The Promota Magazine

The Power of Kindness!: Her Royal Highness Sylvia Nagginda Luswata

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Her Royal Highness (Queen) Sylvia Nagginda Luswata is the wife of the King of Buganda, King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II. Buganda is the largest Kingdom in Uganda, with a population of over 7 million people.

Upon coming back from an 18 year long stay in the USA,  and after marrying the King of Buganda, the Queen decided to realise her dreams of making a difference in the lives of her people. She set up a fully-fledged office and started extensive charitable activities in many sectors in the Kingdom of Buganda. In 2000, she founded the Nnabagereka Development Foundation (NDF). The foundation helps children, the youth, the disabled, and women through socio-economic development initiatives including education, health care, community empowerment and the advancement of good cultural values and practices.

Maybe her most   important contribution to the revival and continuation of the Buganda cultural traditions has been the creation of The Ekisaakaate Program which aims to instil and strengthen in young people who participate in the program the very best human qualities such as self-knowledge, self-belief and self-control; responsibility, good leadership and good moral values, as well as a love and respect for their culture and their native language Luganda.

During a talk HRH gave at TedxEuston in the USA in 2011, she stressed the importance of challenging conventional wisdom.  She urged her listeners to challenge “development paradigm that do not work for Africans in their local context”, and also to challenge “the negative role of culture in development that has been sustained through pre- and post- colonial period”.

It is indeed important to retain what works in any culture and to abandon what holds back the progress of the people and the nation. At the same time, it is important to ensure the survival of  traditions that make a particular culture unique and that are an intrinsic part of the fabric of their lives, as long as the overall spirit is one of respect, unity and progress.

Beside heading the foundation, The Nnabagereka is also a Good Will Ambassador for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), Ambassador for Mama Club – an initiative of mothers living with HIV/AIDS, a Champion in the Campaign to End Pediatric HIV/AIDS (CEPA) in Uganda; and a torch bearer for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG3) to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Please visit www.ndfug.org   for further information on the Nnabagereka Development Foundation and how you can support the important work it is doing in Uganda.

 

Note from Feature Editor Isabelle Gravenstein

I am very much inspired by the work that Queen Sylvia Nagginda Luswata has started and sustained for the people of her Kingdom.  It is witnessing such commitment to the welfare of humanity that restores my faith in human kindness and generosity.  In times when we see so much hardship in the world, wondering how we can make a difference, The Queen is showing us that we indeed can. At the Ted talk mentioned in the article, she also said, ‘if you have the love of the people on your side, the opportunities are endless’. And indeed they are. What matters is to decide to transform our desire to help into concrete projects.   Every life that is lifted up, improved, or healed is worth every effort put into any project.

I also love The Ekisaakaate Program that is pulling young people back into the fold of true African culture in the most positive ways. I personally think that Western influence has spoilt the nicest elements of the African culture, rendering them less ‘cool’ in the eyes of the younger African generation.  The balance needs indeed to be redressed, where one’s own culture is embraced and appreciated for its own worth, without comparison to the Western culture that has its fair share of negative traits.

A kind heart can make a tremendous difference in the world, one life at a time, as the Queen of Buganda has demonstrated for years. Let us be inspired by her work and make our own contribution towards a healthier, happier and more prosperous Uganda and the world at large.

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