One On One with Anne Dean: The Harmony Life Uganda Story.

The team at Harmony Life Uganda, in conjunction with Emiziki Entertainment are partnering for “We Declare” Concert and the former will be doing many more things for and with communities in Uganda. You might ask yourself, what is all of this about? Worry not! You are in safe hands. We had the once in a lifetime opportunity of getting in touch with Anne Dean, one of the co-founders of harmony Life Uganda. We went on a stalking activity – if you can call navigating the internet, stalking, then yes, we did that. We also discovered from their website that their motto is, “Promote Harmony, Speak Life!”
You might want to know that Anne Dean is actually our very own AJ Dean, that is AJ Dean  (AJ = Anne for Jesus) is her stage name – (Anne Dean is her real name). She has done a song with Lyrical Mycheal titled, Love Is Enough. Don’t be reading this with the, who-is-Anne-Dean attitude, you know her 🙂
It is extremely relevant to mention that Harmony Life Uganda has a series of events – for now, the “We Declare” concert featuring American singer, Ty Morris. We watched a few performances on Youtube, and his videos, as well as listened to something on ReverbNation. Trust us when we say that this gentleman is extremely talented and he can bring that energy. Well, why must we get into this now.
We will follow this post with the full details about Ty Morris and the concert. For starters, get to know what Harmony Life is all about. This is exactly how our interaction went.
Interviewer: What is Harmony life, when was it founded? By who?
Harmony Life Foundation was first started in 2012 by Jeff and Anne Dean in Colorado, USA.  Then, in 2013, Harmony Life Uganda was founded by Kenneth Bagonza and Anne Dean.  In 2015, Harmony Life International (USA)was formed to expand the work and provide more funding options and opportunities for more people to be involved in the work. 
Interviewer: What drove the founder(s) to open up Harmony life?
Anne Dean has family ties to Uganda as far back as the late 1960’s, when her Ugandan Uncle Omwony Ojwok lived with her grandparents – about the year she was born. Her Aunt Mary Westring and Uncle David Bersch also worked with Omwony and started a small non-profit doing work in the north during the war in the early 2000’s.  Anne has volunteered on projects in Uganda since 2007 for various organizations and she and her husband consider Uganda their second home.
Kenneth Bagonza was born and raised in Fort Portal Uganda.  He has volunteered for organizations in Uganda for most of his life.  He and the Deans are like extended family.  
Anne Dean aka AJ Dean at Love Is Enough Music Video Shoot with Lyrical Mycheal.

Anne Dean aka AJ Dean at Love Is Enough Music Video Shoot with Lyrical Mycheal.

Jeff and Anne Dean and Kenneth Bagonza and his wife Sue, all share a common desire to love and serve God and to love and serve people. Although Uganda is the Pearl of Africa with vast natural beauty, as we know, there are many needs of the people that go unmet, most especially children, the elderly and women.  Harmony Life minstries were formed out of a calling to reach out to the most vulnerable people, share the love of God and help lift them up in tangible ways for better health, education,sustainability and overall well-being. We also believe that music and the arts play an important role in humanity and that artistic creativity brings joy, self-expression and an opportunity to worship God and expand the Gospel of Jesus Christ in unique ways.  Therefor we also promote concerts, art workshops, and gospel artist mentorship programs. 

Interviewer: Since it is about women, what specifically do you do with and for the women? 

We currently offer tailoring classes for women who have little means to support themselves otherwise.  We also offer Bible study.  We also have a child sponsorship program for both boys and girls – giving them an education, mentorship, love, and whatever other basic needs may arise such as occasional medical care.

Interviewer: How did the founder and singer Anne Dean aka AJ Dean meet for the first time?

Kenneth Bagonza and Anne Dean met while working in Uganda, volunteering for another organization, around 2007.

Interviewer: About the mentorship program, why do they think it so necessary? Is it because of a gap they have seen or because they feel mentorship is so important? Or both?

Both. Over the past ten years of working in Uganda and with the youth most especially, we have seen that many programs offer things like school fees or tangible help, yet, often miss the mark by not really getting to know the individuals on a personal level.  This can lead to giving help in ways that don’t make sense – in turn wasting precious resources. In these cases, it can also lead to kids dropping out of school for lack of hope or feeling that it is a waste of time because nobody really is there to fully understand their hearts or what they may be going through in their lives. There are also many youth who have lost parents or who do not have caregivers who really sow positively into their lives. This leaves many youth desiring to seek attention, love and satisfaction from things and people who are ungodly, or who will use them and abuse them, which in turn leads to low self esteem, guilt, shame and an overall feeling of rebelliousness or hopelessness.  
The reason we believe in mentorship, is that it attaches one person to another – for attention, accountability, guidance, and a feeling that there is someone out there that each mentee can go to to get advice, prayers, and who just Cares about them in this world.  

We all need positive relationships and sometimes it can literally mean life or death to a particular child (i.e. kids being guided and supported away from unhealthy relationships, HIV, drug use, etc).  

Interviewer: After these events are done and the mentoring program has been undertaken, what do they hope to have grown into, five years from now?

We place everything in the hands of God and we just want to be used in whatever way He desires.  If he desires to grow the ministry in some way, then we will follow and grow along with Him.  If we stay small, we are content with that, just as long as we know we are where God wants us to be. Numbers, size and dollars, are not our focus. The most important thing to us is to really impact individual’s lives, one by one,  and to create lasting relationships, lasting change and further the Kingdom of God in meaningful ways. This can often be a slow process as real impact takes time, patience and perseverance.  So overall, in five years, we just hope that there will be individuals who will thank God for the family of Harmony Life in that they feel like we are a family that cares, shares, and prepares (them for the future). And then, that they in turn can forward this type of attitude of caring and sharing to others in their own families and communities in some way, using their own unique talents and God given gifts.
Again, we will not add anything to such great words spoken by musician and co-founder of harmony Life Uganda. Indeed, we Ugandans should get on board as our brothers and sisters partner with us to create real change.
Follow us on our Social Media updates for updates prior to and during, and after “We Declare Concert” which is happening at Worship Harvest on Sunday the 12th of March, starting at exactly 5pm at only 10,000 Uganda shillings.
American Singer Ty Morris in Uganda for "We Declare" Concert at Worship Harvest.

American Singer Ty Morris in Uganda for “We Declare” Concert at Worship Harvest.

Here is some music from Ty Morris
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