Beatrice Garubanda saw orphans in desperate need in her home village in Uganda, and she started the Blue House.
This is her story.
Beatrice was born on Christmas Eve, 1955, and was raised in Kazo, Uganda, in Africa. The first in her family of 14 to complete high school, she obtained her Diploma in Teacher Education. After teaching secondary school in Kenya and Uganda, Beatrice married James and they started their family.
She and her family left their home in Uganda during the time of Idi Amin. After some time in Kenya, they eventually settled in St. Paul in 1987, where James was a student at the University of Minnesota.
Beatrice continued her own education. She earned an MA in Theology at Luther Seminary and an MA in Education from the University of Minnesota. Her family first attended St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, where she received financial support for seminary.
After joining St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Beatrice started a tutoring program for immigrant children. She was also a founding member of the African Christian Fellowship, and worked with the International Student Association at the U of M.
When Beatrice was finally able to return to her beloved Uganda after 17 years, she was horrified to see the impact of AIDS and other diseases. In her own village alone, Kazo, she estimated 200 children were orphaned and in great need; many were homeless, hungry and unable to go to school. Girls were especially vulnerable. The traditional family network that cared for orphans was overwhelmed. Beatrice had to act.
She bought and cleaned up an empty store, gave it a new roof and painted it blue, "because blue is the color of hope." She hired a housemother, and the Blue House became home to 12 orphaned girls. The girls have been well cared for since 2004, and all are healthy and attending school.