Dorah Dunigan


Orphaned at a tender age, Dorah Dunigan is HIV-positive. Thanks to the hard work and care given by AidChild, however, she is doing so well with her life and her studies, and she wants to help other children living with HIV/AIDS. She hopes to stand as an example, inspiring the children to believe there is still hope. Her dream is to bring them together and teach them to love education. As a productive member from an HIV/AIDS organization, she believes she can reach young victims in a way that others couldn’t.

“They will want to know more about my life,” Dorah says, “and how I was able to participate in this international cooperation program. [HSI] I will tell them about it and urge them to concentrate on their studies.”

Dorah wants to help in another way as well. She aims to become a medical doctor and is studying physics and chemistry. “I expect to have responsibilities like being in charge of a hospital or clinic.”

As a country greatly affected by conflict, Uganda desperately needs more such facilities. In Northern Uganda, the loss of lives, displacement of people, and increasing numbers of homeless children creates ongoing crises. “Kids run away from their homes to seek refuge mostly in Kampala, the capital city, hence the increase in street kids.” Dorah says. Rebel leader Joseph Kony and his followers have killed many people and have kidnapped and raped young and old, contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Conflict also led to the underdevelopment of communities because when war broke out, those with energy fled to the towns, leaving the weak behind. The sick and the elderly could barely care for themselves, let alone rebuild infrastructure.

Dorah attends a school with many language barriers. Students come from different tribes with different languages and cultures. Dorah believes she has a skill of associating and interacting with diverse people, guiding and advising by trying to see the world in the way that her fellow students do. They, in turn, elected her to the student council where she serves as chairperson.

“We had an experience in which the council secretary fought with a student,” Dorah says. This created so much tension that the students threatened to strike and had to be calmed by the police. Dorah saw that many leaders do not understand what effective leadership is. She believes that most people in her country and elsewhere take it as a state of having power over others. If the brash secretary had understood what it means to be a good leader, he would have tried to guide and direct the student, and inspire him rather than fight him.

Dorah admits to having made leadership mistakes as the chairperson on her student council, but has gained valuable insights through HSI and the international student leaders it assembled.   She believes the experience will increase her chances of getting a job with responsibilities for an international impact and even finding a possible cure for AIDS.

Dorah was one of four awarded a special donation from HSI to develop and distribute low cost sanitary napkins to Ugandan female students so they won’t be embarrassed to attend school during their menstrual periods. This simple and practical product could empower women to stay in school and achieve more for their country.

Being a solution-oriented medical doctor means, to Dorah, inspiring, guiding, and directing others to set and achieve objectives in addition to skills and experience. She hopes to acquire global tools in her work of thinking and learning about social change as she moves forward.