Norah Senkaba Birungi is resiliency embodied. The youngest of six children born to a Ugandan mother and Rwandan father, she was raised in Kampala, Uganda, at the height of civil conflict in the region. Her father served in the Rwandan army until he and his entire family were killed in the 1994 genocide. Her mother’s job as a hairdresser was insufficient to provide for the family so Norah’s brothers went to work at a young age to help out financially. She and her siblings lost the opportunity to attend school due to lack of resources. Overtaken by a strong sense of hopelessness and despair, she felt her life had no value or purpose.
When one of her mother’s clients learned that Norah wasn’t in school, she connected her to a local church for assistance. Norah was sponsored into Compassion’s child development program through that church when she was ten years old. She was able to return to school and receive a quality education. She also learned values and life skills, and was introduced to the transformative love of Jesus. Through the leadership development program, Norah had the opportunity to attend Uganda Christian University and obtain her bachelor’s degree in social work and social administration.
Norah lives in Germantown, Maryland, with her husband Godfrey and their three beautiful children. By God’s grace, the hardships she endured made her strong and resilient rather than bitter and despondent. A powerful advocate for children and the marginalized, Norah enjoys speaking on poverty, vulnerability, health and wellness, and her personal journey from desperation to hope.