Who we are


We aim to enable hope, opportunity, and wellbeing in the lives of people in need and in particular those suffering from mental illness, who have been institutionalised or abandoned, in low and middle-income countries in East Africa.

The YouBelong Team

We work with an understanding of the social determinants of health and the social determinants of mental health as established by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

We come from Uganda, Australia, the UK, and the US. We have varied backgrounds working in government, academia, health, and with multilateral organizations and NGO’s, in a breadth of areas including social work and community development, mental health, child protection and the development of child safe environments, epidemiology, health system strengthening, and implementation science research.

We are a mixed team, with many of us living and working in Uganda, using our experiences in various disciplines towards our common goal. We work to create linked and interconnected community-based services to care for people moving out of institutional life, such as mental hospitals in East Africa. In addition, we share a belief in the importance of identifying and developing strengths and capabilities in families, as active agents in community.

Learn more about our leadership and board

Our Mission

To provide grants to programmes in low and middle income countries in East Africa in order to provide alternatives to institutional care where resources are severely limited and conditions are challenging. We achieve this goal through building on families’ strengths and creating opportunities in community to rebuild self-esteem, self-identity, and to establish wellbeing in community life for vulnerable groups of people.

YouBelong in East Africa

Please download this overview of our vision of the future of mental healthcare in East Africa.

Current Funding

Currently, funding will be predominantly supporting YouBelong Uganda to implement the YouBelong HOME programme, in Uganda.

Our Objectives

To create a bridge between institutions and family/community, from which emerges a new pathway of ‘care in the community’ in East Africa, which

  • Liberates women, men, and children from the social isolation caused by being institutionalised or abandonment by family
  • Engages with institutions in East Africa such as mental hospitals, to establish effective working relationships which assist in transitioning particular groups of people back to family and community.
  • Strengthens families who are supporting a family member with mental illness.
  • Contributes to community-based mental health care, building on local health service resources when and where available and creating new partnerships.
  • Assists people recovering from mental illness or other related social disadvantage to participate in the life of the community through forms of volunteer work or through income generating activities.
  • Educates, informs and establishes dialogue with local communities in East Africa about mental illness and other health and wellbeing needs where stigma and traditional beliefs impede the acceptance of groups of people in community.
  • Designs templates that can be used in a range of East African countries to transition people from institutional life to family and community life and, as well, strengthen communities and build community-based mental health services that are sustainable beyond the life of this organisation’s programmes.