The Norah Anena Foundation (NAF) is a non-profit corporation that provides scholarships, financial assistance and training for needy and underprivileged primary, secondary and vocational/technical students of Northern Ugandan descent.
The Norah Anena Foundation also engages in projects and initiatives aimed at restoring and promoting Northern Ugandan culture.
The inspiration for the Norah Anena Foundation
The NAF was created out of a desire to continue to help the people of Northern Uganda rebuild and thrive following the devastating protracted campaign of violence led by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Between 1982 and 2006, the people of Northern Uganda were held hostage by violence and fear brought on by the LRA’s violent movement and subsequent battle with Ugandan government forces.
The LRA terrorized primarily the ethnic territories of the Acoli and Lango people in Northern Uganda.
Kidnappings and killings forced the mass displacement of thousands of people. Although fighting ceased in the region around 2007, the suffering of Northern Ugandans is still very much ingrained in the people due to the psychological, emotional, economic and cultural trauma caused by the violence.
After fleeing the violence and terror of the Idi Amin Dada regime with her family in 1975, Gulu native Norah Anena arrived in the United States as a young adult looking to start a new life. After settling down in a career of nursing and raising a family of her own in Philadelphia, Ms. Anena never forgot her homeland, and remained ever concerned about the violence and extreme need affecting Northern Uganda.
She began supporting relatives and non-relatives through school using her own hard earned funds, paying the tuition of dozens and dozens of students, seeing many through their college degrees or high school diplomas.
Inspired by both her love for Northern Uganda and the resilience of the people, Ms. Anena founded the Norah Anena Foundation as a way to way to re-instill pride in her people and inspire positive change.
Arwot ki oda explained:
At NAF, one of our mottos is the well-known Acholi saying arwot ki oda, which means, I am a chief in my own house. This proverb essentially means that a person is always a king or queen in their own home. Whether rich or poor, one is always the ruler of their domain. We chose this proverb as a motto for NAF to reinforce the idea that throughout all the turmoil and ups and downs in the history of Northern Uganda, Northern Ugandans have the power within themselves to succeed. While many non-profits and non-governmental organizations have come to assist Northern Uganda, it is the Northern Ugandan people who are the key to rebuilding the region.