Atai Mission & Team


To provide food, clothing, education, permanent housing, and vital health services to the Orphans of the Teso District of Northern Uganda.


ANNAH EMUGE | President/Founder

Annah Frances Emuge was born in the village of Agu, in Teso district in Northern Uganda. Throughout her childhood, as her country struggled under the vicious reign of dictator Idi Amin Dada, Annah saw her parents and neighbors working and often not succeeding to provide their families with a subsistence-level existence. When Annah was in her first year of Primary School, she witnessed the suffering of four schoolmates whose parents had died, leaving them in the care of an aged grandmother. This was her first introduction to the existence of orphans. She could not conceive of a life without her strong, loving parents, her "Toto" and "Papa." At school, she was being taught that God always answers the prayers of children, so she knelt under a bush one night and prayed,

"Please, God, I am scared and I don't want my parents to die. God if you will let my Toto and Papa live, I promise when I grow up I will take care of all the orphan children."

Annah married a brilliant and loving young man, James Emuge, who was given the opportunity to study in the US, but two years after their arrival here in 1983, the government was overthrown in a violent coup and James' scholarship was lost. Annah and James received word that the violence in Uganda had left their villages destroyed, and it was almost fifteen years before they were able to learn that most of their family members had survived. Unable to handle his new status as a refugee with no means to further his studies or support his children, James succumbed to alcoholism and Annah nursed him and raised their four children alone.

Through all these hardships, Annah never forgot her promise to help orphaned children, so today she directs Atai Orphanage, where her Toto raises and sustains the children of her native village who are left without parents by the ravages of war and disease. Although it is a daily struggle to provide the bare necessities for them, these children know that they are absolutely loved and cherished by God and by their "Mama Frances" in America.


Annah invited Travis to join the board in 2013. Travis has since taken over all support of the web presence including website, domain & email administration.

LESA OVERHOFF | Board Member

Annah invited Lesa to join the board in 2014. Lesa has proven to be very creative. She now handles all Atai’s writing needs and is authoring several children’s books based on Annah’s early childhood.


CARL THOENEN | Board Member

LAURA FOX | Board Member


Annah Emuge, President/Founder


Travis Huskey, Board Chairperson

Lesa Overhoff

Deborah Edmondson


Past Board Members

Tonya Ehlert – Past Board Chair

Heather Nauert – Past Board Secretary

Laura Neir Baebler – Past Board Member & Architect

Kate Saller Schwadron – Past Board Member

Jason Geodecke – Past Board Member

Nancy Biehl – Past Board Member

Neil Steinbach – Past Board Member

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