Creating a childhood and opportunity for orphans in rural Uganda
Beatrice's Story The Blue House founder
Beatrice Garubanda's portrait, at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, St. Paul, MN
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.
Beatrice 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, James and their children lived at Commonwealth Terrace on the U of M St. Paul Campus in the 1980s.
Beatrice at her graduation from Luther Seminary
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.
At St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church: Lydia, Josh, Ampa (on his Baptism day), Esther, and Beatrice. Esther now serves on HMI's board.
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.
Tutoring immigrant children at St. Matthew’s
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, she estimated 200 children were orphaned and in great need; many were homeless, hungry and unable to go to school. The traditional family network that cared for orphans was overwhelmed. Beatrice had to act.
Children were hungry and dirty, had no medical care, and many could not go to school.
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.
The original Blue House and some of the first girls
Beatrice died suddenly in 2005, right after establishing Hope Multipurpose, Inc. (HMI), a non-profit in St. Paul, MN, and a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Uganda.
The boards of directors in both countries, along with Beatrice’s family and friends, have continued her work, supported by churches, individuals, and other Ugandan-Americans.
Beatrice’s story continues. A new dorm has been built for up to 40 girls, and additional girls are accepted at the Blue House as HMI is able to support them. They live in a safe family-like home and have food, clothing, health care, mentoring, and support for education.
More girls live with relatives, with HMI supporting their education. And young women who grew up at the Blue House are now attending university and vocational school. Others have finished their education and are living as independent adults. Beatrice's dream is being realized every day.
But more children need our help. HMI needs you to help continue Beatrice’s story.