How We Were Founded

Father Lawrence (left) and Dr. Benitez (right) receive a gift of fresh eggs from a grateful villager.

Bright Eyes Uganda grew out of a friendship between Jacksonville, Florida, pediatrician, Dr. Norberto Benitez and his parish priest, Father Lawrence Mulinda.

One evening over dinner in 2004, Father Mulinda told the Benitez children that in his village of Kayenje, Uganda, it was the children’s job to collect daily water from a stream located nearly two miles away. Dr. Benitez soon offered to donate funds to dig a well in the village so everyone would have easy access to fresh, clean water. After much thought, Father Lawrence replied, “If you want to quench the thirst of the people in my village, what we need is a new church”. It was decided that night that if there was to be a new church, that the village also needed a new school. A fundraiser was planned and there was enough money raised that night to renovate the church AND begin construction on the new school building.

About Our Name

It’s said that when looking at photos of African children you can always tell the Ugandans by their big bright smiles and big bright eyes. But as children become teenagers they can lose hope for a bright future and – along with it – the light that once shone so brightly in their eyes. Hence, the name Bright Eyes Uganda was derived. And it’s the goal of the organization that donations of improved village infrastructure, clean water, nutritional food, accessible health care and a quality education will help the children of Uganda to continue to believe in and achieve the bright future they dream about.