Skip to main content
The official hub for news and stories from Colorado Mesa University
Transformational Education

CMU student Mathias Mulumba and Assistant Professor of Business Jacob Ongaki are using the power of education to make positive changes across the globe

When you meet Mathias Mulumba, a Colorado Mesa University business administration undergraduate student, he will amaze you with the depth of his love and the power of his actions. Originally from Uganda, Mulumba came to the United States in 2008 and is proud to call the Grand Valley home where he now lives with his wife and three children. Mulumba’s journey from living on the streets of Uganda to forming his non-profit Father to the Fatherless International is proof of how powerful individual action and collaboration can be when someone has a vision. Ever since he was a child, Mulumba dreamed of “taking care of children that were going through the same situation I was going through — living on the street.” By creating his non-profit, Mulumba wanted “to be able to extend love to other kids living on the street, to train them to be responsible in life, and to train them to be the future leaders of tomorrow. I wanted to show them the same kindness, the same care and the same love that was given to me.”

To make this dream come true he knew there was a lot he would need to learn. Mulumba explained, “I’m not like normal students. I’m just an adult who woke up one day and realized that education is very important, so I started by getting my General Education Development (GED) credential – but first I failed three times!” Now in his junior year at CMU, he continues to take the knowledge he has acquired and puts it into action at his school and community campus in Uganda. “I believe in education, because it is what changes the world,” explained Mulumba.

To meet the needs of the students at his school in Uganda, his organization has created a health clinic, emergency dispatch service, job training and employment opportunities, on-site food production, a church, clean water infrastructure and feminine hygiene products so girls don’t drop out when they reach puberty. His clinic serves five villages, each with around 900 people and is focused on providing orphans, single mothers and widows access to education, boarding, nutrition and community.

Mulumba reflected, “I must be extremely smart with the resources that I have, and CMU has really helped me to understand how to manage my organization’s finances on a deeper level.” 

He continued, “I’m investing in things that are making our organization self-sustaining and I am investing in agriculture to feed over 500 people daily. I learned so much in my environmental science classes at CMU and I am trying to implement everything I learned at my center.” Mulumba currently extracts methane by breaking down the animal and human refuse at his compound to uses for heating and cooking at his center and he is working on generating electricity using solar panels.

Mulumba has taken full advantage of the networking and partnership opportunities available to him as a CMU business administration student. His website was developed in collaboration with CMU marketing students, he has partnered with Bray Real Estate to complete water infrastructure projects in Uganda and he is currently working with students at Wayne State College to conduct market research for a new coffee project he is hoping to develop that will provide jobs on his Uganda campus and generate revenue to support Father to the Fatherless International. Recently, an incredible networking opportunity to attend the One Voice Consortium’s Diaspora Investor Expo was made possible for Mulumba thanks to the efforts of CMU Assistant Professor of Business Jacob Ongaki, PhD, and the support of CMU’s Office of Academic Affairs.

In addition to teaching finance classes at CMU, Ongaki is Vice President of the One Voice Consortium Global Diaspora Development Foundation whose mission is to mobilize members of the African diaspora to participate in the economic development of Africa and foster unity among all people of African descent around the world. As part of his work with the consortium, Ongaki served as a planning chair for the inaugural Diaspora Investor Expo that took place in Washington D.C. May 5-7.

The three-day expo featured keynote speeches from the Kenyan Ambassador to the United States Lazarus Omayo, and United States Trade Representative for Africa Bennett Harman, and several World Bank economists. Each day included break-out sessions on governance and civil society, education and higher learning, finance and banking, socio-economic sectors, food security and agriculture, innovation and technology, culture and arts, real estate and the environment.

With financial assistance from the Office of Academic Affairs, where Mulumba works on campus, Mulumba was able to join Ongaki at the Diaspora Investor Expo in Washington D.C. to network and make connections on a global scale while serving as an ambassador and representative for CMU. Mulumba was a panelist during a higher education breakout session and was awarded a President’s Choice Award for his inspiring work for the diaspora community.

Back from Washington D.C., Mulumba is busy preparing for his next fundraiser. He said, “I don’t want to be comfortable; I want to take every opportunity to make other people’s lives better.” If you want to meet Mulumba and support his non-profit, he will be hosting a free ice cream social at River of Life Church on May 19 from 6-8pm. The event will include African music and stories performed by Mulumba and he will be accepting donations to support Father to the Fatherless International. You can visit his website to learn more about the organization and how you can get involved.


Written by Giff Walters