Born and raised in Kitgum District, Northern Uganda during the two decades of civil war between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the government of Uganda, Nestar experienced firsthand - life in the midst of civil war. In 1989, her family got displaced from their ancestral farm-home in Ogako Village, Padibe East to a small village in Kitgum Town Council after losing two of her brothers to the brutality of the LRA. Their home and possessions reduced to ashes.
After graduating from Makerere University, Kampala in 2005, Nestar returned home (in Kitgum) to work for AVSI - an International Humanitarian Organisation, providing relief and development services to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Kitgum and Pader Districts, Northern Uganda. Kitgum Diocese nominated Nestar to participate in an International Visitor's Exchange Program (IVEP) of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in 2006. The IVEP year in North America provided her and many other young people around the world an opportunity to work and live in North America; to share their cultures and experiences while learning the cultures of their host countries. Nestar lived in Winnipeg, Canada and volunteered as a Youth Engagement and Programme Intern at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank - a partnership of Canadian churches and church-based agencies with a mission to end global hunger. With her work, Nestar travelled across Canada - what a life changing year it was!
With generous support of friends in Canada and a partial scholarship from Maastricht University, Nestar left her country again for the Netherlands in 2008 to pursue a masters degree in Public Policy and Human Development. Her dream was to return to Uganda to help in rebuilding the community. However, Nestar continues to live in the Netherlands following her son's open heart surgery. She likes to give him the opportunity to access proper health care (as he still needs regular medical check-ups); an opportunity many parents can only dream of in Uganda. Togehter with here Husband Ed Grassere she founded UKEF in february of 2013.
Nestar's motivation to support children's education and found UKEF is her son's successful open heart operation. She thinks about many disadvantaged children around the world who never have the privilege her son had. She recognises that her son would not have had the operation if he had been in Kitgum, the community she hopes to support. Nestar dedicates this project and the school in honour of her son with the hope that it will create among other professionals more doctors, surgeons to provide proper health care and save lives in less fortunate communities.
Given the talent and available resources, what is the most effective way to help vulnerable communities? We are convinced that the best way to help those in greatest need is to invest in their future through providing opportunities for education. UKEF is confident that together, we can build a school that will provide affordable and quality education to the children of Uganda. To Nestar, education has been an eye opener and the reason she is able tell her story. She believes, each child in this world, irrespective of where he/she lives must have this chance to be able to one day tell their own stories to the world and education is the tool.
UKEF aims to build physical infrastructure and encourage a self sustaining curriculum. It promotes a teaching philosophy that embraces the local culture while at the same time bridges cultural differences. We ensure that Special-Needs children who would otherwise, not be able to attend school get financial and social support to be able to attend school. UKEF delights that you have an interest in Uganda. We earnestly hope that you will consider partnering with us in the effort to realize this Great Commission.