Rick Olsen, Best Future Center

Speaker: Rick Olsen, President/Founder, Best Future Center (U.S.)

Brooke Vu, Club President, introduced our speaker Rick Olsen who talked about improving education and access to water/sanitation in Ugandan refugee settlements. Rick is a fellow Rotarian living in Minnesota. He is a member of Prior Lake Rotary Club which is actively involved in his refugee fundraising projects. He is a world traveler, having visited over 41 countries in his lifetime.

Today, almost 1.5 million refugees live in Uganda, making it the top refugee-hosting country in Africa and one of the top five hosting countries in the world.

Its longstanding ‘open-door’ policy has benefited it both politically and financially, with hundreds of millions of donor funds provided each year for humanitarian and development projects. Refugees have the right to work and freedom of movement, thanks to Uganda’s 2006 Refugee Act and 2010 Refugee Regulations, which provide a strong legal and regulatory framework for refugee rights.

Rick continues to be involved with two Ugandan refugee projects. First, he is involved with a project in Nakivale, Uganda where he helped fund the construction of a three-classroom building. With the support of the Prior Lake Rotary Club, the construction of a school kitchen and bakery was also completed. Second, he is involved with projects in Kyaka II, Uganda where a 70,000- and 100,000-liter settling tank were built to supply clean water to its 125,000 refugees. This project is sponsored by the Kampala South Rotary Club with Rick driving the fundraising.

Rick runs a non-profit organization called Best Future Center for raising funds for these various projects. The website address is http://bestfuture.center/ where you can contact Rick and contribute.

Brooke Vu