Visiting his former village in rural Uganda, Jackson Kaguri was the epitome of a success story.
He had escaped poverty, earned a college degree and moved to America, where he studied at an Ivy League school and planned to put a down payment on a house in Indiana. He'd often come back to Uganda, passing out school supplies to children.
But on one particular trip home in 2001, he realized he had to do more.
"We woke up in the morning, and grandmothers had lined up all around the house, stretching way back. ... The whole village had gathered," Kaguri said. "All these women walked miles and miles. It was huge."
UNICEF estimates that 1.2 million children in Uganda have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses, and Kaguri said it's often grandmothers who have to pick up the slack.
"You see the grandmothers over and over whose own children have died and left them," he said. "Some of them have up to 14 (grandchildren) to raise in their homes. Sometimes the child has HIV/AIDS, they need medication. The grandmother needs food. They need a house. And nothing is there."
The grandmothers who gathered in Kaguri's childhood village begged Kaguri to help them. And he felt an obligation to give more than just pens, pencils and paper.
"These are women who had seen me grow up in the village," he said. "They carried me when I was hurt, they prayed for me when I was away studying. What was I supposed to do?"
Knowing that education had been so key to his success, Kaguri and his wife decided to use their life savings to start a free school in the village. They purchased two acres of land and built the Nyaka School, brick by brick, with the help of local volunteers. When the school officially launched on January 2, 2003, 56 AIDS orphans were the first students.
"We provide them uniforms. We provide them pencils. We give them shoes," said Kaguri, 41. "Everything we give ... is to try and eliminate as many obstacles as possible, so children can be successful and focus on education."