Uganda’s history has not been one of ease on the children of Uganda. Dictator Idi Amin Dada’s (1971-1979) purges left thousands of children without support. Many of these children had no choice but to take to the street and fend for them selves. However, street life is not easy and a young child will become part of a gang to earn a survival.
Once a child gets accustomed to street lifestyle, it is harder than you would imagine bringing them into a home and giving them the basic necessities they deserve. These children have become used to life on the streets and therefore need a step-by-step transition from street life to a life where they have access to their basic necessities including clean food, clothing, water, accommodation, love, education and choice. Africa Foundation has created this in our Katwe Clearing House. These children will have experienced tragic circumstances and need personal attention – we can supply this in our Children’s Centre and by ways of our Child Centred Approach.
There is also a significant problem of widespread ill health among so many of the youngest children and abandoned babies from the streets. When a child comes to Africa Foundation, from the streets, they receive a full medical check-up and subsequently, were required, receive medical treatment through our Long–Term Care programme.
Many children, both orphans and street children, settle in well within our homes, however, others are in need of a family home. It is in these situation where Africa Foundation will find these children Foster Homes. We help support the families that take in the orphans, and we supply them with aid through our Health Care & Humanitarian Aid programme.
For both street children and orphaned children, an education is a necessity and Africa Foundation can provide any child in need with an education either in our Rookmaaker School or local to their foster home through our Education Support Programme.
If the child in need has family or a foster home that is willing and able to care for them but cannot afford to support their education, Africa Foundation can assist them through our various partner schools and organisations around the country.
More than two thirds of the people who die from AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In several countries, at least one in five adults is HIV-positive. Villages are becoming ghost towns and local economies are crumbling.
According to the United Nations, AIDS is the biggest threat to Africa’s development. Large numbers of people in key roles are dying – teachers; farmers; health-workers; civil servants and young professionals.
Latest numbers reflect:
- 4 million People with HIV
- 5 new HIV cases in 2002
- 4 million deaths from AIDS in 2002
- 8 million children under 15 with AIDS
It was in the early 1980s around the shores of Lake Victoria in the districts of southern Uganda that the AIDS epidemic first began. AIDS has scarred our rural communities. In many community villages the land holds graves instead of crops.
For almost 20 years Uganda has seen death on a massive scale, and many more will die in the years to come. 2.5 million Ugandan children have become orphans as a result of the AIDS epidemic.
The toll that AIDS can take on children and young people orphaned by the epidemic is stressful. Not only do they have to go through the stress of seeing their parents fall ill and die, but as family assets erode, the very prospect of their own survival crumble before their very eyes. Africa Foundation’s work is to support these children through our programmes.
HIV/AIDS victims need medical support as well as counselling available to both themselves and their family. Africa Foundation can provide this through our Uganda Mobile HIV/AIDS Home Care Programme.
As well as providing care to those already suffering it is important that we educate others in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and raise awareness of the situation. Africa Foundation does this through presentations in schools and communities and various other methods in our Education and Awareness campaign.
Poverty and Food Insecurity
In Uganda many rural communities and town centres suffer from the scourge of unemployment. Families from these communities, who are reliant on income from farming, very much contribute to the continuous influx of street children, orphans, abandoned babies and vulnerable children in Uganda due to the food insecurity and low incomes.
Drought threatens the food security of large numbers of Ugandans, especially in the drier regions of the western, southern and northern Uganda. The rain failures during certain seasons cause widespread crop loss.
The insecurity, due to the war, in the districts of Northern Uganda, when combined with drought, leaves many people to facing serious food shortages.
The effect of war and insecurity in Uganda is widespread. There are over 1.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and nearly 200,000 refugees these figures only capture the picture, in terms of those physically forced to move from their homes and rely on strangers for help.
Insecurity continues to affect trade, agriculture, investment, culture and community. It has also placed extra burdens upon families with displaced relatives and orphans. Children have suffered disproportionately by being the target for murder and abduction. They suffer from trauma and they have lost their schools and their parents.
Uganda is a country, which has been struck by both man-made and natural disasters, such as war and drought. Over the past two decades these crises have created a population of vulnerable groups unable to sustain themselves. As a result of the civil strife, in many parts of the country, it is estimated that since 1996 2,364,000 children have lost both their parents or have been abducted.
The drought, floods and damaging weather systems, along with Global warming and other man made related disasters have, and will continue to, affect the Ugandan population.
People of Northern Uganda have been suffering without peace and security for over 18 years. War with, killings, abductions, deprivation, looting and displacement have dominated the lives of local people. Residents are living a life of worry with no end to the conflict in sight. This situation has led to depression, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, increase in HIV/AIDS, hunger and misery.