Carli and Robert
Something stopped 22-year-old Carli Travers from passing six street children huddled together, begging on the busy streets of Kampala three years ago.
On this day, she just couldn’t keep walking by them, and instead took the children back to her one-room apartment and made a promised to raise them. And so began Carli’s journey. While this was certainly the undertaking of her life, the Coquitlam, British Columbia-native has always had a need to give back.
She volunteered and worked with people with mental and physical disabilities, at-risk youth and people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. She has also participated in several overseas outreach projects in the Caribbean and Mexico, helping with the construction of homes and hospitals and community programs for children.
She attended Douglas College where she received her diploma in Community Social Service Work. For her final practicum, Carli was sent to Uganda with four fellow students where she worked in an HIV/AIDS clinic in Masaka, Uganda for two months.
It was in January 2007 when Carli went back to Uganda to resume her relationship with Robert when she came across the six street children, and her family started from there.
Robert Birungi was born in 1984 in Uganda and was orphaned at a young age. His childhood was spent being passed around to different family members. He ended up staying with a step-mother where he suffered from daily beatings and where his need for love and security were completely disregarded.
Fortunately, Robert was able to attend school and performed extremely well. Because of his outstanding accomplishment, and good fortune in receiving a government sponsorship, he was able to study Engineering.
Through Robert's hardships, he knew that if the opportunity ever presented itself, he would help as many children as possible to experience a loving family and self-respect. Culturally at odds with most Ugandan men, Robert strives to demonstrate his love and commitment for his children equally with his wife and partner Carli, and is focused on being an outstanding role model for his sons.