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Help Roland sustain his family as he writes on social issues

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Roland George Ibanda is a writer living in Jinja, Uganda. To support his siblings and his single mother while she struggled with serious health problems, Roland started working at the age of 8. Later he became a painter and exporter of artworks and other African goods. He is currently developing several fiction and non-fiction projects, including his feature film “Bitter Smiles,” about a young Ugandan boy who grapples with the challenges of poverty, war and the failing relationship between his mother and alcoholic father, which is in development with producers Maynard Kraak of West Five Films in South Africa and Phyllis Laing of Buffalo Gal Pictures in Canada. Devoted to humanitarian work, Roland also volunteers as an interpreter and translator for the Women Integrated Empowerment Development Project (WIED) and as an emergency rescue and relief worker for refugee children.

Roland’s semi-autobiographical feature film script "Bitter Smiles - On the Streets of Jinja" tells the story of a boy struggling to pursue a better life while burdened by poverty, war, and the consequences of the failing relationship between his mother and alcoholic father.

Roland was mentored in his screenwriting by ScriptAngel in the UK, and the project is now at the second draft stage. A professional independent reader described the script as “very moving” and recommended it for development.

Phyllis Laing, President and CEO of Buffalo Gal Pictures (producer of "The Spencer Sisters", "Acting Good", as well as many other award-winning films and TV shows), who has been mentoring Roland for well over a decade, is overseeing the development of the feature film based on Roland’s script. Director/Producer Maynard Kraak and West Five Films in South Africa are interested in the project as well. I, Geneviève Appleton of White Wave Productions, am volunteering as script editor.

Roland earned top grades in high school. Phyllis and her team were successful in helping him get admitted to AFDA at The School for the Creative Economy, the film program in South Africa, when the pandemic hit, grinding his studies and the development of "Bitter Smiles" to a halt.

Since then, the economic situation in Uganda has only worsened. There is now little to no work available in Jinja, and Roland has been struggling to feed his family of five with odd construction jobs. Things have gotten so bad that they were evicted from their home and Roland's laptop and other property were confiscated to help pay his debts.

His fiancée Sally currently works as a police officer, making only $170 USD per month less government deductions, which is barely enough to feed herself, and she must live onsite in a “uni-pot”, a round metallic dwelling too small to house more than 1-2 officers, so their young children (currently 12, 6 and 2) have had to be fostered by various family and friends, who themselves are barely making ends meet, while Roland and Sally work in other towns, missing each other and their children.

In Uganda, education and healthcare provided by the state are insufficient to meet people’s basic needs. Children who attend public schools are not well enough prepared to pass their final high school exams, and private school fees are unaffordable. To make matters worse, Roland’s son Gavin requires ongoing medical treatments. Roland himself is suffering from extremely painful headaches that a doctor has told him are likely caused by stress-induced high blood pressure, but he can’t afford to pay for the testing and medication.

This summer, driven by near starvation, Roland accepted a construction job in Northern Uganda, but the site was poorly managed by the contractor, and during heavy rains the roof of the building collapsed, killing many of the workers, including Roland’s friend who helped him find the job. Roland was lucky to survive, but he is suffering pain from his injuries as well as trauma and grief.

In 2019, Roland incorporated the non-profit Birthing Dreams Africa (BDA) to pave the way for those victims achieve more than mere survival: to live a purposeful life to their full potential. Through this campaign he is also seeking partners and sponsors to support BDA's mission.

Roland is now in a desperate situation, so I have created this campaign to help him. In order to rent the home that he helped build, in which he, Sally and their children can finally all live together again, as well as to cover their living, education and medical expenses, Roland needs to earn a minimum of 1,833 CAD per month. To replace his laptop and household furnishings he requires an additional $5,013.

Any donation no matter how small will be of great help in helping rebuild Roland's life and morale. But the following amounts will receive something in return:

  • Through a sponsorship by Resounding Media Inc. the first 100 donors of $100 or more will receive free lifetime access to the Biology of Story Self-Study Course on Udemy, which students say “supercharges inspiration, opens transformative insights, and deepens creative thinking.” For more information, please visit:
  • Donors of $300 or more who are interested will receive Roland’s assistance as an intern for 1 day per month for 6 months. Tasks he could accomplish with a little guidance would be online research, translation between Lusoga, Swahili, Luganda and English, administrative work, providing feedback on scripts, writing or co-writing poetry, short stories or scripts, creating artworks, and/or exporting Ugandan foods and goods.

After working for his sponsors for a few months, the hope is that Roland will build up enough experience, skills and contacts to find jobs that will allow him to become financially independent again and provide his children with a better and safer life than he has had himself.

Thank you so much for considering this opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of a special writer, humanitarian and his family.



  • jennifer koenig
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Phyllis Laing
    • $1,500 (Offline)
    • 2 mos
  • Geneviève Appleton
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 3 mos

Fundraising team (2)

Geneviève Appleton
Burlington, ON
Phyllis Laing
Team member

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