Remembering Robert Gunsinze from Uganda National Teachers Union

Today we remember Robert Gunsinze, from our partner organization UNATU – Uganda National Teachers’ Union.

Robert died from Covid-19 in the midst of his life, in the midst of the fight against child labour. He is leaving behind a wife and five children of his own, and thousands of more children in Uganda that are in need of support and protection. As an education unionist Robert made it his life journey to get children out of work and into school. He was convinced that every child should be able to enjoy his or her right to education. He was fully committed to reach out to children that are out-of-school, making sure that each and every one of them gets a good quality education. He was reaching out to children in the most remote areas, children in the most vulnerable position. Robert was determined to give them the opportunity to learn, to read and write, to give them a better future ahead of them. Robert still visited the communities in our project area deep in Moroto near the gold mines end of May. Not much later he seemed to have gotten the disease and soon became more ill. He passed away only few days later.

We are all devastated by the news of the tragic passing of Robert. It is truly a shock for all of us. Our thoughts are with the family of Robert, his brother-in-law Ponsiano and of course his wife Peggy who is still recovering from the same disease. Our thoughts are also with the team in Uganda and close colleagues who have been working with Robert for so many years or maybe some more recently since the start of the WNCB programme. Juliet, Lucy, Benjamin, Akky and other membersof the Uganda team. Robert is leaving a great gap.

It is also devastating news for education colleagues in the Netherlands and at Education International. Trudy and Sam, Kristel, Pedi and Dominique, our thoughts are also with you. And surely his loss is felt by our allies in India,Venkat and Varun, and other countries across the globe, including Zimbabwe, Angelina and Hillary, who
have been working closely together with Robert. Robert was more than a colleague in many aspects. For many of us he was also a friend for life.

Robert has been a source of inspiration and true companion on our journey to realize children’s right to education, a most respected activist and advocate for children’s rights. We will remember Robert as a caring and sharing person, he was humble and outspoken at the same time, we will also remember his great sense of humor. He had a great heart full of compassion and commitment. We are grateful for his valuable contributions to our programmes and for his tireless efforts to change the lives of working and out-of-school children in Uganda.

We will surely miss him.