Our roots connect to Reverend Father Wijnand Huijs (Huys), a Dutch Mill Hill Father who was ordained a priest in the 1969 congregation. He came to Uganda for his pastoral work and worked in the Catholic Parishes of Kakira, Kamuli and Mbiko (Eastern Uganda).
He was torched by the influx of distressed children from all corners of Uganda and beyond. In the 1970s, many refugees from both Rwanda and Burundi were homeless and searched for work, shelter and food in the various parts of Uganda. Uganda experienced tough times then, with a poor economic performance, political unrest, and tribal conflicts.
During the 1980s, and 1990s, the HIV/Aids scourge was at its peak in Uganda, resulting in a large number of deaths of mainly caregivers/parents that left a huge number of children and youth in dire need.
Father Huijs devoted his life to caring for some of these vulnerable children and youth in difficult circumstances. He availed them the basic necessities like food, clothing, health care, education and shelter. Majority of the children were between 10-15 years old. Over the years, Father Huijs supported more than 250 children in the Parishes where he served.
The Reverend Father used Music in attracting and later, occupying them with sports, life skills and education. Music was a unifying factor that brought harmony among the youth. Music transcended all geographical, religious, social and ethnic boundaries and rested fears among children of the turbulent decades of the 70s and 80s in Uganda.
Father Huijs lived the motto: “In harmony we reach out to the world!”
Naturally, the tunes that came out of the various musical instruments, harmonized into single melodies that relaxed, comforted, rehabilitated and captured the interest of the youth.
When individual children acquired skills and professions, they left the parishes and took care of themselves. They became established musicians, medical doctors, human rights activists, religious leaders, business men and women and entrepreneurs who now command mega successful businesses; occupy and serve prominent offices, among other vocations.
When asked to say what exactly made them unique as descendants of “Father” (as children and community members fondly referred to him), Cornelius Gubi, one of the beneficiaries and now a pronounced car trader said that Father Huijs was and is a blessing to us. “He did not only teach us how to play music, but showed us why different instruments produced sounds they produced, the importance of every bit of an instrument and how to handle them in order to harmonize the different sounds. He corrected those who misbehaved; he showed us how to work, how to love, how to relate with others and how to live in dignity. He is a mentor everyone else needs but it’s good, we grabbed a few traits from him and can now share them out with a wider group of children and people”.
When Father Huijs was transferred to Britain at the beginning of 1994, many of his former beneficiaries realized the need to keep his legacy alive. After several discussions, the beneficiaries developed a vision and initiative to improve the welfare of disadvantaged, marginalized, and needy children and youth. Thus, Huys Link Community Initiative was formed, to continue the charitable work that Father Huijs started. The beneficiaries and Vision bearers became the HUYSLINCI (Founders) Forum.
The story of Father Huijs and his descendants reflects the true empowerment of a few to reach so many, a few lit candles continuously lighting up a multitude of others.