Daniel Tulibagenyi fully surrendered to God’s calling in his life, and on roads and into a part of his past that has opened his eyes to needs beyond what he alone could fill.
He questioned, he wondered, but kept following God’s voice, and was soon led to his native Uganda, providing clothing, food, and medical assistance at the Kireka School for Children with Special Education Needs.
And Tulibagenyi, founder of Promise International since 2018, does this from his home in Montgomery.
He arrived to America from Uganda in 2015, after which he said God called him into ministry school. He soon found himself at Highlands College, part of Church of the Highlands. Graduation requirements include taking a mission trip.
Through prayer, God sent Tulibagenyi back to Uganda.
“I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, really,” he said.
But he had a dream of tired women and undressed children lining up to get water from him.
“They looked like refugees, and I was determined to go and serve in one of the refugee camps in Uganda,” he said. “After a while, I connected with a pastor friend in Uganda and his assistant recommended to me another place of service and that was Kireka School for Children with Special Needs.”
While on the plane to Uganda, Tulibagenyi said God told him He would show him the place where God needed him to go.
And that when he arrived, He would send rain.
He ended up at Kireka School, located just over seven miles from Kampala City, the capital of Uganda. It has been government-funded since the 1980s, with special needs serviced including epilepsy, Down Syndrome, autism, ADHD, and bi-polar.
The school has over 100 students from ages 5-35, and when Tulibagenyi arrived as part of his mission trip, he saw they needed food. Mattresses. Shoes. Clothes.
And when he was there, it began to rain.
Since 2018, Promise International has asisted Kireka School by supplementing the feeding program, providing eggs, milk, and beef for weekly nutrition.
“I came back to America, and my heart was wrecked,” Tulibagenyi said of his visit to the school. “I shared the story about the kids needing (items), and I raised support and went back in 2019.”
And again in 2020. And since then, the help has increased, with Promise
International now able to support five centers – operated by other ministries – with a vision of opening their own school for children with special needs.
“Special needs children in Uganda are treated as outcasts,” Tulibagenyi said. “Even their mothers are disregarded. Some of them are not given much food or meals. So during the Covid crisis, some of these children died.
“You can see the enemy has blinded people. Our ministry helps the special needs children and their moms and (other) children. We try to share the gospel with them and share that the children are created in God’s vision and that we are there to support them.
“Everything we do is for the love of God. We are representative, God sent us. We are not doing this in our power, but because Jesus loves them. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Tulibagenyi is able to help spread the gospel himself due to his own conviction. Married when he arrived to America, he was later divorced, became homeless, and slept on Montgomery streets.
“I didn’t know anybody,” he said. “One guy I knew helped me, and prayed. And God told me to go to Highlands College. I didn’t have money, nothing. I finished college without paying money. I’m so thankful God used everything to do that.
“I’m seeing God’s goodness and His love. Sometimes, we go through a lot of challenges. But when we surrender to God, God will lead you. I’m so thankful for what God is doing for not only me, but other people.”
Every year, Tulibagenyi takes trips with Americans to see what is being done at Kireka School. Hundreds, he said, support Promise International in these efforts. People from throughout Alabama, Virginia, Florida, and California.
“We want to have more people come with us to Uganda,” he said. “I really want them to come and see what God is doing. It’s one thing to donate; it’s another to come and see.”
Promise International has formed a partnership with Uganda Christian University to train students who have the passion to reach out to children with special needs, Tulibagenyi said. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the university earlier this year, and is a formal agreement between the two entities to collaborate and work together towards a common goal of improving the lives of children with special needs in Uganda, according to the university.
The MOU signing marks an important step towards providing better services to children with special needs in Uganda. The partnership between UCU’s school of social sciences and Promise International will likely lead to the improvement of community engagement, research initiatives, and projects aimed at improving the quality of life of children with special needs in Uganda.
The parties will jointly develop specific scopes of work and cooperation activities, which then will be the subject of a written agreement that contains applicable operational and legal terms, according to the university.
“They’ll be going out into the fields in June,” Tulibagenyi said of university students. “These students will be difference-makers. (Some) of them will stay in communities for 10 weeks. They will be able to do outreach and talk to their community. The students will be agents, sharing Christ with the community.”
Tulibagenyi doesn’t have children with special needs, and says the focus of his ministry is “because Jesus presented it. My purpose in this world is to obey Christ. In Uganda, I was into political things, and I thought I was going that route. When I got here, I want to prepare and maybe go back and get into politics.
“But then He led me to His purpose. As believers, we have to seek our purpose. When I keep following Him, He’ll provide my purpose with Him. I’m always amazed to see how God works. The last trip in February, we had four continents represented. All in one place serving the King. I’ve seen God’s goodness and what He’s doing.”
Tulibagenyi receives help from the community – friends and a couple of churches. But he remains steadfast that God sends people.
“I have a need, but raising money is hard,” he said. “What do I do? I just pray. And people will say, ‘Daniel, how can we help?’ They’ll buy medicine and shoes. I’m not good at knocking on people’s doors. When I share my story, they ask how they can help.
“We helped 2,000 families during Covid with food. At that moment, God told me I could help more people (in Uganda) if I was here. It is a matter of timing. Maybe I’ll be here for a long time, or maybe when it’s time, God will speak again.
“We all live in a broken world. We have different minds and a different set of eyes. It took me some time to learn that in all things, God will take bad and turn it into good.”
To donate, or for more information:
Visit Promise International online at www.promiseinternational.org.
Kym Klass is a contributing writer and Communications Director of the Media Ministry at Frazer Church in Montgomery.