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Joel Balimanya, the Founder of the Tuzuule Art Project, was the 5th of eight children. Their parents had humble backgrounds — the father a pastor and the mother a housewife. Their impoverished life was quite difficult. By the grace of God, Joel was able to join an orphanage sponsored by African Children’s Choir (ACC), not because he had no parents but rather because his parents didn’t have enough resources to raise and educate their many children.

In 1993, Joel had the privilege to be selected for ACC’s traveling choir. At the tender age of 8, he toured the USA, UK, and Canada for 18 months, singing and dancing and sharing with others about his country. Then again in 1995, Joel had another opportunity to tour with ACC, this time to Seychelles and the United Kingdom. It was a life-changing childhood experience for Joel.

Joel went back to Uganda to complete his primary and secondary education. He continued on to college and majored in Art and Design, graduating in 2010. After university, Joel got an opportunity to travel with a colleague to Germany in 2012, with the aim of providing art workshops in primary schools, educating German children about African Art and the different cultures in Africa, particularly Uganda. During that trip, he was struck by the disparity of the educational opportunities between Germany and Uganda. On his return to Uganda, he felt he should give back to his local community as he had been helped by the ACC, this time using art as a platform to transform the lives of the children at the risk of poverty, starvation, and illiteracy. This marked the beginning of Tuzuule Art Project.

“My passions have always been ART and KIDS tending towards helping the poor, the orphans, street children, and others who are at risk. Having passed through such a life, at one point I thought all hope was lost. But my hope returned through the kindness and generosity of many Christian people I barely knew. Now I want to do my part to help disadvantaged children and young people who are the future of their motherland. They need reassurance that they too can become respected members of society. There is a purpose for their lives and someone loves and cares for them.

“I must say accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Savior at a young age gave me confidence that he who began a good work in me will be faithful to accomplish it to the end (from Philippians 1:6)”


In 2017, together with his wife, he established Tuzuule Art Project in Uganda. Now his dream is becoming a reality!