TASO sets another milestone: Launches a House of Hope for persons affected by HIV and AIDS in Uganda.
As 2011 draws to an end, The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) is elated to record yet another milestone in restoring hope to people affected by HIV and AIDs pandemic in Uganda. The organization, with support from her development partners and friends, has completed the construction of a multi-million complex, named House of Hope.
The attractive building, located at Plot 10 Windsor Loop, Kampala, was officially opened on 16th of September 2011 in a grand ceremony presided by Hon. Princess Kabakumba Masiko, Minister of Presidency, who represented H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda.
The colorful event was attended by over 400 guests including members of the diplomatic community, representatives of development partners, Ministry of Health, Uganda AIDS Commission, leaders of various local and international AIDs Support Organisations and other civil society organizations, TASO governance bodies, TASO founder members, management and staff and above all, the gallant clients living with HIV.
In her remarks to launch the House of Hope, Hon. Masiko appreciated TASO for the innovativeness in the fight against the AIDS pandemic and for standing tall in the country and the world over in providing hope to people living with HIV. She pledged continued support to TASO and other stakeholders from the Government of Uganda.
The vision of the House of Hope was conceived as one of those strategies of sustaining provision and quality of HIV prevention, care support and treatment services to the TASO clients. Faced with the challenge of a growing number of clients seeking services especially following the initiation of ART programme, the available physical space and related resources at the Mulago Service Centre, which also housed the TASO Headquarters, were increasingly becoming inadequate. Therefore a need to decongest the facility at Mulago became more apparent and had to be addressed.
The management of TASO, with the approval of the Board of Trustees (BOT) then decided to construct a building to house the TASO Headquarters with additional space for generating resources for continued innovations and work in the provision of services to the clients and HIV prevention interventions.
The construction of the building commenced in November 2005 with the laying of the foundation stone in a ceremony officiated by Dr. Sam Okware, a prominent HIV activists and then a Director at the Ministry of Health.
The initial funding for the House of Hope project was provided by the World of Hope Foundation, USA. This funding followed a visit to TASO by a US Senator Bill Frist in 2005. During that visit, Senator Frist, a medical doctor, was taken around and briefed about TASOs work by the then TASO Executive Director(ED), Dr. Alex Coutinho and Dr. Matovu, then BOT Chairperson and Member of Parliament. Senator Frist was deeply touched by the great work TASO was doing in preventing HIV infection, restoring hope and improving the quality of life of individuals, families and communities affected by HIV infection and disease.
On going back to the US, Senator Bill Frist, M.D. nominated TASO to The World of Hope Foundation to be considered as one of the recipients of funds left over from former US President Bush’s election campaign. His nomination of TASO was accepted and gratefully, a generous contribution of US $500,000 was given to TASO, out of which about US $ 350,000 went into the House of Hope project.
The House of Hope project is one of the biggest projects that the current ED, Mr. Robert Ochai inherited when he assumed office. Together with his team, he raised additional funding from TASO friends from near and far, including the Board of Trustees, Staff, Subscriber Members and Clients, to complete this dream of a symbol of hope for TASO clients and friends. TASO pays great tribute to all the friends who contributed to make this big dream a reality.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Micheal A Strong, the PEPFAR Coordinator, US Mission Kampala, Uganda, noted that the House of Hope is an investment for people living with HIV and will generate revenue for TASO for years to come to sustain the excellent work on HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support. He urged all organizations to emulate TASOs example of looking outside our narrow boxes to find creative ways to fund and sustain the efforts to improve the health of all Ugandans. On their part, the ED, Mr. Robert Ochai and the Immediate former ED, Dr Alex Coutinho, noted that TASO‘s commitment to preventing HIV infection, restoring hope and improving the quality of life of persons, families and communities affected by HIV infection and disease, has resulted into the organization taking up a pioneering pace setter role in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country and the region. From the enviable milestones recorded over the years, the name TASO has now come to be synonymous with any initiatives in HIV prevention, care, support and treatment in Uganda.
The House of Hope is a modern facility, complete with a 400 seater conference facility/board room and a parking yard of over 30 vehicles. The facility also has a wall of memory of over 100,000 departed TASO clients. TASO is pleased to posses this facility on behalf of everybody involved in the fight against the HIV pandemic and especially the gallant clients who have given HIV a face. There is hope and together we shall fight on to defeat HIV so we can, one day, reach our vision of “A world without HIV”.