Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mastercard Foundation has contributed 3.7 billion Shillings towards the restoration of the iconic Makerere University main building that was gutted by fire last weekend.
The contribution has been announced by Dr Reeta Roy, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the foundation as he extended the Foundation’s sympathy to the University Vice-Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.
“We understand that the efforts to repair and rebuild as well as recover records are considerable. To assist with these efforts, the Foundation would like to provide a USD $1 million in support to Makerere University,” his letter reads.
The Foundation and Makerere have enjoyed a close relationship for years as the former supports a number multi-million projects at the institution on top offering scholarships to academically bright but economically disadvantaged youth.
Mastercard becomes the first organization to extend monitory support to help in the restoration of the 79-year building which is known world over as the face of Makerere. However, many others have also shown willingness to donate to the cause prompting the university council to approve the idea of making fundraising drives.
To date, the university, working with several government agencies and ministries is still trying to assess the loss and thereafter compute the amount of money needed to rebuild the tower to its past glory. Before it was destroyed by fire, the building was valued at 15.4 billion Shillings.
Dr Tanga Odoi, the chairman of Makerere University convocation earlier suggested that each of the hundreds of thousands of alumni should lead the fundraising by contributing at least 20,000 Shillings to the project which they want to finish before the much-awaited 2022 centenary celebrations. But, a section of people have asked government to take on the task.
Built in 1941, the Ivory Tower is an iconic piece of architecture and a symbol of education excellence not only in Uganda but also in the east and central Africa. Standing tall in white and blue colors, the building has been seen as national pride and heritage appearing on postage stamps, post cards and on the national currency.