Tutapona means"we will be healed" in Swahili.

About Our Founders

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In 2008, Carl and Julie Gaede, psychotherapists from western Wisconsin, moved to northern Uganda with their two young children to launch Tutapona. Since then, Tutapona has provided trauma rehabilitation programs to over 37,000 survivors of brutal civil wars. In 2016, the Gaedes moved to Iraq to expand Tutapona’s work to refugee camps in the Middle East.


The Gaede’s desire was for obedience to God over comfort, serving others over being served, and following Christ over material possessions. With a passion to help severely traumatized people see radical transformation, they followed God’s calling to Uganda to work with child soldiers. Many children in Uganda’s North had endured unspeakable trauma and unfathomable loss when taken for Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. It was here Tutapona was birthed and begun as the Gaedes moved themselves and their two young girls to Gulu, Uganda in August 2008. Working closely alongside another local charity for three years, Carl and Julie began their work with children the world had forsaken. Bringing a message of forgiveness, healing and restoration, Carl began training local workers to facilitate a program called EMPOWER written by psychologist Dr. Robi Sonderegger. In early 2011, the Gaedes felt God’s call to expand their reach beyond Northern Uganda. They made the bold decision to go out on their own. Launching in Magwi, South Sudan with only 3 staff, the work in South Sudan continued until the end of 2012 when their goal of reaching the Acholi corridor was complete. In addition, the Gaede family adopted a 14 year old, pregnant Acholi girl around this time.

In early 2013, God made it clear the work would expand into refugee settlements. By mid-2013, a team was established in Nakivale Refugee Settlement and over the coming years teams were equipped to provide trauma rehabilitation services at Rwamwanja, Kiryandongo and Adjumani refugee settlements as well. In late 2015, the Gaedes took an exploratory trip to Iraq to experience first hand the Syrian refugee crisis and see if there was any way Tutapona could help these victims of war. In September 2016, the Gaede family moved to Iraq to set up the first Tutapona office in the Middle East in Duhok, Iraq. Today, Tutapona has 25 staff in Uganda and 12 staff in Iraq.