St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood (SMKOM) is located in the village of Kajjansi (a suburb of Kampala, the capital of Uganda). Nestled alongside a heavily rutted red dirt road with a contant flutter of activity from local patrons of the marketplace and the beeping of the boda-boda motorcycles, SMK provides a sanctuary of safety, education, and love for 150 orphans (ages 5-18 years old) who have lost their parents to tragedies such as the horrors of war in Northern Uganda or the ravages of AIDS. Although the majority of the orphans are native Ugandans, some children have been rescued from deplorable circumstances in the neighboring countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan, Congo, Chad, and Niger.
St. Mary Kevin is a non-governmental organization founded by Rosemary Kavulu in 1987. SMKOM's name pays homage to "Mary", the mother of Jesus; "Kevin", a Ugandan saint named Sister Kevin who kept children foremost in her heart; and "Motherood", to serves as an important reminder to the community of the importance of family and raising children-not merely housing orphans. The sense of family is palpable as you enter the gates of SMKOM, and Rosemary (with the significant support of her husband, Joseph, and daughter, Joan Faith) instill a sense of family amongst every orphan living at SMKOM.
In addition to being home to 150 orphans, St. Mary Kevin also provides quality education as a Primary School for pupils pre-Primary- Primary 7. SMKOM became one of the first schools to defy social barriers in Africa to successfully integrate orphans in the school's population.Today the school averages around 450 students and 22 staff (both teaching and support services). Within the classroom environment, it is virtually impossible to distinguish day scholar and orphan.
Rosemary has been recognized as an innovative leader and highly respected within the community. She is an advocate for orphans and believes strongly in raising stong, successful, resourceful, contriubting members of Ugandan society. As she walks through the gates of SMKOM, she is reverantly greeted as "Mama" by all of her children, a place they all proudly call home.