Karamoja is a dry arid region of Uganda where many nomadic herding communities live. There have been repeated droughts in the last 10 years which have pushed many families close to starvation and death. There has been a large influx of families over the past several years to Mbale town after loss of their herds and livelihoods. On arrival in Mbale, Rebecca’s family had no source of income. Rebecca, who had never been sent to school, started looking for work to earn money. However, finding employment was hard for a 6-year girl so Rebecca resorted to picking charcoal and food stuffs from garbage heaps. This became her routine activity for survival.
The Child Restoration Outreach (CRO) project met Rebecca while she was out scavenging. She looked dirty, malnourished and timid. Rebecca at first ignored the social workers and continued with her daily hunt for scraps in the garbage heaps at the Mbale market area. The social workers tried to interview her, but she wouldn’t say a word. She kept getting more frightened and finally ran away. As the social workers were ending their community visit in the late afternoon they again came across Rebecca in a different part of town picking pieces of food stuffs around a garbage heap. This time the social workers convinced her to speak with them. She accepted an invitation to come to the CRO centre, where she found facilities to clean herself and was given a meal and new clothing.
Rebecca was registered for rehabilitation and transitional classes. As part of the transitional classes and counselling she learnt how to read and write, count, keep good hygiene and make friends. She excelled academically and successfully completed the transitional education programme. She was enrolled at Namatala primary school in Primary One. She has now completed her first year of education and proceeded to primary two with excellent results.
CRO have also worked to improve her family’s welfare. Her father continues as a casual labourer who earns 1500 USHS (0.32) per day. This helps him to buy at least one meal for his children. Rebecca continues to rely on the centre for meals and support. She says she is very grateful for every bit of help given to her and she wants to work hard and study up to university.
When children don’t make it to school, you help us get them back into the classroom and back on track for a bright future.
Africa Educational Trust and the Child Restoration Outreach project helps address the reasons children end up on the street and give comprehensive support to get them and their families back on their feet.
His father’s death and his mother’s illness forced Ivan onto the street to help his family, with our help, he was able to go back to school.