and children’s’ lives forever. She looks forward to many trips to Uganda and providing a bridges between the US and Uganda.
Alex is on the Kimera San Diego Team. He originally met Eddie on the tennis court in 2005 and they have worked together as friends ever since. Alex’s passions are tennis and running, which he utilize to further his efforts in fundraising for Kimera. Most recently Alex was able to attract support through his “Run for Kimera” marathon fundraiser. Alex is from San Diego, but is currently a student at Davidson College in North Carolina where he is studying Math and Physics with a minor in Chemistry. He will be spending six months in Africa in 2015 as part of an effort to pursue running on the professional level, however, he will also be spending part of that time at Kimera, as he and his family are eager to see Eddie’s dream become a reality.
Rashid is the Programs Director at Kimera Orphanage in Uganda. He is currently overseeing the day-to-day work in Uganda and building operations. Rashid began working for Kimera in 2012. When Eddie goes to Uganda the two of them are unstoppable in what they accomplish! When visitors come to Uganda, Rashid acts as driver, tour guide, and local expert.
Rashid has experience working for international organizations. He has worked as a music promoter, where he helped in discovering and promoting new musicians and worked for a cultural exchange group. Today Rashid owns a small business where he works in transportation as well as selling of agriculture and cattle. He has grown and managed a large plantation of pine trees and maize garden for commercial purpose. Through school and work Rashid has had opportunities to tour almost every part of Uganda and the neighboring countries of Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
Rashid, born and raised in Uganda, lost both his parents at the age of 11 and 15. He finished all schooling through college in 2006. Rashid is second of three children, all sisters. Rashid also enjoys volunteering for various NGOs focusing on helping vulnerable people. He enjoys promoting community based programs aimed to help with people’s well-being and sustainability. Rashid also enjoys traveling, touring, cooking, meeting new people, and new business ventures.
Rashid looks forward to building Kimera and employing locals in all aspects. His love of children shows when he talks about his hopes and dreams for Kimera.
Isaac is operations manager for Kimera Orphanage in Kampala, Uganda. He is in charge of assisting daily operations, all the nonpermanent workers, and will be a critical part in the construction of Kimera.
Isaac is an entrepreneur managing two furniture workshops selling both new and second hand/refurbished upholstered furniture. He makes many of the designs himself or customizes based on drawings. Isaac also manages a cattle business with contracts both with the farmers and meat processors. Isaac has a great deal of managerial experience having worked as a clerk with a fish processing company. In 2009-2010 he contracted with the US Army in Iraq during “Operation Iraq Freedom” as a security guard. Later he worked as a logistics clerk with EOD Technology Inc, a US based company. These experiences have given Isaac an international background and experience managing many aspects of business from clerical to managerial.
Isaac has one beautiful son named Ethan. His dad died when he was 10 years old, and is the second in a family of three. His mother continues to work with Watoto Orphanage giving Isaac the perspective on daily operations and the current situation of orphans in Uganda. He enjoys volunteering as a counselor in his church, reading the Bible, listening to music, and playing soccer.
Isaac is especially optimistic about seeing Kimera Orphanage get started building as well as helping with each phase of construction. He is looking forward to seeing many lives changed over the course of Kimera’s growth and promoting the individual talents of each child.
Zuliaka represents Kimera in all legal and paperwork functions as our attorney. She helped secure the property and NGO status for Kimera in Uganda. Zuliaka continues to keep up-to-date on all fees, paperwork, and negotiates with vendors and other service providers on behalf of Kimera. She also enjoys entertaining the US team when we come to visit.
Zuliaka graduated with her legal degree and began working for a property management company, assisting with taxes and legal forms. She represents many clients’ businesses through legal processes and going to court when necessary. Zuliaka also volunteers for local NGOs providing them with legal expertise and volunteering on site as well.
She is second of four children in her family, the only girl, which shows in her negotiating skills! She currently lives in Kampala in the Lubaga area. Her parents are retired teachers, her brothers are a doctor, banker, and student.
In her free time she likes to cook, attend comedy shows, and really enjoys reading on legal issues. She goes to the beach with friends and tours around Uganda. She hopes to come visit the San Diego team soon!
Zuliaka first got involved with Kimera in 2012 when Rashid asked for legal assistance. She secured paperwork and found the property we now call Kimera. She wants to help Kimera grow along with the children. She looks forward to giving the Kimera children a sense of family. Zuliaka is a crucial part of our continued and future success.