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.
Aug 7, 2015

Quarterly Report

Mother and daughters with Nodding Syndrome
Mother and daughters with Nodding Syndrome

Supporting families of Children with Nodding Syndrome
www.riverfund.org

Report compiled by Aloyo Innocent Jessie, Project Leader: River Fund HIV/AIDs Family Support Women Association, Kitgum.

Background.

The River Fund HIV/AIDs Family Support Association is a Community Based Organization (CBO) founded in 2007 by committed and motivated women to contribute towards improving the quality of life of persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and life threatening diseases, through educating and empowering the women and girls on HIV/AIDs Long Term Survival Skills, sponsorship and mentorship of girls in schools, economic empowerment and livelihood enhancement for self-reliance through seeds provision, training in kitchen gardening and support to malnourished children through provision of trainings in nutrition, and provision of basic items like soap, sugar, cooking oil, salt.
The organisation envisions a just and caring society where people yearn to help one another and realize that every human being is connected to one another for a change in the world with values such as: sharing, Love, Non-Discrimination, Humility, Peace, Non Violence, Justice, Inclusiveness, Service, Dedication, Honesty, Transparency, and Compassion.

Activities carried out this quarter.

1. Psychosocial Support training of Care givers
2. Home Visit
Activity 1. Training of care givers on psychosocial support for children suffering from the syndrome.
A three days training on psychosocial support of caregivers was conducted from 27th - 29th July 2015 at Anyuka Village in Okidi parish, Kitgum district. A total of 20(2 Male: 18 Female) caregivers attended the training.

The training objectives were:

1. To help participants appreciate what happens to their children and recognize that the children need their support to cope with the situation.
2. To enable the caregivers understand the different types of “gifts” that families and communities can give to children to build their inner strength.

Expected outcome of the activity

• 30 care givers trained
• Increased knowledge and skills on how to manage children with the Nodding Syndrome
• Enhanced knowledge on the different support family members can provide for the children in times of crisis (seizures).

Activity 2. Home Visit.

One of the caregivers visited with two of her daughters suffering from Nodding syndrome.
During the month of June, home visit was made to 6 households (3 in tumagu and 3 in okidi) to assess the level of improvement in the health of children suffering from the syndrome and below were the findings.
Years after the Nodding Syndrome hit the limelight, many researches were conducted and to date no specific cause of the disease has been got. However, this has not stopped the government and other NGOs from providing support to the children and their families.
With the challenge in funding and trend in development after the war, few NGOs are now working in northern Uganda with many focusing on development programmes and no specific intervention for children with conditions like the Nodding syndrome.
While Hope for Humans established a center in odek, Gulu district where these children are supported while their parents carry out domestic and productive activities during the day, it is not the case with Kitgum district where the parents have to balance between productive and care giving work for their children suffering from the syndrome.
The government is still carrying on with the provision of the drugs. However, for the past one month, the children have missed out on the drugs that is usually delivered to the different sites e.g. in Tumangu Village, Lamit Parish Akwang Sub-county in kitgum District. The care givers have to trek to Akwang HCIII which is over 7 miles from the village to get treatment for their children.
There is no food security within the households as a result of little time spent in cultivation work and care for the children, the households are faced with acute food shortage and poor feeding pattern in which the households depend on 1 or two meals a day of the same food type. There is further no provision of food supplement (Plump nuts) as before to improve on their diet. This is due to the inadequate funding from the government or partners to aid in this course.
NGOs like LWF that was supporting households of children suffering from the syndrome in the past has also scaled down on their work living the care givers to fend for the food themselves amidst other challenges.
While chatting with one caretaker, she had this to say “We mothers of these children have become prisoners, we cannot do anything for ourselves while taking care of these kids, we cannot even do much cultivation work now being a planting season because when you are in the garden , you are always worried of the child getting an attack, moving away from home or falling into fire” lamented a caretaker when expressing the challenges they are faced with in taking care and providing for these children.
Coupled with the above challenge, there is poor hygiene and sanitation in the community and worst in households with children with Nodding Syndrome. This is common with children who are being supported by grandparents who are usually elderly e.g. Aromorach in Tumagu who has a problem with saliva flowing from her mouth all the time.

Achievements.

• Trained 20 care givers.
• Conducted follow up (home Visit) with 10 households to discuss about challenges that they face in taking care of children suffering from the syndrome.
• Identified challenges faced by caregivers in providing for their households

Challenges.

Transport to and from the project sites is yet another of the challenges being faced. River Fund does not have a reliable means of transport and hence relies majorly on hiring motorcycles to facilitate field activities.

Recommendation.

1. Individual households affected by NS require a deliberate move to strengthen the livelihood component through provision of improved and fast maturing seeds.
2. There is need to engage the children in physical sporting activities as this will enhance their health and brain development.
3. There is need for health and hygiene education to be conducted for the care givers.
4. Support with Clothing and bedding for the children

Conclusion.

Without funding the planned activities were not conducted and this requires support to enable the Association reach to families who are in need to support these children.

Volunteers and caregivers having a light moment
Volunteers and caregivers having a light moment
Jul 20, 2015

Quarterly Report July 2015

Mentoring meeting
Mentoring meeting

Secondary Education Support for Vulnerable Girls (Funded by Global Giving)

www.riverfund.org 

Report compiled by Aloyo Innocent Jessie, Project Leader: River Fund HIV/AIDs Family Support Women Association, Kitgum. 

River Fund Volunteer and Senior Woman teacher holding a mentoring meeting with beneficiaries.

The River Fund HIV/AIDs Family Support Association is a Community Based Organization (CBO) founded in 2007 by committed and motivated women to contribute towards improving the quality of life of persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, through educating and empowering the women and girls on HIV/AIDs Long Term Survival Skills and sponsorship and mentorship of girls in schools, economic empowerment and livelihood food security enhancement for a sustainable development for self-reliance through seeds provision, training in kitchen gardening and support to malnourished children through provision of trainings in provision of nutritious meals, and provision of basic items like soap, sugar, cooking oil, salt.

The organisation envisions a just and caring society where people yearn to help one another and realize that every human being is connected to one another for a change in the world with values such as: sharing, Love, Non-Discrimination, Humility, Peace, Non Violence, Justice, Inclusiveness, Service, Dedication, Honesty, Transparency, and Compassion.

Activities carried out this quarter.

  1. Career guidance provision by academic masters to the students
  2. Mentorship of the students by mentors and the project leader
  3. Provision of sanitary towels to the beneficiaries.

Achievments. 

  • Identified 21 vulnerable girls who are all benefiting from the scholarship.
  • 21 girls supported in Career guidance by the academic masters in which subjects they must concentrate on to achieve their desired careers. 
  • 21 girls supported with Sanitary towels; 3 packets each for term II.
  • Conducted follow up meetings and mentorship with 21 beneficiaries to discuss about challenges that may hinder good performance in school. 

Challenges

  • Transport to and from the project sites is yet another of the challenges being faced. River Fund does not have a reliable means of transport and hence relies majorly on hiring motorcycles to facilitate field activities.
  • The government’s move to increase taxes on almost everything that affects life in a bid to increase its resource envelop has also created some challenges as prices of items including fuel for transport have gone up creating a challenge in the budget relocations
  • Overwhelming demand since there are many girls with similar vulnerabilities that need support. 

Lessons learnt

  • Close involvement of the teachers is key to project success as they help in the beneficiaries’ career guidance and mentoring.
  • Closely involve and work with the parents and or guardians of the girls.
  • Close monitoring and follow up at school by project leader is key in fostering mentorship of the girls

Conclusion.

Term II begun well with all the supported students returning to school within the first week of new school term. The term had a lot of extra –curricular activities like sports which the students were engaged fully in despite their normal class activities. Amidst all the different engagements, the students continued with their education. The project leader made monitoring and mentorship meetings with the students and mentors in their respective school. Those in senior four class went for a study tour/field trip organized by the geography department

We are so thankful to global Giving and the Riving Fund for this support. We could not have done this without all of your help!

CASE STUDY.

“Rescued from dropping out of school”

Orphaned Victoria aged 18 years was rescued from dropping out of school after her father was killed by the rebels and mother arrested over land conflict. Her love for education and hard work earned her sponsorship under Global Giving grant from the River Fund. She emerged as one of the best students in term I exams from her school in 2015 due to mentorship and counseling support provided by the staff of the River Fund and her mentors in averting her emotional trauma and feeling of hopelessness. She has dreams of becoming a teacher after her senior four.

Attached is her full story.

Note from Jaya Canterbury-Counts:
Land conflicts are common in the Acholi Region of N Uganda. After nearly 20 years in IDP Camps, refugees returning home encountered many and ongoing land ownership conflicts. As is often the case, children suffer most.

GIRL CHILD EDUCATION

The power of a Scholarship.  

My story, my life.

I am a student of Msgr. Antoni Vignato School in Kitgum district in Uganda. I was born in 1997, on 24th Dec. My name is Victoria a student of S. 3. I did not go to a nursery school because the school was far away from our home. When I was four (4) years, I was taken to Kampala to look after the baby of my Auntie’s daughter. My mother accepted to let me go because she thought that they (my Auntie) would provide for my education. So I stayed two years without any sign of going to school let alone any discussion about my education. After two years, they got a sponsor from Europe for me. I started my P.1 to P.5 from a school in Kampala called Omega Primary School. But when my sponsor went back to their home country, she left the authority of my fees in the hands of her husband. Before leaving, she told me that the fees will be sent to my husband every school term but this was not the case. Her husband converted the use of the money for his personal gain and I had no voice since I did not have any contact as it was removed from me.

When I reached P.6, another person was paying my fees from Canada and this money was passed through my Auntie’s daughter. So the money for my school fees was shared among three more children who were studying in better schools in Kampala. When I reached P.7, my Auntie decided to bring me back to the village claiming there is no body sending money for my fees. She tried to pay my fees even after bringing me back home but stopped since she had used the money for my fees for paying her children’s fees. I was left to suffer without education. My mother being poor, old and a widow had no money to pay for my education. She grows crops and keeps animals in order to enable me stay in school. My dad died when I was still a baby and my mother is a single parent. My brothers and sisters did not go to school because of lack of money to pay for their education so they are peasants.

As the New Year was approaching, the Primary Leaving Examinations result was released and I was in division 1 with 11 Aggregate. I was filled with joy and excitement of joining secondary education although at the back of my mine I knew there was no one to support my education. My mother sold all the harvests from crops grown in order for me to join Secondary School. I wanted that at least in my family, I join secondary education since it is isolated with illiteracy and had no future and because my people –relatives thought that I would never make it.

When I joined S.1, in Second term, I was under a scholarship until S.2 term III. As I was joining S.3 this year, there were some people who were conflicting with my mother over land. But when my mother refused to give away the land belonging to my grandfather, she and my brothers were arrested and taken to prison. I had to stay at home alone since my elder sisters are all married and in their homes. I had to cope up with the situation although I would cry all the time as those who arrested my mother would constantly tell me that my mother would never be released from prison. When the term I 2015 begun, I had no hope of continuing with my education. I had made a decision to stay at home since my mother who used to struggle and pay my fees was now in prison but one of my cousin sisters advised me to go to school as I wait for my mother to be released. I did not even have any requirements to take to school and was hopeless. I neglected myself as being useless. My mother sent words from prison saying I should stay at home this year and wait to join next year 2016 may be when she is finally released from prison. This made me feel very bad and wished that I had never been born to suffer in this world. I wondered why I have never been happy even for once in my life.

I had to comfort myself with help from my relatives and friends and I decided to go back to school as a day scholar commuting from one of my Cousin’s home in town although with no much hope. When it was approaching mid -term examination, the school needed money for fees paid which money I did not have. Before this, I was picked among the best ten (10) students by the Exams master on ground that our fees would be paid. I had mixed feelings thinking that such a thing could not happen to me. The next day I was sent home together with some students who had not also paid fees. I went straight to the village although I knew there was no one at home. I continued cultivating our gardens in the absence of my mother.

After two weeks, the clan members contributed money in order to pay for my mother to be released from prison and come back home. I also sold some harvests (food stuff) that was in the granaries to add on the money. All I was wishing for was my mother coming back home and not education any more. She was bailed out (a prisoner from out) and was to continue reporting to police. This made me happy although I knew she would be taken back to prison anytime. This same week, the school was announcing on radio searching for me to go back to school. I heard my name but wondered what the school wanted with me. The head teacher and senior woman teacher were searching for me and any contact to reach me. After two days, I came back to school with my uncle who was called on phone by the head teacher to bring me back to school. On arrival, everyone was happy on seeing me and my teachers were even happier. While in office, I was told that my school fees had been paid for the whole year (term I –III).I could not believe this. I thought it was a lie but the head teacher and senior woman teacher were just laughing. It was a shock to me and the thought that I would study this year never crossed my mind till then. I was so excited to be back at school and felt I had a comforter, provider and guardian just near as I sat there in the office although I had missed the exams I consoled myself saying next time better.

With this I now have hope that my future will be bright and I trust and believe God will bless my plan of becoming a teacher. Thank you so much River Fund and all who are supporting you to reach out to people like myself! I shall forever remain indebted to this generosity.

Girls receiving sanitary towels
Girls receiving sanitary towels
Students listening attentively
Students listening attentively

Attachments:
Jul 8, 2015

Quarterly Report

Rose
Rose's group in Tororo

Project Report for Educate 600 Orphans in Rural Eastern Uganda

Background Information

Rayland Rural Development Organisation is a registered Local NGO with number.5914/ 9938 carried out her activities in the fields of Empowering the Unemployed Women and Youth through Non-Formal Skills Training, Extending Educational Support to Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC), Carrying out HIV/AIDS Awareness and Control of its Spread.

It provides support to the vulnerable children who have lost their parents or guardians and enable them to fit into the society morally, spiritually and mentally.

It was observed that School-related costs have been the major obstacle for children in abject poverty to access education

That is why We, Rayland Rural Development Organisation, are promoting the concept of imparting orphans education and providing them other necessities of life on regular basis. Ultimately they will be able to serve their families and the community.

 

ACTIVITY REPORT:

Education

Education improves the lives of children, the economic and social well being of the communities. It can lead to an increase in the productivity of labor, improved health and it enables people to participate fully in the economy and development of their societies. Children access to education is affected by a wide range of factors. These include family structure, economic and domestic factors, health status and access to health services, Safety of children in schools, and external factors such as the distance of the school from the home and the quality of education also matters.

On top of all that if a child becomes an orphan then the life converts to a nightmare and future is hopeless. Orphan children stand an increased chance of being malnourished and receiving inadequate health care-factors that can adversely affect enrollment, attendance and performance.

 

Challenges

Major concerns of finding resources to pay for school fees and other expense such as uniforms, shoes, school text books, note books, Sweaters, hygiene etc, increases the likelihood of negative outcomes; such as dropout, child labor and other forms of exploitation.

Rayland Rural Development Organisation realized that the school fees and hidden costs are often greatest barriers to schooling. The move to support the OVCs education is critical to ensure that orphans enroll and stay in school.

In this quarter we found out there is need to provide nutritional Aid support for the orphans to combat malnutrition among children.

Since there was a delay in receiving rain water this caused late planting, contributing to hunger and malnutrition is expected most especially among children.

 

Implementation:

With the assistance we received, our team members at the districts of Tororo, Busia and Bugiri gathered all the sponsored orphans at their respective districts and distributed the items according and equally to all children and their guardians were present.

 

Major Achievements of Project:

With the support that we received in the last quarter will successfully enable our 600 children stay at school in the 1st, 2nd 3rd quarter of the year 2015. All the children got the schooling materials which are necessary for the OVCs to help them study (school uniforms, exercise books, black books, mathematical sets ,ball pens, pencils among others) . About 248 of our school candidates are preparing for mocks this month (these include all primary seven, O’Level, S.4 and A’ Level S.6

Provided school uniforms to 600 orphans.

Provided scholastic material to 600 orphans.

Provided footwear to the orphans in need.

 

Needs

The special needs and concerns surroundings orphans and vulnerable children:

It seemed difficult for orphans to get to school in time because the transport facility is very poor or not available. Majority of the orphans come from far remote villages as some of the guardians/ mothers are also so vulnerable that they can't afford the fare.

There is need to have these children in one central place / school where we can take close care and support while at school. (There is need to construct an orphanage school)

Need to support orphans from nursery to university degree. In this way, they will be able to find a better career and will not be forced to drop out of schools / colleges in middle.

 

Conclusion. I give my sincere regards to all our donors at Global Giving, The River Fund, Uganda government, local leaders and all well wishers for supporting our cause of bringing  hope to the vulnerable community we serve most especially the young generations.

I remain yours faithfully,

Onyango Joseph
Executive Director RARUDO

School Supplies!
School Supplies!

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