Founders

Founders

Gary and Marilyn Skinner
Gary and Marilyn Skinner are the passionate and visionary leaders of Watoto Ministries, which includes Watoto Church, Watoto Child Care Ministries, Watoto Children’s Choir and Living Hope.

Watoto Church
In 1984, Gary and Marilyn founded Watoto Church in the heart of Uganda’s war-torn capital, Kampala.

Watoto Church is a dynamic, cell-based community church that welcomes more than 24,000 people each weekend to celebrate Christ. Gary passionately believes that it is the responsibility of the local church to solve community problems. Watoto Church cares for the community holistically through over 2,900 cell groups, which meet in people’s homes each week.

Watoto Child Care Ministries
Gary and Marilyn founded Watoto Child Care Ministries in 1994. The couple established this international organisation as a compassionate response to the plight of the millions of children across Africa who have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS.

Watoto Child Care Ministries currently cares for more than 3,000 children within three Watoto villages. Each child living in these villages is raised in a family setting rather than an institution. The Skinners’ vision is that the children be raised to become the future leaders of Uganda and Africa. 

Watoto Children’s Choir
The Watoto Children’s Choir tours the world annually to advocate millions of African children currently orphaned by AIDS, poverty and war. The choir’s Concerts of Hope are held in churches, community halls and schools across the globe.

The Watoto Children’s Choir has performed before royalty and world leaders at Buckingham Palace, at the White House and at many national parliaments across the globe. Wherever they go, audiences are inspired as the children sing, dance and celebrate their stories of hope.

Living Hope
In addition to championing the cause of orphaned children, Watoto is committed to restoring dignity to HIV-positive women who are left to bear the brunt of AIDS, war and social injustice. Over 3,000 women have experienced improved quality of life through Watoto’s Living Hope. Their 15,000 plus children also have a better chance of fulfilling their potential as a result of Living Hope.

Many of these women have been victims of human trafficking, abducted from their homes as young girls and distributed among rebel soldiers as sex slaves. Through Living Hope, they are equipped with useful life skills through vocational training. They are also empowered through income-generating projects, which enable them to become productive members of the community. The comprehensive psychosocial support these women have received