Photo courtesy the Henry Kalungi Foundation
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A veteran in the USL for the Charlotte Independence, Henry Kalungi’s hard work on the field is being matched by his efforts off the field to bring better lives to families in his native Uganda.
The defender created the Henry Kalungi Foundation with that goal in mind. This offseason he was able to return home to provide a Christmas celebration, and basic daily necessities, for hundreds of people in the Katanga district of the country’s capital, Kampala, the same city that he grew up in.
“Every year we go back home,” Kalungi told the Charlotte Post’s Ashley Mahoney. “The past few years I wasn’t able to go, because I was injured, and I was doing a lot of rehab, but still I would find a way for people back home to do the Christmas for the kids. This year I was very blessed to go back with my wife and some family from here.”
Kalungi has made more than 100 appearances in the USL, having also competed for the Richmond Kickers prior to joining the Independence, and has also made numerous appearances for Uganda’s national team. After the success of this off-season’s events, 29-year-old is now hoping to expand the scope of the foundation, and offer greater opportunity to those who need it most.
“We are looking forward to doing this even bigger to where we can feed more kids, because as much as we did there were kids who wanted more food,” Kalungi told Mahoney. “The goal of the foundation is not to come and do Christmas and then leave. We want to really make a difference in these kids’ lives, from where they live to everything.
“We are doing research to find a way to help them go to school. Back in Uganda, we have boarding school. Some school kids can get off the streets by going to boarding school. This provides them with meals every day, clothes and shelter. Sometimes we talk about things and we think, ‘oh that’s too big of a dream,’ but our main focus is to build our own school where we can gets kids off the streets and educate these kids. We want to teach these kids skills to survive in life.”