Who we are...

We are a women-led organization in Uganda, empowering refugees and their host communities. Our mission involves fostering community development and positive change through research, advocacy, and active initiatives, shaping a brighter future for all.

Meaning of Mbeleni

Mbeleni is a Kiswahili word meaning “the future”.

As the embodiment of the future, we stand as a beacon of hope and progress in Uganda. Our focus on empowering refugee women, youth, and children, along with their host communities, aligns with the very essence of our name.

Our History

The organization was founded by Professor Sarah Dryden-Peterson (a then PHD student from Harvard University), and her two research assistants, Kyohairwe Sylvia Bohibwa, a Ugandan and Jacques Bwiira, a Refugee of Congolese origin; Mbeleni was founded on recognition of the fact that while there are a number of efforts by government, humanitarian agencies and many other diverse stakeholders to address Refugee’s plight in Uganda, the scope is still small and calls for strengthening. 

The journey started in 2003, by Sarah Dryden-Peterson,  a then Harvard PHD student who conducted a 3-year longitudinal comparative study in Ugandan refugee settlements entitled "The role of education in the local integration of Refugees in Uganda" from which a series of research publications where made, including; Refugee education: Education for an unknowable future. Mbeleni was initiated in 2006 and  registered  by the NGO Board in 2018. 

The study was carried out in Kyaka II and Nakivale refugee settlements and in greater Kampala among Urban Refugees. It revealed that there was lack of access to quality education among refugees  and their host communities. In 2005, through a marathon run, Sarah raised some resources that was used to give back to the study participants (refugees and national children) by supporting them in their studies. That was the birth of Mbeleni Foundation. Sarah, now who is a professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Director of Refugee REACH Initiative continues to be the honorary member of Mbeleni Foundation.

A Stake holders' consultative meeting in Kyaka II refugee settlement.

Our Team

Our team comprises of seasoned professionals, experts in their fields, bringing years of experience and unparalleled expertise. They are dedicated, highly skilled, and extremely professional, driving Mbeleni Foundation's mission with unwavering commitment and passion.

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