Stories of Impact: A Tribute to Joseph Chan

Posted on: January 18th, 2013 by admin No Comments

 Joseph Chan

January 7, 1991 – December 31, 2012

In this week’s story, we’ll focus in on a true life of impact, lived by our former Empower scholar, Joseph Chan, who passed away due to injuries from a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) accident on December 31st. Chan had recently completed secondary school and was looking forward to beginning university in 2013. He was an incredible person and had big dreams for his future. To all who knew him, he’ll forever be remembered as a dreamer, a performer, a teacher, a brother, and a friend.

We’ve received an outpouring of stories, memories and quotes from those who knew and loved Chan most. His years on this earth may have been cut short, but his impact on those around him proves to live on. May these words from our students and staff serve as a tribute to our dear friend, Joseph Chan:  the “big brother” and friend, the incredible musician and performer, the teacher and advisor, and the guy with the biggest smile!

Joseph Chan: the “big brother” and friend

Brian Mulindwa: “Chan was a good friend to many. He loved us so much and was helpful. When I was in the wrong, he helped me do the right thing. He helped me to fit in when I had just joined the group.”

Tonny Lwerere: “Chan was like a brother to me. When I had just joined Empower, he worked so hard to teach me that I learned the dances and how to play the instruments. He also helped me understand what life is and how to overcome different challenges. He also protected me from the bullies many times at school.”

Teddy Namuddu: “He showed me what a friend should be. He was always there in the good and the bad with a smile on his face. Chan was my guard and brother at school; He was the definition of a beloved brother to me. I know he is still with me. He defined the word “Love” to all of us.”

Joseph Chan: the incredible musician and performer

Sharon Kyomugisha:  “I’ll always remember his performance at the theatre abroad, in Uganda, and at school. When he performed, he did it to the fullest with a lot of zeal. I’ll miss his smiles, too.”

Mukusin Wasswa: “Chan was a great performer who inspired us all. He advised me and changed my life.”

Alexis Hefley, Co-founder & President of Empower African Children: “Joseph was a very smart and talented guy – a great percussionist, dancer and singer.  He loved to study voice and dreamed of going to a school abroad to study music, voice and opera. May his soul rest in peace and I hope he is dancing with the angels now.”

Courtney O’Callaghan, former staff member at Empower African Children: “Joseph Chan was one of the first Empower African Children scholarship students I had the pleasure of meeting during the 2012 Spirit of Uganda Tour. His life was cut way too short this past month — Chan’s charisma, artistic ability, and drive for achievement will never be forgotten as he continues to live on through all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

Joseph Chan: the teacher and advisor

Frank Isabirye: “When I had just joined, I felt a little lost but Chan advised and guided me. I admired him for his intelligence and good teaching skills-he taught me how to drum. I did not have much, but Chan gave me something (drumming).”

Jimmy Ayo: “Chan helped me with music; we shared the same music lessons. He was a fantastic leader; he was respectful of others and I adopted his way of life. He was so innovative and active in whatever he was doing.”

Sharon Kyomugisha: “Chan was good at counseling. When you did something wrong, he would talk to you and tell you the choice was yours to either change or stay the same. He was a great spokesperson and often aired his opinion openly which taught me to be open and speak up.”

Brian Odong: “Chan was more than a friend to me, whenever I needed something I always looked up to him. He taught me how to stay determined and work hard.”

Samali Acham, Student Counselor at Empower African Children: (On a valuable lesson she learned from Chan) “From then on, I sought to communicate better. To challenge myself to put myself out there in an effort to reach out and truly touch. I took time to learn about the students and get to know their different characters in order to relate with them better.” 

Joseph Chan: the guy with the amazing smile and sense of humor

Maria Namanda:  “Chan taught me the meaning of the word ‘smile’.”

Violet Nakasule: “He always made me smile. He made me a happy person. One of my favorite memories of Chan was when he performed at the school assembly with a big bright smile.”

Zahara Nabakka: “I will miss his beautiful smile and humor. He was comforting and loving to everyone.”

We’ll close with a few words from our Executive Director, Jeremy Phillips:

“My prayer is that we all honor the life of Joseph Chan by remembering him in a way that makes us better people.  People who aren’t afraid to step in the limelight – like Chan, people who exhibit kindness to others – like Chan, and people who are ambitious and focused on making the most out of the opportunities that life affords us – like Chan.

On behalf of everyone associated with Empower African Children, thank you for joining us in celebrating the life of Joseph Chan. We are grateful for being a part of his story and pray that it lives on through us.”

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