The Afaayo (means “Care” in Luganda) sponsorship program gives vulnerable children from the poorest families of Namulanda rural area in Uganda, the opportunity to pursue an education that will enable them to realize their full potential and build a better future for themselves. The children enrolled in the Afaayo program are graduates of Nazareth Kindergarten, a nursery set up by Brit Olam’s volunteers to provide preschool education for the youngest children in the poorest areas of Namulanda.
Daphine is 15 years old, studying senior two at Light Africa school. She is the elderly sister in the family of 6 children. She comes from a single parent poor family, where her mother operates a local small bar where Daphine also works during holidays in a way of supporting her mother. Daphine has always been a hardworking child; Counseling and career guidance were given to enable Daphine to keep in school. Her mother was always very supportive about Daphine’s education which kept her going on but today they are still worrying whether she will graduate. Additionally, here village environment and the fact that their livelihood depends on the Bar her mother runs, Daphine is exposed to diseases, early marriages and other dangers.
Iren is 14 years old, studying at secondary school. Iren lost her mother in 2012 who was the sole provider for the family. Iren was taken back to the village to live her father in an extended family which depends on subsistence farming for a living. Iren is father doesnt have any source of income to support her. Iren always puts a lot of efforts to ensure that she gets the best results at school. We are currently looking for a good secondary school that she can join.
Teddy is 15 years old and the second child in the family of 9 children. She completed primary school last year and is now hoping to join Light Africa school for her secondary education. She comes from a poor family- her mother is a single parent who works in a stone quarry. Teddy is living with her mother who is willing to spend all her income for her children to live a good life. Teddy needs a good school that will enable her to keep improving her grades and perform better at the next level.
Ibrahim is 18 years, studying in senior six at Lubiri high school in kampala. He is joining university next year and wants to go to medicine school. Ibrahim is in one of the best schools in the country and his grades are excellent. Ibrahim lost his parents to HIV at a very young age and lived in the orphanage where Jewish volunteers found him and identified him as a bright child. The orphanage where Ibrahim used to live depended on foreign funding and so when the funding ended the orphanage closed down. today, he goes to a boarding school. Ibrahim struggles to find shelter, food and clothing during holidays and most of the time he stays with friends. He lives in misery since his only relative is his grandmother who is too old and sick to take care of him.
Eric is 13 years old, studying Primary seven at St Marys’ primary school. he is the elderly brother out of three and stays with his mother and step father after the death of his father in 2013. His mother is very supportive, especially regarding his homework. Eric will complet his primary level this year and promises to perform very well so that he can continue going to school next year. With the support from his mother Eric is likely to keep up his grades throughout the secondary level given chance to keep in school.
Britney is 15 years old. She is the first child in a family of three children. Her parents separated in 2016 when she was still in primary school and from the time of separation Britney used to remain at school even during holidays since they could not take care of her. When her mother found a job that enabled her to buy food she took Britney back. Britney now lives with her mother though she can not support her with most of her basic needs. She lacks at school but she is not emotionally tortured since she lives with her mother.
Lilian is 14 years and has three siblings. She lives with her mother in Entebbe. Her mother is a widow who provides for her family by practicing agriculture on equally small scale. She grows food crops for food and trades in the local market. Although she comes from a poor family, Lillian works hard both in school and at home. She helps her mother with domestic roles and garden work during holidays. Lilian completed primary school last year, and today she is looking forward to integrate in a secondary school. Lillian dreams to go to University on day, and hopes that if she will continue studying hard she will get there.
Ashiraf is 14 years old and the seventh child in the family of 9 children. He is the only child in the family who studies at school and he is struggling to keep studying and not go out and work instead, for the sake of providing his family. Ashiraf comes from a single parent family that depends on subsistence farming. The family is very much affected by poverty and lacks basic needs. He wishes to finish school so that he will be able to provide his family as a working adult with a worthy job.
Esther is 15 years old, studying as a senior two at Light Africa school. Her mother had deserted their household due to domestic violence. Her father remarried, and her stepmother refuses her to go school so that she can take care of her babies. She could attend school for a few days, but she missed most of the lessons during the term. Later, Esther moved in with her mother, who helped her catch up with her studies, and yet they were too poor to buy food, rent and other basic needs. Her mother struggled to feed the family and to ensure that Esther goes to school. Esther is emotionally hurt and still struggles to overcome her childhood memories. She wants to study hard so that she will be able to support her mother in the future, and so that she could ensure herself and her future family live in a fair and happy way.
David was born in 21.8.2005 in Northern Uganda, an area that suffered from violence by the Lord Resistance Army (Joseph Kony). Today he is 15 years old and is fortunate to be going to school in Kampala, a region that is relatively peaceful compared to the North. His elder siblings were affected by the war and so did not attend school at all. His father is working as cook at a nursery school in Entebbe and his mother is working as school bus conductor. Even though both parents work, the two jobs do not make enough money for the family to ensure decent healthcare, food and rent. David is a shy, intelligent and humble child. He asks to be given a chance to succeed and has counsel and guidance from his school. Despite David’s difficult life conditions, he has never lost hope and he is always working hard to ensure a good future for himself and his family.
Christine is 14 years old and lives in Namulanda. She has 3 siblings and they all live with their mother. Christine lost her father as a baby and her mother is HIV positive patient. The family does not have a stable source of income- the mother is working very hard when she can to provide the family. They grow crops on a small scale and harvest them for both food and trade. The family is very poor, which leaves Christine without all the basic needs for school. Her mother has difficulties helping Christine with her homework, since she has no education and must work for their living and take care of her illness. Christine is a healthy, hardworking, energetic and happy child. She had great dreams of the future and can imagen herself studying in the university and becoming a doctor, helping her community.
Bright is 15 years old. His father died when he was a child and today he lives with his mother and 3 siblings in Bwebajja on Entebbe road. His mother is very poor and earns from vending cheap commodities in the local markets. Today, he is studying in primary seven at Mother Mary primary school. Bright social functioning is not very good and he has trouble reading and understanding people’s emotions, social relationships and situations. Bright needs social and financial supports and guidance, so that he could join secondary school next year.
How Does Your Sponsorship Help?
Worldwide millions and millions of children do not attend school, especially in developing countries. Parents often must keep them home to help with housekeeping or to contribute to the family income. Even if of children would be able to go to school often would be physically unable to.
The Afaayo sponsorship program gives vulnerable children from the poorest families of Namulanda rural area in Uganda, the opportunity to pursue an education that will enable them to realize their full potential and build a better future for themselves. The children that enrolled in the Afaayo program are graduates of Nazareth Kindergarten, a nursery set up by Brit Olam’s volunteers to provide preschool education for the youngest children in the poorest areas of Namulanda.
The program matches an individual or group of donors with a child, who they support throughout the length of their studies, from primary school to higher education. The donors receive periodic updates, letters and photos of the child and can track their progress throughout the period.
Learning during COVID-19
The CORONAvirus pandemic started in china in 2019 and it spread to other countries allover world, so many people have lost their lives due to this global pandemic the disease and it has distorted the development so many countries. Uganda registered its first COVID 19 case on 21st March 2020 and as of now it has registered over one thousand cases with 2 deaths. In fear of many people getting the disease and losing their lives, the president locked down the country on 18th March 2020 three days before the first case was registered. Other measures were also put in place including Social distance, washing hands, wearing face masks to control the spread of the disease in cases of movement and interacting with people.
For the case of the children supported under the AFAAYO program; most of their families lived in absolute poverty even before COVID-19 and the lock down just worsened their situation. Some parents that operated small business have used the working capital, other parents used to work in stone quarries that sold them off to investors, others that were working as casual-laborer lost their jobs and yet they have to pay monthly house rent. Given the fact most of the project beneficiaries come from poor family backgrounds, families cannot support their children’s learning during the lockdown. Whereas the ministry of Education has initiated programmes that support continuity of learning even when schools are closed, it takes extra efforts from the family to enable these programmes.
The Brit-olam Volunteer project has worked beyond the expectation supporting families by providing them with food on a monthly basis. From the month of April 2020, families have been receiving money and food which has kept them in good health hence acting as an umbrella to the effects of COVID-19. Families are very grateful for the support from the project which has enabled learners get the zeal the revise their book, as continuous revision is key for them to live a better future than their parents.
Food distribution during COVID-19
During the pandemic, Brit Olam and Topaz had ensured food supplies for the children of Afaayo program.
Aims and Vision of Afaayo
The main goal of the program is to enable the children to receive a good quality of education which will allow them to achieve their dream of learning and offers them a path out of poverty.
Sadly, public education in Uganda is at such a low standard that often there is little benefit in sending children to public schools, especially those from poorer families where the parents are often not able to support the children outside of the classroom. The government of Uganda recognizes education as a basic human right, but the reality on the ground is that many factors, mainly lack of funding, means that education is so poor that school dropout rates are very high, meaning that children do not receive even the most minimal level of education that should be the right of every child.
Gender Equality and Afaayo:
Universal secondary education, especially for girls, has major implications for the development of a community and society. In the poorest parts of the world where girls are still do not get to go to secondary school, but instead are married at a young age and have six to eight children on average. Those who stay in school end up marrying much later—perhaps in their early to mid-20s—enter the workforce and have two to three children. Education is an essential element for social change and sustainable development that is more likely to reduce poverty.
Despite the indisputable value of education and the progress made thus far, many children, especially girls, still do not complete primary education, and even fewer continue to secondary school. Currently 84 percent of children worldwide attend primary school; however, the participation rate drops to 60 percent for secondary school. Female attendance rates are especially low, with only 17 percent of girls enrolled in secondary school in sub-Saharan Africa.
Accordingly, “Afaayo” seeks to provides scholarships, especially to vulnerable girls, that would not be able to attend secondary school. Afaayo program helps children escape the cycle of poverty. By pursuing a good standard of education, the children have access to a variety of opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them, giving them a basic foundation for a better future and an alternative to finding work at a very young age. The Afaayo program enables the children to study both in nearby neighborhood primary schools and then during secondary schools, usually boarding schools.