The River Fund

The River Fund is dedicated to providing physical, emotional and spiritual support, to people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and other life challenging illnesses and circumstances, as well as their loved ones and caregivers. We serve the poor, those who often are alone and in need - regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or age.
Jun 15, 2015

Quarterly Report

Tending pineapple garden
Tending pineapple garden

Progressive report for Empower AIDS widows - Save Community as of June 2015

By Onyango Joseph – Executive Director RARUDO

Uganda is a landlocked and fertile country with many lakes and rivers, 86% of the population live in rural areas and rely on subsistence agriculture. More than half live in poverty without reliable access to food, as despite Uganda’s good soil and favorable weather, there are many barriers preventing poor farmers making the most of the country’s growing economy.

Activities ongoing: The main activities this time round has been, planting the seeds, and weeding the crops. This was enabled by the support from our dear donors at Global Giving and the River Fund.

As soon as the great down pour of rain, the work of planting started and we hope to improve nutrition especially among children, increased income from the sale of surplus vegetables, balanced diet by providing hope for the future as they improve on their own gardens by adopting of sustainable organic agriculture so as to maximize the crop yields and thus better income.

RARUDO works to serve rural Ugandan women to increase the value of their harvests through better farming practices and simple processing of any surplus they produce. We help them find ways of earning a living that are suited to their natural environment, so they can improve their lives without damaging the natural resources they rely on.

Maize is hugely important to the people of eastern districts of Uganda, both as food and as a cash crop. This season on average, local farmers planted two acres of maize each, from which they expect to harvest around 1,000 kg just because late planting due to late rainfall.

They also planted some vegetables on their vegetable gardens which are usually installed after the millet and maize harvest on the plots of land closest to the kitchen and this we refer it as kitchen gardens. But due to the long drought women carried both the food crop and vegetables when the rain started late April. The vegetables that are most frequently grown were cabbage, eggplant, beans, green peppers, and carrots. 

Challenges met in this quarter.

  • Shortage of food as a result of long drought as it usually takes four to five months to harvest.
  • High prices of food as this make many families go empty stomach most especially the OVCs (orphans and other vulnerable children) and child headed homes and elderly energy less women.
  • The fear is that we may face far worse conditions as the outcome of malnutrition.
  • Poor diet is expected because flood washed away some of the members vegetables gardens which makes many children more vulnerable.

Way forward

- By continuing training women in better methods of sustainable organic farming so that their land can produce better yields and using improved seeds, they can quadruple their harvests to 4,000kg each. - We are also introducing drying racks to reduce post-harvest wastage. - Forming co-operative societies that will train women famers to produce finished products like quality flour and briquettes to increase income at house hold levels for sustainability.

Conclusion

These products can be sold to earn extra income for household expenses, school and medical costs as well to help women buy additional land and have better housing. To resource our ambitious organizational goals, we still put request in pursuing funding opportunities, not for the sake of growth alone, but also we can have greater impact and ensure women, children, the elderly, the PWDS (persons with disabilities) and PLWHAs (persons living with HIV/AIDS) benefit from greater economies of scale.

Last but not least on behalf of RARUDO family I want to extend my sincere gratitude to our dear donors, friends at Global Giving and The River Fund for their tireless and generous support extended to our noble cause.

May God Bless you. 

I remain yours in service,

Onyango Joseph

Executive Director

RARUDO

Note from Jaya Canterbury-Counts, Executive Director The River Fund

In rural Uganda, we work primarily with women and have been doing this work since 2001.

Investing in women impacts more people than just the families involved. In fact, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization have estimated that if women were given the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase the yields on their farms by twenty to thirty percent – raising total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5% to 4%, in turn.

It is estimated that by closing the gender gap in agriculture, we could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12% to 17% percent.

Maize (corn) garden
Maize (corn) garden
Vegetable garden
Vegetable garden
Jun 15, 2015

Quarterly Report / Site Visit

Beautiful & tall. Just one story back in 2005!
Beautiful & tall. Just one story back in 2005!

Dear donors, friends and well wishers of “little HEARTS orphanage”,

Greetings to you all.

I am glad to inform you that our boys Karthik and Surendra passed Xth class with good marks. Another boy, Charan also completed successfully 1st year Intermediate with high marks.

Padma also passed Intermediate (XII standard) and interested to join B.Sc. Nursing. Ramalakshmi also passed 2nd year ANM (Nursing) completed and another year to complete her Nursing. After this she also interested to join B.Sc. Nursing. These good things are happening because of your kind support.

Ramu appearing for 2nd year Civil Engineering examinations.

Recently Ms. P Reddy and her mother from The River Fund spent 2 days at “little HEARTS Orphanage” on official visit. We went to beach with all the children and spent 3 hours. It was a fun filled day for children.  

Prasanna, Karthik and Dinesh will be coming to Xth standard from this academic year. They will be sent to a local Sreedhar Coaching Center for special coaching. For each boy we should pay Rs.2500/- per year for tuition.

Four full time workers have been working at the orphanage. For 1st to 9th standard children every evening 3 part time tutors will come and teach all subjects.

Each month we are spending nearly 70 to 75 thousand Rupees (approximately $1,170.00) to run the “little HEARTS Orphanage”.

Once again we thank Donors, The River Fund and Global Giving for their kind support. Please continue your kind support to run the orphanage successfully.

Kind regards,

C.P.Kumar

HEARTS

A note from Jaya Canterbury-Counts, Executive Director of The River Fund:

Riverfund, Inc. (The River Fund) volunteers Pranathi and her mom, Prema visited 'Little HEARTS Orphanage" in Nellore India last week. Besides conducting a thorough and professional site visit for us including reviewing finances, they had a fun day with the kids at the beach! Year after year, we have watched as these children have grown into beautiful young adults. Most of the very first kids at HEARTS are now in university, college or vocational training. This is what happens when an organization works hard to go the distance. These economic times are very tough and many small nonprofits have shut their doors. To all of you who have hung in there with us ... thank you so very much!

The cook and the kitchen!
The cook and the kitchen!
Beach holiday = fun!
Beach holiday = fun!
The ride home ...
The ride home ...
May 5, 2015

Quarterly Report

Girl Child Education Project
Girl Child Education Project

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT WOMEN ASSOCIATION is a Community Based organization established in 2006. Its office is situated at Christ the King parish, Kitgum Town Council, Kitgum district, Uganda. It has a total membership of 30 women who have volunteered to help sensitize and restore hope to the traumatized community (orphans, child headed families, people affected with HIV/Aids) as well as improve the nutrition of malnourished children. 

Key focused areas of intervention include; Training People Living With AIDS (PLWA) on long term Survival skills, Care of malnourished children through providing food stuff, Counseling of married couples on coping with the AIDS pandemic situation in their families, Home visits of PLWA, Educating mothers on providing proper and balanced nutrition using locally available resources and Initiating livelihood and economic strengthening schemes for PLWA that do not demand too much energy and Educating the rural women and girls-providing sponsorship to secondary School going girls.

This year 2015, with support from The River Fund, the Association has managed to support 20 Secondary School going girls in their education. Activities carried out include:

1. Assessment and Identification of Girls for support.

The identification of these girls took place in February 2015 when the new school term 1 begun. The selection process involved the heads of schools. Their involvement was very important. In that the administration already had the necessary information of the neediest girls. The approach was to pick girls already enrolled in school to avoid picking girls not in school since the support is only available for one year which will mean after the one year they again drop out of school. The criteria used were based on the premise of the level of need and performance in class. Twenty students were selected from St. Bakhita Girls Secondary school and Msgr. Antonio Vingato Secondary School. All the identified students are in the boarding section for close contact and mentorship.

2. Support to the beneficiaries.

This school term, a total of twenty (20) girls were supported with fees and sanitary towels. All the students that were selected are also being mentored by teachers identified by the school administration with guidance from the River Fund office. Those in senior four further had their examination and field trip fees paid to enable them receive full package and concentrate in their last year of ordinary level studies.

Mentorship

To enable the mentorship to be successful, with the help of the school administration, two teachers per school were identified to have close interaction with the students being supported by the project. The teachers organize monthly group meeting with all the girls to enable them discuss together what possible challenges they face that may interfere with their performance and education. Some of the issues discussed include: What makes young girls think of involving themselves in teenage sexual relationship. To this, the girls had these to say.

Some parents and community members use vulgar languages, for example, you have all it takes for you to get married, are you not normal? Some parents force them get out of home especially parents who are in need of money force their girls into marriage for the sake of getting money from dowry, Some parents express being tired of providing fees, feedings, buying clothes for their girls and neglect from their parents, some do not provide basic private needs e.g. Pads, Bathing soap, Panties 

To gauge their understanding and opinions about the practice of involving in teenage sexual behavior, we asked the girls of the ways of avoiding this problem? These are their responses. Constant career guidance and mentorship to the girls by the teachers, organizing joint sessions with the parents, Periodic Visit by River Fund Volunteer to encourage the students and girls getting involved in School club activities

Lessons Learned

Mentorship is very important for the improvement in the performance of students at school because it provide an avenue for opening up by the students about the challenges they are facing that if not handled may interfere with their studies. During mentorship meetings, the teachers explore the students challenging situations and talk about it with them to find out the best way of handling the difficult situations. The problems may stem from home were the girls come and in such scenario, arrangements will be made to meet with the parents of the girls to discuss about it with aim of making the situation better.

There are students who have no one to provide their fees even when they have parents at home.A case in point is one student from Msgr. Antonio Vingato school whom the school had to call her parents to send her back to school because she had already been sent home for failure to pay fees. Some of these girls reported late to school as they have to first do some petty jobs to earn money for fees like brewing alcohol.

Challenges

The support being just for one year means the students in senior three and even those in senior four may not continue to the next level of their education.

Some girls go without the most needed basic needs like soap, toothpaste because their parents cannot provide for them. This has made them to always depend on friends at school.

Recommendations

Organize meetings with the parents of the girls to advise them to save money this year for their children’s studies in case no more funding is received to support the girls.

Discussing with parents about their responsibilities towards the studies and wellbeing of their children - especially girl children.

 

 

Teacher and girls during group mentorship
Teacher and girls during group mentorship

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