Meet Our Board
Current Members of the Board
Stephen Ssemaala, Chairman
Stephen is the founding member of Kamukamu Learning Foundation. He was born and raised in Uganda on the island of Bufumira in beautiful Lake Victoria. Stephen started his schooling at Bufumira primary school where he attended some of his early classes under a mango tree. After completing fifth grade he moved to Kampala to complete his schooling. After becoming a leading figure in Uganda’s efforts to deal with the spreading AIDS epidemic, in 1994 Stephen was elected to the Uganda Constituency Assembly, a body that debated and wrote a new constitution for Uganda that still guides the country today. In 1996 he moved to America with his wife Harriet and their four children—Simon, Diana, Brenda, and Stephaine. Shortly after arriving in America Stephen began taking advantage of its educational opportunities. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Global Studies and a law degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. Currently Stephen lives with his family in Olympia, Washington where he works for Washington Department of Social and Health Services as a contracts counsel. Stephen is also an adjunct instructor of Political Science at South Puget Sound Community College.
Hank Henry, Vice Chairman
Hank grew up in southern Indiana and moved to Washington 40 years ago. He spent his career as a social worker and counselor in children’s services, hospitals, and schools. He believes that individuals, families, and communities have the knowledge and skills to create their own unique solutions to whatever their problems might be, if provided the time, space and, resources. Kamukamu’s approach to providing resources to a village to assist with projects the village identifies as a community need seems like a natural approach to creating more educational opportunities for the children of Uganda. Hank is retired and lives in Olympia, Washington with his wife, Helen. Their adult daughters live on the East Coast.
Edward Dee, Secretary
Ed was born and raised around New York City but for many years has called the Pacific Northwest his home. Ed is a retired Senior Counsel in the Washington State Attorney General’s Office who currently represents the state’s largest social service agency. Prior to that he earned a master’s degree in counseling and spent ten years working with juvenile offenders in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ed is proud to be working with his fellow board members of Kamukamu to help villages in Uganda meet the educational needs of their children. He lives in Olympia, Washington with his wife and fellow board member Carolyn Carlson and has two grown children, Sarah and Nick.
Maija Sandberg, Treasurer
Maija grew up on an oyster farm on southern Puget Sound in Washington. She relates to the cultures she visits on other continents from a strong sense of place and a deep understanding of the importance of connections to others. Her personal mission is to shine light in dark places for good. Maija completed her master in social work senior internship in Liberia, where she conducted research in trauma recovery among child soldiers. Currently she provides leadership for client-based social service research systems that are used to answer critical questions about service delivery, outcomes for clients, and the cost effectiveness of state and federal programs. Maija is delighted to work with Stephen, Harriet and the Kamukamu board to support education in Uganda where the generosity from our communities can do so much.
Carolyn grew up in Portland, Oregon and spent much of her early adult years living abroad and traveling extensively to distant lands. These experiences fostered a love and respect for far away cultures and a deep appreciation for the ties that bind us. Upon receiving her masters in special education and community development Carolyn focused her life’s work on building communities where people with developmental disabilities are valued members. She currently manages a federal grant developing strategies for individuals with disabilities to become involved and employed in their communities. Carolyn is inspired by Kamukamu’s vision of empowering local communities. She currently lives in Olympia, Washington where she enjoys many outdoor activities, travel, and practicing yoga.
Helen grew up in northern Indiana but has lived in Washington State the past forty years. She is a retired pre school and elementary classroom teacher. In her recent travels to Uganda she visited primary schools and witnessed teachers working with 97 students in third grade and 150 students in a fifth grade classroom! They had limited supplies and few books. When Helen discovered Kamukamu she was excited to find a place where she could directly support the teachers and students of Uganda. She believes that ALL children deserve quality education and ALL teachers deserve quality working conditions. Helen lives in Olympia with her husband Hank. Their two grown daughters live on the East Coast.
Harriet grew up in village of Ngombere in Uganda. Harriet joined the board in 2011 and instantly developed a strong sense of devotion for Kamukamu Learning Foundation because of her own early education experiences in Uganda. Throughout her early education at Ngombere Primary School, Harriet lacked the resources necessary to learn. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for how Kamukamu seeks to improve the quality of education on her village, one child and one community at a time. As mother of four children, Harriet believes that every child deserves a quality education because it is critical to the development of both individuals and societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future. When all children have access to a quality education, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come. Harriet believes the key to success in any working relationship is to find a way to become “great partners” and have mutual respect for each other’s talents, cultural background, wisdom, and respective roles. Our global community relationships require continued investment and should never be taken lightly. Harriet lives in Tumwater with her husband, Stephen Ssemaala.
Diana Joan Nazziwa
Diana was born and raised in Uganda until the age of 15 when she moved to the Pacific Northwest. She received a BA in Human Services from Western Washington University with the goal of being of service to various professional fields. Diana’s passions in life are health and children. Her career has been with children supporting them in self-development & self-effectiveness. Education has had an impact on her upbringing through personal experience in both Uganda and the United States. She is very excited to be a part of Kamukamu, serving the children of her home. Diana currently lives in Seattle and runs a life coaching business that supports healthy lifestyles.