This is the dormitory building. All of the children sleep in three small bedrooms. The children have a roof over their heads but there is no glass in the windows and we only have a dirt floor. Because Uganda is so dusty, glass would be a wonderful addition to our home.
The children sleep on the dusty floor on blankets with thin mats underneath and inhale dust all night. Many of them have terrible coughs and colds all the time from the dust that they breathe in.
Another problem of having no proper floor is that there are gaps in between the walls and the ground where snakes can get into the rooms. Every few months we find a snake in one of the rooms, usually a black mamba! We are really hoping to be able to cement the floor soon.
Click on the photo to learn more about our orphanage home.
This is what having malaria looks like. Malaria is a very serious illness. It kills one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children everyday, mostly children under five years of age, with 90% of malaria cases occurring in Africa, south of the Sahara, which is exactly where we live.
We have many children that suffer from it. Malaria medication is provided by the government in medical centers but we live over 20 miles from the nearest medical center and only have a motor bike on its last legs for transportation.
Malaria prevention is something that would really help the children have a better quality of life. If we were able to screen in our windows and doors and provide the children with mosquito nets, we could prevent many of them getting this horrible disease.
Click on the photo to learn more about malaria.
It may seem strange to force poor children to purchase a school uniform when they have so many other needs. Despite the hardship, school uniforms are worn and required in most African schools.
One study on school uniforms in Africa found that owning and wearing school uniforms reduce school absenteeism by 44% for the average student, and 62% for students who did not previously own a uniform. Providing a uniform also raised test scores for recipients.
The orphanage provides uniforms to eliminate a mandatory cost of education and to encourage retention. Students who stay in school longer are more likely to be exposed to information about HIV prevention, spend less time engaging in risk behavior, and have greater incentive to avoid teenage pregnancy and other threats to education.
The children eat one evening meal of a cornmeal mush, called posho, and, occasionally, rice and beans. They have a very small breakfast of watered-down cornmeal mush. On special occasions, such as Easter and Christmas, they have goat meat which is a real treat.
One of our greatest needs is a bed, mattress, bed clothes, and mosquito net for each child. This is the only triple bunk bed that we have and it is in terrible disrepair. The metal supports stick up in places making it hazardous for any of the children to sleep in.
There is a charity that operates in Uganda that will help us acquire and set-up the beds, mattresses and mosquito nets at a discount if we can provide the funds. We need $5000 for this project.
Our ultimate goal is to become self-sufficient through income-generating activities. Poultry, livestock, goat and pig rearing and growing a garden will help us achieve this goal. We currently have a pig that recently had piglets and five goats.
To start, we need more land to farm to ensure a sustainable source of nutrition for the children at the home and increase our capacity. Oxen and a plough are necessary for cultivating the garden and the farm once the land is purchased.
- One acre of land costs $300 USD and we hope to purchase 50 in total.
- A chicken costs $5, a goat costs $30. Any donation is appreciated.
- An ox costs $350, a plough costs $125. We need four oxen and one plough, the combination required costs $1,525.
This is Denis, our founder, on our only method of transportation - a motor bike. One of our biggest challenges is getting the children to the medical center in Gulu which is nearly 20 miles away. Our motor bike is on its last legs and we desperately need a new one. We also need a car to be able to take the children to the doctor when they are ill.
The children love music and dancing. All of our drums are currently broken and Philip, the drummer in the photo, is desperate for another set of drums. The cost of a set of drums is about $65.
Even though primary schools are government funded in Uganda for up to three children per family, each child must have a uniform, books, and other school supplies, the cost of which prevents low-income students from going to school.
In many rural communities, there is no government funded school so families are forced to pay for tuition as well. Tuition fees are usually $10 to $50 per term which to a Ugandan family makes sending their children to school the biggest expense that they have; often it's more than they can afford. This is just the cost of primary school; the cost of a secondary education is a much higher.
We provide an education for the 45 orphans living in our home and many of the over 200 orphans living in the surrounding areas.
Because we can’t afford to pay them, many of our teachers work for food, shelter and for their own children to attend our school.
Some of our children are very, very ill and need frequent medical treatment. This horrible sore on this boy's arm is most likely caused by HIV weakening his immune system.
Transportation is our biggest obstacle to receiving medical care, closely followed by the cost of treatment.
HIV and malaria medication is available if we can get the children to the medical center.
In April 2016, two of our boys were hospitalized for several days because they were extremely ill with malaria. This was a huge expense for us.
The children have a school uniform and, on average, one outfit each that they share with the other children of their gender and size.
This is Sadam, aged four, and this photo was taken in March 2016. Not all of their clothing is in tatters like his but much of it has seen better days. Many of the children do not have a pair of shoes.
We are located in a remote village outside of Gulu in northern Uganda. We do not have electricity, running water and definitely not computers or the internet. It makes communicating with our sponsors very difficult.
The children draw pictures with simple hand-written notes to say thank you but we would love to set up a computer at the orphanage so the children can send and receive emails and exchange messages with our sponsors so that they can form a relationship with each other.