United Sikhs Directors in Africa: Joshua’s message from Rusinga

Human stories the world over are the same – the triumph of faith in the divine in all of us. United Sikhs Directors are in Kenya and narrate their impressions from interacting with the local communities.

The first in the series is a touching story of someone who would like to share the gift of vision with his community in Rusinga:

UNITED SIKHS Team traveling to Rusinga island

Rusinga Island in the Nyanza District of Kenya is in Lake Victoria – the second largest lake in the world in terms of surface area after Lake Superior (USA). The Island is less than 100 km south of the Equator. Its temperate climate makes it a viable destination for tourists all the year round. There is a causeway connecting the island with the mainland. One can drive all the way from Nairobi or come through Kisumu cross by ferry from Lwanda (Naya).

Joshua was visually impaired in 1999 due to cataract. He learnt to live with it till Jaswinder kaur, Director, United Sikhs Kenya met him in 2008. She was on one of her campaigns to assist in medical treatment for people from remote areas who could either not afford it or went without it simply because Medical facilities do not exist in or near their communities. She brought him along with many others from the community to Nairobi for eye surgery. They got their vision back and today, Joshua is a happy man.

Joshua Oyugi in Rusinga on donated land with Jaswinder Kaur and Gurvinder Singh


He can see again and how – he sees a small clinic in his community for which he has donated a piece of land to UNITED SIKHS. He envisions the makeshift school near his land to have a better structure and an ambience where children can learn and grow to be proud citizens. He would like to see his community share in the mainstream economy starting with the basic benefits that they deserve.

Director of UNITED SIKHS from New York, Hardayal Singh mentioned how small things like a chair or a book can light up a child’s face. The simple concept of lunchtime at school does not exist for many children because their parents can only afford one meal a day. The beauty of this Island and other tourist attractions in Mbita nearby are enthralling, but not so the lack of basic amenities for the communities that live here.

Primary School Children in Rusinga with UNITED SIKHS

There is a need for a mobile clinic to rush children who suffer from snake bites to the nearest hospital – locals narrated instances of Python, Alligator, and Hippo attacks.

Dawn is not far though. Our team has had the opportunity to spend some time with the locals and other volunteer organizations that work in these areas. Volunteers work with local leaders without consideration of race/religion/country or any other affiliations. Together, we will achieve Joshua’s vision – for children and communities everywhere.

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