Executive Director - Uganda
Pastor John Paul Sewava
Pastor John Paul Sewava, fondly know as Pastor JP, is the founder and director of Solid Rock Christian School in Arua, Uganda and senior pastor at Arua Community Church. Before coming to Arua, Pastor JP co-founded Gaba Community Church, one of the largest non-denominational churches in Uganda, and Africa Renewal Ministries (ARM), the largest non-governmental organization in Uganda, to develop and equip generations of Christian leaders. ARM grew through a network of affiliated churches to include a medical center, an orphanage, a university and over eight thousand students in sponsorship. Pastor John Paul served as Missions Director where he coordinated the Fellowship of Community Churches, and as the Missions Pastor at Gaba Community Church. Pastor JP has served on the board of directors for Maranatha Christian School, Maranatha High School Wenzt Medical Center, African Renewal Saving and Credit, and Africa Renewal Management.In 2011, Pastor JP heard God’s call and moved with his family to Arua. Along with his wife Rose and their two children, they left friends and extended family and relocated to an area of Africa with a heartbreaking history and in desperate need of help.
Child Sponsor Relations Officer
Joan Nasirumbi comes from Busia, a district in the Eastern Region of Uganda. Joan has a humble family of seven siblings with both parents. She is the second child. Her family is the real essence of her life, and her parents have supported her in achieving her life goals. She graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication. She states many things inspired me to work with Zozu Project; mostly, it is about the community. Joan will devote her time and efforts to serving and developing the project’s members. She states I will be a servant leader, doing my best by listening, stewardship, commitment, and empathy. I am selfless and understand that each person is important. Welcome to the team, Joan!
Susan Nemwa Candikobo
Director of Social Work Services
Susan is our new Director of Social Work Services, which oversees a department of three Social Workers and over 500 students. Susan is returning to Solid Rock Christian School, where she previously worked for over four years in the accounting department. Susan is married to Stephen Candikobo, and they have a small son. She has been involved in the ministry to children since 1998. Her heart is drawn to children and their welfare. She aspires to see every child poverty free and to experience a transformed society. Susan notes that society is transformed through educating a child's mind, body, soul, and spirit.
Our Uganda Team
We have the privilege of working with an amazing group of local leaders in Arua, Uganda. With decades of experience in ministry, business, poverty alleviation, and in leadership training, they are our greatest resource.
Zozu Project supports 60 full-time Ugandan salaries including teachers, cooks, janitorial and medical staff. Their dedication, faith and love for the children of Arua make them our greatest resource.
Zozu Project Founders
Elaine Remy Lebens M.D. and Mick Lebens M.D.
Elaine and Mick's passion for other cultures lead them to Arua, Uganda, in 2013. They both felt an immediate connection to the people of Arua. Unable to shake the memories of the beautiful children they met in Arua, they organized a campaign to build Solid Rock School and subsequently founded the child sponsorship program through Zozu Project to provide ongoing support for the school and surrounding village. Elaine is privileged to work as a physician on California's central coast. Mick attended UCLA and then the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree. He currently is in private practice working as a Family Physician in Templeton. Elaine and Mick have three college-aged children who attend UCLA and Pepperdine; they couldn't be prouder!
Alex and Monica Villicana
Alex & Monica Villicana were first introduced to Zozu Project through their friendship with Mick and Elaine Lebens. After hearing their stories from Arua and learning of the incredible impact they were making on the lives of so many families, they immediately sponsored a child. They are truly amazed by the incredible results (academic, spiritual, health, community) Zozu is achieving on such a humble budget that they decided to get even more involved by joining the board. Alex and Monica are no strangers to serving on boards as they are dedicated to making a difference in their community. Alex & Monica both graduated from U.S.C. and live in Paso Robles, CA where they own a small winery and craft distillery. They have two adult children, one who lives and works in San Francisco and the other in college in Clemson, SC.
Jill and Dustin Alexander
Jill Alexander is a remarkable individual who wears many hats. Not only is she a devoted mother, but she also holds the prestigious role of General Manager at Paso Market Walk. Her leadership skills and commitment to excellence shine through in her everyday endeavors. Additionally, Jill's heart for philanthropy has led her to sponsor nine children, an act of kindness that showcases her genuine care for others. Jill's recent journey to Arua, where she spent two weeks at the Solid Rock Christian School, reflects her hands-on approach to making a difference. Immersing herself in the local community allowed her to truly understand the needs and challenges faced by the children and families there.
Dustin Alexander brings a unique perspective to our board with his role as a Detective for the City of San Luis Obispo. His commitment to justice and safety in the community is evident in his everyday work. His analytical skills and dedication to upholding the law make him an invaluable addition to our team.
What truly sets Jill and Dustin apart is their shared enthusiasm for Zozu's mission. As a local nonprofit with a global reach, Zozu's commitment to making a difference resonates deeply with both Jill and Dustin. Their belief in providing hope to the children and families of Arua aligns perfectly with Zozu's goals.
Headteacher at Solid Rock Christian School
Principal David grew up in Southern Uganda, and from the start has had a passion for education. After graduating with top marks from high school, he went on to earn both a diploma (associates degree) and a degree (bachelor’s degree) in Education. He holds certificates in Monitoring and Evaluation, Project Planning and Management, and Leadership. He always felt called to work in Christian education, and after his degree, Principal David started teaching Social Sciences at a Christian school. He was promoted to deputy principal, and then Principal of the school. David served faithfully as Principal for 4 years, and then came to Solid Rock. Leading Solid Rock has been a challenge, as the students in Arua face large obstacles to learning. He often finds himself stepping in and filling the roles of parent and guardian as well as teacher to these children. A faithful leader, David also leads prayer meetings on Wednesdays at Arua Community church, and is known and loved by all members.
Our Ugandan Staff
Executive Director - United States
In November of 2020, Katy joined Zozu as our new Executive Director. She brings ten years of experience as a Missions Pastor; she has led teams throughout Central America and Africa. Katy served on the Zozu Project board for three years and traveled with the founders in 2019 to Arua to see firsthand the project's fantastic work. Katy is passionate about people and Jesus, coming alongside the Ugandan staff to effect change for future generations, and sharing the hope of Jesus Christ. Katy and her husband Rick (middle school teacher) have two adult children in graduate school at GCU and MBU.
Marci grew up in San Luis Obispo, CA and now makes her home in Templeton, CA with her husband, daughter, and son. Marci graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and then attended the University of Laverne where she received her Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Leadership. She is currently working as the Chief Administrative Officer for Radiology Associates. Her work experience has been primarily in healthcare Administration and Finance. Marci enjoys spending time at her children’s activities and with family and friends, in home projects, and being outside. She has been a member of Templeton Presbyterian Church and has had the privilege of being a part of Zozu Project from the very beginning.
Welcome to the Board of Directors for Zozu Project!
You have an enormous heart for the children of Uganda. Over several years you have created a lasting impact in the lives of children in the Buikwe District East of Kampala. Your love continues now for the children in the region of Arua. The passion and talent you have as the President of Specialty Construction will add to the depth of the Board of Directors. We are blessed to have you join us on this journey as together we empower the children we serve to break the cycle of extreme poverty!
Doug lives in Templeton, California with his wife Sabrina. They have two grown children. He attended Kansas State University where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree. His professional career consisted of an animal feed manufacturing company and starting a winery in Templeton which he and Sabrina ran for 20 years until just recently selling. In 2010 Doug was a founding member of must! Charities which he still remains very involved with today. In 2019 Doug and Sabrina made their first trip to Arua, Uganda and were able to witness first hand the incredible work being done at Solid Rock Christian School through the support of the Zozu Project.
Sabrina’s passion is finding a community need and working with others to fulfill it. She (pictured here with two Solid Rock moms) lives in Templeton, CA with her husband Doug and has two children in college. She graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Behavioral Science and later helped build and run their family winery for 20 years. Sabrina helped establish two non-profits to benefit Templeton students, and in 2010 was a founding member of must! Charities, in which she is still active. She first learned of Zozu Project when local high school students chose the organization as a recipient of an on-campus campaign to raise funds and awareness of worldwide poverty. During a visit to Arua in 2019 with her husband, they saw firsthand the amazing work Zozu Project is doing in the lives of the students at Solid Rock Christian School. They have been even more passionate supporters ever since and joined the board in 2020.