Edwin Barungi was only 8 years old and in Primary Four when his parents died of complication from the HIV/AIDS virus in 2001. Another member of the family, his sister, had passed on earlier when she was only six months old. Barungi is now the only surviving member of the family.
His actions at one point cost him happiness as he ended up at Naguru Remand Home, a rehabilitation centre that aims at giving unaccompanied children who are orphaned or abandoned support, education and counseling programs.
After a few months at the centre, Barungi went back to his family residence and started selling off some of the properties in the house in order to sustain himself and enroll and pay for school fees. “I was able to pay my tuition until I completed a certificate and diploma in photojournalism at Uganda Film and Television Institute in Rubaga. From 2008 to 2010,” he says.
Having learnt photography, Barungi decided to put his skills to use in 2011. He bought a camera using his savings and contributions from friends. The camera cost him about Shs3m. He built his client base in such a way that whenever he took photographs of friends, they would refer him to other people.
In March 2015, he came up with Photo For Charity, a project under his yet-to-be registered foundation Kusaidia. “It is a cause where I use photography to get proceeds to help other vulnerable people in the community. Our major focus is to help the needy,” he says adding, ““I initiated the idea after discovering my purpose of living. It haunted me for a while as to why I had to lose both my parents and young. How come it was only me who stayed alive? May be God wanted me alive so as to help other vulnerable people out there.”
In August, Barungi organized a charity event at Sound Cup in Garden City where members of the public would “pose for a cause” by having their pictures taken and printed. They would pay for them at the end and the proceeds were used for helping a widow who has six disabled children.
“I am still trying to lobby for help for them. We are trying to get wheel chairs for each child but also we want to renovate the home they are currently staying in. It is such in a poor state,” he says. Come December, he will be walking around the country for 50 days to get proceeds to help reduce maternal mortality rate in the country.
“This will be under Wake Aid another project still under Kusaidia Foundation. I will be alone but if there are people who want to join me, they are welcome,” he concludes.