May 29, 2020

An Update on our COVID-19 Emergency Appeal

Dear friends,

In these unusual and uncertain times, we hope that you are all safe and managing to adjust to a different way of life for now. Our UK office shut at the end of March and all of our staff have been working remotely from home since then. We are doing our best to keep the organisation running as normal despite not being in the same office together,  things feel different but we have been trying to keep connected! Because we are working from home, this may mean that we are slightly slower to respond to enquiries, especially answering any post, so please do bear with us. If you have any questions about anything at any time, please do feel free to pick up the phone or drop us an email – we would love to hear from you.

At the end of March the Ugandan government took the decision to close all schools and public meetings in Uganda to keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. With heavy hearts, we have temporarily had to close our Encouraging Education project; all sponsored children are now back home and out of school; and all of our Saturday Kids Clubs, football training and volunteer meetings are suspended for now. It is absolutely heart-breaking to have to do this but we have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable children and families we are supporting, to follow government advice, to try to save lives. 

Although some of our projects have closed, we are still very much at work in Uganda. Hundreds of children depend on us every day to have their basic needs met and to have a safe place to go to, and the majority of children who attend our feeding project eat just one meal a day. All of our sponsored children are from extremely poor households who will struggle to feed their children now that schools are closed and they won’t be eating lunch at school. The slums of Kampala are notorious for violent crime and abuse, and we are concerned what will happen to our children now that our centres our closed and they don’t have a safe space to come to, they don’t have a structure to their day, and they don’t have food to eat. Because of this, we are still running our vital work just in a different way. Instead of hundreds of children coming to our Feeding Project every day, we are regularly distributing food parcels to these children and their families. We are increasing our safeguarding efforts to make sure children are kept safe from harm during this time. We have installed handwashing stations in communities, and have been using this time whilst our classrooms are closed to carry out vital work such as building toilets to try to make the slums safer and more sanitary places to live. Our Ewafe Project Home has remained open and we have increased the amount of food available to provide for the additional kids at the home and not at school during this time. We are proud to continue our vital work and to be putting your generous donations to good use to ensure that the most vulnerable children are still supported, kept safe and fed at this time.

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Our Ugandan team are working hard to provide vital support for vulnerable children and families at this time

In May we launched our Feeding Families: Emergency COVID-19 Appeal to raise money for our food banks. I have been blown away by the support received, and the sheer numbers of people who have made a donation. Every pound received makes a huge difference and I cannot thank you enough.

The situation in Uganda is really tough and the situation in the slums is really, really tough. As the lock down continues, families are slipping further into poverty. Our team in Uganda knows of at least 3 children who have died of starvation, and we are getting increasing calls and referrals regarding safeguarding concerns.

We were initially expecting to be feeding around 1000 families a week through our food banks. When they opened we quickly realised that this was much more likely to be around 3000 families and the demand has been ever increasing. So far we have fed almost 25,000 families – that is over 100,000 people provided with food who otherwise would have gone hungry! We have given out 214,389 food parcels to date – which would not have been possible without the kind support of everyone who has donated to our emergency appeal.

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Our amazing team on the ground in Uganda have been working hard to make the slums safer and more sanitary communities for the children and families that we support to. We have installed 8 hand washing stations so far which have so far enabled almost 60,000 people to have access to soap and water to help prevent the spread of the virus. We have also just started work on building a brand new toilet block in Katanga slum which will hugely improve the sanitation in the whole community. We have been working hard to respond to people’s needs and alongside providing food for families who have been struggling we have also been providing soap and medical care for those who need it. For those who are disabled or elderly or unable to access our food banks, we have been safely delivering parcels of food to people at home.

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We have been working closely with the local community leaders who have been referring people to us for support. Denis, the Chairman of one of the slums we are supporting said “thank you for your endless effort to support our people, the foodbank project has saved our community”. We are proud of being a community led and community driven organisation, and of being that safety net and touchpoint for those in need at this time.

I am in awe of the hard work, dedication and commitment of our amazing team on the ground in Uganda. They daily put themselves at risk to continue providing front line services to the families in Kampala’s slums. Stocking our food banks, packing parcels of essentials, delivering food to vulnerable families, installing hand washing stations, building toilets, responding to safeguarding concerns, meeting with local leaders, the list goes on and I am so proud of the whole team. Please do join me in appreciating them for all that they do.

Some of our fantastic staff team at Namuwongo centre

Some of our fantastic staff team at Namuwongo centre

We don’t yet know when lock down restrictions will be eased in Uganda, and although we have achieved so much so far, we are aware that there is so much more need. Key to being able to continue this vital work is having enough resources to do so. Please donate to our emergency appeal via GlobalGiving if you can. Please share this report, to help raise awareness and support for this life saving work. Thank you.

Olivia Barker White - CEO

 

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Mar 27, 2020

Ewafe Project: Spring Update 2020

Another Child Reunited with Her Family! 

In April of last year we welcomed 12-year-old Jessica* to our transitional home. She was referred to us by the police and on arrival she shared with us her story:

"We used to live at home peacefully as a family, but one day my father abandoned us. Soon after my mother became sick and I was forced to drop out of school as she could not afford to pay the fees on her own. As I was now doing nothing at home a distant relative asked my mother if she could take me to Kampala to baby sit her child. My mother had no other choice but to accept as she was too sick to work and could not afford to care for me."

"After spending just two weeks living in Kampala my relative started to beat me, stating that I did not know how to do anything as I was from a poor family. I decided that my best option would be to run away and try and go back home, but I soon got lost in such a big city. Thankfully, a kind man saw that I was in trouble and took me to the police station to seek help. This is where I met a Kids Club Kampala representative who promised that they would take me to the Ewafe home and take care of me."

Jessica spent almost 8 months in our care and was provided with food, clothes, shelter, medical care and counselling. In December our social workers were able to successfully trace Jessica's family and soon after she was resettled with her mother and siblings. Jessica's mother was delighted that her daughter was safe, explaining:

"I had lost all hope of ever seeing my child again so I am so glad to know that she is still alive and doing well. Thank you so much (Ewafe Project) for your kindness and the good work you are doing."


Jessica* (bottom left) being reunited with her family.     

Gemma's Story Update 

In previous updates we shared with you the story of Gemma*, our first child to be resettled with a foster family. Our social workers are continuing to undertake regular follow up visits and we are pleased to report that Gemma is still doing really well in her new home. Below is a recent photo of Gemma and her foster family!

                            

We are absolutely delighted that Gemma has settled in so quickly with her new foster family. We hope to be able to find suitable foster families for more children but we also lack the funding to roll this out on a large scale, so please do share the word about our fostering programme to those who might want to donate. 

Ewafe Project 2019 Highlights

  • In 2019 we managed to rescue 28 new children and admitted them to our transitional home, with all children being provided with counselling, medical care and rehabilitation.
  • Throughout the year we also successfully and safely reintegrated a further 17 children back into loving and caring families.
  • We even resettled an abandoned child with our first ever foster family. This went extremely well and Gemma is loving her new home!
  • Our transitional home was also blessed with a new paint job which has made it a nicer place for the children to stay.
Feb 3, 2020

Kids Club Kampala Updates 2019

Thank you for all of your support for Kids Club Kampala over 2019 - we have had a fantastic year and could not have done it without you! It has been a year of change and a year of growth and also a year of celebration - most notably celebrating our 10 year anniversary this summer! 

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In January 2019, partly thanks to a grant received from UK Aid (the UK Government’s De3partment for International Development), we expanded our Early Education for All project to Naguru slum community. Naguru slum is home to over 10,000 people, the majority who live in abject poverty and lack basic services. Since January, we have provided free education and a hot daily meal to 300 children every day in this community, the majority of whom have never been to school before and are unlikely to have another opportunity to learn. Alongside this, we have built new toilets in this community for the children, and we have been providing women with vocational skills through running tailoring and hairdressing courses.

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In July, heavy rains and widespread flooding badly damaged our community classroom in Katanga slum, which is a safe haven for hundreds of vulnerable children who come every day to receive free education, a hot meal, hope and love. Heavy rains in early The foundations of the building were partly washed away causing subsidence and broken windows, and a leaking roof and the overflowing of a sewage channel that runs alongside the classroom meant that we were sadly forced to close the classroom. In August, we launched an emergency fundraising appeal to raise the money to fix the classroom and enable children to learn in a safe environment once again. We amazingly reached our target and by the beginning of October the classroom was reopened as is even bigger and better than before! As we raised more than our target we were also able to buy some new tables and chairs which has made a big difference to children’s learning too.

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Whilst working in the slums, Kids Club Kampala discovered that many children were becoming lost, abandoned, orphaned or even becoming victims of abuse or trafficking. The Ewafe Project was started in 2013 to address this growing problem. Our Ewafe project helps children who have been abandoned, provides them with emergency help and a safe place to live, whilst searching for and reuniting children with their families. To date the project has rescued 75 children and reintegrated 49 with all children being provided with counselling, support and medical care and rehabilitation. To date, of the 75 children who have been rescued by the Ewafe project: 18 were missing children; 15 were abandoned due to parental mental health; 12 were abandoned through family breakdown; 12 were victims of abuse; 7 were abandoned through family homelessness; 6 were rescued from illegal orphanages and 5 were rescued from child labour. To date, we have we have so far reintegrated 49 children: 44 of those have been resettled with family members; 4 children are in the resettlement process and will be going to live with family members in the next few weeks; and 1 child is in long- term foster care.

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Olivia, UK Director and Nicole, Charity Development Manager went to Uganda in October. Nothing beats visiting Uganda and spending time with the children, listening to their stories and seeing the projects in the flesh. This was the first time in two years that Olivia went to Uganda and she is really excited to return to see all the developments since her last visit in 2017. Here’s what they had to say about their trip:

Olivia: "It was such a joy to be back in Uganda and it was incredible to see all of the progress and development of our projects and to catch up with our fantastic staff and volunteer team. Seeing the difference that people's donations are making in vulnerable children's lives - there is no greater feeling!".
Nicole:  "It was absolutely amazing to be back in Uganda and it was even better to see our projects go from strength to strength particularly our new Katanga classroom and the Ewafe home . I'm so proud of the work of all our staff and volunteers in Uganda and it's great to come back to the UK with a renewed passion and  focus. 

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In June we resettled an abandoned child with our first ever foster family. Gemma* was 8 when her mother became very unwell and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. As a result, Gemma was at risk of homelessness, so in 2018 she came to stay at the Ewafe home. The hope was that Gemma's mum would recover but sadly a year passed and her mother was still unable to offer Gemma the consistent care that she needs. With no other family options, we found a loving Ugandan family and took them through the process of becoming approved foster carers. In June the final approval and placement took place and Gemma moved in with her new family! This family have the space in their hearts and lives to give Gemma the love she so desperately needs, along with the one-to-one attention and sense of belonging that is not easy to find when living in a group home. Gemma is also going to start attending school again, and is able to have continued contact with her mum.

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This year we have had 18 new people join us as Child Sponsors, 7 new Regular Givers and 223 new one-off donors! Together we have held 28 events across the year, with 25 volunteers supporting our work. We have had 12 international volunteers heading out to Uganda and 5 new interns working with us in the UK office. This year we have partnered with 15 churches, 8 schools, 2 corporate companies and numerous other community groups.

 

 
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