Robinah Muganzi, Set Her Free’s Founder & Director of Operations, knows all too well the challenges girls face growing up in Uganda’s slum communities. Orphaned before her tenth birthday, she moved to Kampala in search of a better life only to find limited educational opportunities and even fewer employment prospects. Still, Robinah managed to cobble together an income, but her feelings of immense vulnerability remained ever-present until a local nonprofit offered her a full-time position. After years of working within the informal sector, she finally had attained a level of financial stability that so few young women ever realize.
As a counselor to at-risk youth, Robinah not only gained invaluable experience, but she also discovered critical gaps in the services available to marginalized youth in the community. It quickly became apparent that, although girls and women face far more complex challenges than their male peers, there were too few, if any, organizations promoting sustainable solutions to address their unique problems. After unsuccessfully petitioning her already resource-constrained nonprofit to address this disparity, Robinah left her job, determined to found her own organization.
Together, with long-time friend and volunteer Robin Nestler, they launched an innovative social project: Set Her Free. Today, the organization provides comprehensive rehabilitative, health, educational, and vocational services to girls and young women living in some of Uganda’s poorest communities.