Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) congratulates our board chair, Valentine Kalende (Val) on her admission to the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she will begin her doctorial studies in September 2012. Val has been granted the global Graduate Leadership Fellowship which will facilitate her PhD program in women’s and Gender studies for four years. The Fellowship is a merit-based grant given to students with sound academic record and strong background in leadership in their home countries.
Val is a founding member of Freedom and Roam Uganda. She held the positions of administrative secretary, programs and communications manager at FARUG before leaving for the United States in 2010 to pursue her masters. Profiled as one of the first board members of Sexual minorities Uganda and leaders with in Uganda’s LGBT movement, Val, has over the years played a pivotal role in using writing and journalistic voice to contribute to voices of those who have courageously fought for LGBT rights in Uganda. Val briefly worked on the media team of, and as a co-spokesperson with the Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, a position which prompted the U.S State Department to invite her to attend the International Visitor Leadership Program in August 2010.
“Being away from home and not being physically present during these past two years, which I believe have been the most difficult and yet opportune moments of our movement have been very difficult for me to deal with. I feel that I should be at the heart of the struggle in the physical sense of the word but at the same time, I know I’ve been truly blessed for the opportunity to see things from the outside, to reflect and to academically prepare myself for what I envision as the most challenging times of our struggle.” Said Val
Kasha Jacqueline, the executive director had this to say about Val’s admission to UBC;“I have never had any doubt that Val would achieve everything she has achieved. She is very focused and also always aims at achieving higher. She is a very hard working person and never let anyone stand in her way even during the most difficult of times in her life. Her strong religious background has also been of great help to her. She worked so hard for this movement even when many have left the country; Val has continued to be very active in the struggle in Uganda. I congratulate her and I am proud to have her as my Board Chair. She is a true Roamer as we refer to ourselves at FARUG. She is roaming in the right places at the right time. I wish you all the best this world has to offer dear friend.”
“Being an LGBTI does not mean that one can not pursue their goals. You can become whatever you want to be just like any other person. Val, we are with you in prayers in your pursuit for greater heights.” Junick Wambya.
“Val is an inspiration to us. To the staff, members of FARUG and the general LGBTI community in Uganda. Her achievements are phenomenal.” Jay Abang.
We all at FARUG are humbled by Val’s tremendous achievements over the years and congratulate her on this and wish her all the best in her endeavors.
May the good lord always lead and guide you.
Mentions of Val in press