About Us

Who are the Rural Orphans & Widows AIDS Network, otherwise known as ROWAN?

Founder Pastor Paul Nyende shares his vision for his people.


Rural Orphans & Widows AIDS Network exists to transform orphans & widows into change agents. Every widow a leader. Every orphan a beloved child.


To empower orphans & widows infected or affected by HIV/ AIDS in Uganda through education, medical care/ treatment, spiritual nourishment & business training – resulting in self-reliance. ROWAN partners with local christian leaders & development organizations, empowering each person to discover their God-given gifts & passions. Together, we assess quality of life, identify physical, spiritual & social needs, while implementing innovative strategies to meet these needs within the community.

Our Story

In 2002, co-founder & program director, Kelsey Hargadine lived with a local pastor in East Uganda named Pastor Paul. One night, under the stars Pastor Paul shared with Kelsey the burdens of his people. He said, “Kelsey, God hears the cries of my people & there is a purpose for you.” This moment was the birthing of ROWAN.

A few years later, after Pastor Paul began ministering to the orphans & widows, Kelsey ventured back to visit the project. The moment she arrived into the Pastor’s home she was given a formal report with the title ROWAN on the front! Kelsey read the first sentence, “ROWAN: Rural Orphans & Widows AIDS Network was begun by Pastor Paul & Kelsey Young to bring the widows & orphans of Africa from helplessness to hope…” That’s exactly what we did & that was just the beginning.

What We Do

What Makes ROWAN Unique

1. We serve not only orphans, but widows & other community members affected by HIV/ AIDS.
2. We offer widows a second chance at education & self-reliance through literacy/ business classes.
3. We ensure every child gets the opportunity for a higher education or vocational degree in order to become self-reliant.
4. Our local leaders spent over 10 years building relationships with community members before creating a single program.
5. Pastor Paul Nyende, was born & raised in the rural village where our main office is based. Here he & his local staff continue to lead, build & grow programs from the ground up.

Team Member Testimonies

“This ministry is all about relationships. These are real people whom I love like my own family, and after I went in 2008 I knew they would be in my life forever.”

– Ann Wright, nurse volunteer & advocate.

“With ROWAN I feel myself to be a part of a loving, caring community of neighbors who just so happen to find themselves a few contintental doors down from one other.”

– Megan Fabry, Communications Director

“…God brings the nations to ROWAN.”

– Sherlee, ROWAN ministry analyst, Singapore

“I trust the local leadership. There is much corruption in leadership positions throughout Africa, but I trust Pastor Paul and his leadership team.”

– Pastor Wayne Wilson, Acton Faith Bible Church, team member 2008

“I know all my money is going straight to the people, and I know the ministry is set to sustain itself for future projects. As a businessman, I can support and challenge others to get involved.”

–Barry Wright, ROWAN secretary, team member 2007
Member seal ROWAN is a 501(C)3 not for profit member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability