Posted: Mon, December 15, 2014 | By: Kasese Humanist Primary School
Robert Pellissier, Henri Pellissier, and Jeffrey Pellissier — two brothers and a cousin more commonly known as “Bob, Hank, and Jeff” - are starting a series of disease-fighting clinics in the Kasese province of western Uganda, near the Rwenzori “Mountains of the Moon.”
The labs will combat the multiple maladies that scourge the region’s residents: malaria, anthrax, bilharzia, typhoid, cholera, pneumonia, diarrhea, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, and helmenthiasis (sicknesses caused by parasitic worms.) Uganda has the highest infant mortality rate in East Africa, with 131 children out of 1,000 dying before the age of five.
Bob Pellissier - CEO of RKI Instruments in Union City, California - initiated the idea when he asked Hank for end-of-the-year charity contribution advice. Hank - director of Brighter Brains Institute (BBI) in nearby Piedmont - advised starting a project in Uganda to help the nation’s 3.5 million orphans. Bob’s interest in science eventually led them to the science-based Kasese Humanist Primary School, where the director - Bwambale Robert - enthusiastically offered free space in a newly-built facility.
Jeff Pellissier - West Hollywood Farmer’s Insurance Agency owner - offered to join with a contribution, and additional capital was gained via a GoFundMe campaign. When enough revenue was secured, a local sign-maker - Mbusa Chrispus - was contracted to paint the first “Pellissier Science Laboratory” (PSL) sign.
The three Pellissiers witll stock the lab with a microscope, fecal-testing equipment, mosquito nets, and a malaria diagnostic kit, plus a drug cabinet stocked with medicine: albendazole, praziquantal, coartem, duocotexcin, and potent pharmaceuticals. A Ugandan medical technician will be employed to run the laboratory.
Kasese is famed for its access to wild beauty - nearby attractions include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake George, mountain gorilla and chimpanzee reserves, and the Rwenzori range where peaks soar to 16,000 feet elevation.
Unfortunately, the area suffers from ghastly human problems: the HIV/AIDS rate is one of the highest in Uganda; the orphan rate is a shocking 13%; it is recovering from a 20-year insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army that marauded from the nearby Congo; and it’s deeply impoverished - rural Uganda per capita annual income is less than $500.
Bob Pellissier - with his bro’s and cousin’s support - will be establishing many Pellissier Science Laboratories throughout East Africa. A second location has already been secured: Vision Care School, in the remote hamlet of Kyarumba. The 140 students there will receive PSL care by February 1, 2015.
A third lab might be set up outside Masaka, in southern Uganda, at a school run by Uganda’s Unitarian Universalist church.
The three Pellissiers are united in their goal to save lives and elevate the health of Ugandans. Beyond that, their ambitions vary. Bob wants to help children with science and engineering aptitude - he is looking into assisting them with a “Pellissier Science Scholarship for Orphans” fund. Hank - who will annually deliver the supplies - wants to hike in the Rwenzori; and Jeff - a hunting enthusiast - hopes to visit on a safari that bags a big buffalo.
Family-run charities are popular, but the grassroots energy of the Pellissier venture is unusual. They hope their humanitarian enterprise encourages other families to unite in efforts to alleviate human suffering.
The cost to establish a medical clinic? Shockingly low! In Kasese, the school’s 325 students will be carefully watched over and cured of myriad threats on a $2,675 budget. Community members will also gain access to professional help, and the medicines. At Kyarumba’s smaller school the budget will be a mere $1,387.50. And that’s Tax Deductible!
Are you a philanthropic family, school group, church, or business? Want to set up your own Do-It-Yourself health clinic for a struggling community? email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.