Appreciating Life

Nathaniel Dunigan and Dorah Wanyana Dunigan

SOLES PhD candidate provides help where it’s needed most

Every day Dorah Wanyana Dunigan awakens is another opportunity to cherish a priceless gift. It’s also instant motivation for her to be at her best in the classroom.

Her impressive academic résumé earned Dorah the chance to join a select list of students from around the world at a leadership and international cooperation program at USD last July.

The opportunity was a blessing for Dorah, who is HIV positive. A blessing is also how she describes both AidChild, a nonprofit organization that provides critical care for children severely stricken by HIV/AIDS and neglected in her home country of Uganda, as well as its founder, Nathaniel Dunigan, one of many Changemakers at USD.

“AidChild cares for orphans with HIV/AIDS who don’t have support from extended families,” says Dorah, who adopted Nathaniel’s name as a sign of respect. “It is a home with real hope, one that holds life precious.”

Appreciating life motivates Nathaniel, a Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership and a PhD Leadership Studies candidate in USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). He testified before Congress in 2002 about caring for orphans and vulnerable children in Africa.

“There have been many times when there have been difficult struggles, and this is when my colleagues in Uganda and I have to remind ourselves of the future that is to come,” he says. “Always being focused on the future empowers us to go through difficult times. I feel we’re just now seeing a glimpse of that future we’ve focused on for so long.”

Dorah, 20, aspires to become a doctor so she can help find a cure for HIV/AIDS. She’s also developed a business idea to help Ugandan girls from rural areas stay in school.

“There were many girls dropping out of classes, missing school for days at a time” she explains.” This idea can benefit them, letting them know nothing should keep them from getting an education.” — Ryan T. Blystone