Brief History and Founders
RODI, a grassroot Christian organization located in the Rakai District of Southern Uganda, founded by a group of people who have lived their lives in Rakai and have been profoundly affected by the epidemic. The goal of RODI is to transform the lives of young people who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. RODI is dedicated to working with children, families and communities 'to develop leaders who are equipped and ready to serve their communities'. RODI serves all people, irrespective of their gender, religion, race, or ethnicity.
It was founded by Johnson Lwondo and Richard Mutaawe. Johnson’s parents died of AIDS when he was 11, leaving him to raise five younger siblings. Richard grew up with Johnson under very similar circumstances—orphaned at age 10 and left with three younger siblings to raise. The assistance they received from various organizations allowed them to complete school and obtain master’s degrees. It also inspired them to help young Ugandans in similar situations.
According to Johnson, “Knowing that I have survived and succeeded because someone reached out a hand of help to me, how can I turn away from those children who are now in the same place I was as a child?”
Johnson’s RODI co-founder Richard recalls that before starting RODI, “every time I visited the village where I grew up and saw old ladies struggling in vain to take care of orphans, memories of how I suffered came back. I wondered about what I could do to help until the time when we started RODI. Since then, I have taught to be able to care for my family but have found joy in supporting and loving the needy children”.