Heroes of Orange County: UC Irvine Graduate Raises $50,000 to Help Hospital in Homeland

Lydia Natoolo. Photo credit: Mariah Tauger

Here’s to the best among us—those who overcome great challenges, plunge headfirst
into danger, and fight the good fight. They’re selfless. They’re courageous. Simply put, they make our world a better place.


UC Irvine graduate Lydia Natoolo raised $50,000 to aid a struggling hospital in her homeland.

Natoolo was a student at Saddleback College when she read an article about Atutur Hospital in her native Uganda. It was in a state of disrepair, with no running water, even though it had to serve hundreds of patients a day. “It made me so angry,” she says.

Within months, she established Love A Community. In the five years since the founding of the nonprofit organization, she has raised $50,000 to help Atutur Hospital build a new water system and install solar panels.

Growing up in Uganda as one of 28 children, Natoolo resolved to become a doctor after watching some of her siblings die of AIDS. She took her first step toward that goal when she immigrated to the U.S. and eventually made her way to Saddleback College and then UC Irvine, where she graduated in the spring as valedictorian and student body president. Soon, she says, she’ll pursue a master’s degree in global health and, eventually, medical school. In the meantime, she plans to expand Love A Community’s reach into more hospitals in Uganda.

“I want to change lives, one community at a time,” she says. “We sons and daughters of Africa, those of us lucky enough to be here, can work to change the lives of those we left behind.”

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