Upper-Nile Orphans Care Organization

Who Are We?

UpperNile Orphans Care Organization is an official NGO in South Sudan, Africa. Our first project is the founding of a war orphan boarding school.
This is an international effort by staff and volunteers on four continents: Africa, Asia, North and South America, with eight countries represented! We value a collaborative, accountable, intentional focus to help vulnerable children in South Sudan community.

Map showing South Sudan

The reality we want to change

War Torn School

"Our war orphan boarding school project gives real orphaned and vulnerable children a loving home, tender healing and HOPE."

Mary Grace - USA - UOCO Liaison Tweet

“The only way to restore hope for war weary children is quality education. Establishing a Boarding School for orphaned and disadvantaged children will absolutely restore hope for our most vulnerable.”


Our vision is for all children, everywhere, to have what and whom they need to grow into joyful, healthy, happy, engaged people who can live lives of peace.

Mission Statement

UOCO’s mission is to provide safe, kind care with free education for vulnerable girls and boys, ages 3-15. This participatory, collaborative effort will build to a capacity of 50 student-residents. Integrating conflict resolution skills into academic studies will empower these traumatized children and give them valid options in their lives.

Once well established, we can host volunteer teachers or community volunteers. We plan to eventually link with an international exchange program, train community health workers and offer scholarships to universities and link with the community for adult literacy.

Organizational Blurb

August 2020, UpperNile Orphans Care Organization (UOCO) became an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). Our first project is the Hands of Hope Community School, in Leer County, South Sudan.

We chose a different name for the school itself so as not to stigmatize the children. Besides Tito, the original dreamer of this project, there are handfuls of dedicated workers and volunteers in South Sudan, Kenya and and well as the USA and Brazil! UOCO in the USA is a 501(c) 3 tax exempt, charitable organization.

Exciting news!

The first eight children were welcomed into the locally run (mostly USA funded) war orphan boarding school! Eventually we’ll grow to our capacity of 50 vulnerable children in this rural area where the illiteracy rate for women is 98%.
The World Health Organization announced that the flooding in South Sudan is the worst in 60 years, and attributes this flooding to the world wide climate chaos. We simply could not safely access the UOCO purchased land. UOCO therefore moved the intended school site to the more accessible land of a partnering NGO, where the first eight children are already relaxing into a safe and predictable routine with caring staff.
Good job everyone!

The Student Led Organization “UOCO at Carolina” integrates University of North Carolina students into this effort, too!
As Tito said: “If you have a heart for children, we welcome you to this work for war orphans and other vulnerable children.” 

Current Steps

An important moment for us:

Our board member Tab Gadiet, far left, who lives in the Capital city Juba, negotiated and purchased the land up in Leer! However, the horrific flooding prevented us from accessing the land, so we’ve partnered with another NGO, set up the school in a new compound, and our first student residents are relaxing into the routine. 

UOCO’s Hand of Hope Community School! New home. New hope!

Our Dream In One Picture


NEEDS: We need all the obvious: secure housing, food, staff, teacher, care-takers, books, kitchen and bedding items along with other supplies…and a water-well! We are working with Rotary International on the possibility of a well!

Please consider sharing our website with your friends and family: www.uoco.org

Tax deductible Checks can be made out to “UOCO” and sent to our 501(c)(3):

Treasurer Megan Coppage

P.O. Box 100, Barboursville, VA 22923
Donations can be made through the website, through automatic bank deposits or by check. Our 501(c)(3) status allows us to legally accept tax-deductible donations. All donations small and large are most welcome; 100% of donations go to South Sudan.

If you can consider making a recurring monthly donation, that will help us more securely plan for budgeting needs.

If you are interested in leaving a “Legacy Gift” in your will, please contact Mary at warorphancaremary@gmail.com

DONORS: We now have a small cadre of monthly donors, from $2-$300 per month. Consistent donations large and small help us budget with less precarity. The bulk of UOCO donations still come from individual donors, and we are profoundly grateful for all support.
We would love help with grant searches, too!
Finally, if you are a teacher, counselor or child care practitioner who wants to volunteer in South Sudan for a month or more, please contact Tito and Mary Grace directly, at warorphanscare.tito@gmail.com and warorphancaremary@gmail.com with your resume or CV and a cover letter explainging why you’d like to go. If you are able to donate airline miles for volunteers to travel, that’s a great way to help!
TRAUMA NOTE: If you have a special concern for traumatized children, we would appreciate special funding to have a therapist visit the children once a week, to talk with them both in group and as individuals.

With deep gratitude.
Mary Grace, President and Liaison UOCO (USA) 
marygrace@uoco.org or warorphancaremary@gmail.com  


Kick-Off for UOCO at Carolina!