The Start of Something Special
The Kasese Children’s Village was our first project in Uganda and since 2009 has grown from humble beginnings of a shed in a small muddy field to a thriving centre of 4 dormitories, a cook house, a library, sewing and crafts room, bathroom and shower amenities as well as various storage and staff rooms. Helping the sustainability of the centre are rainwater tanks and a newly installed solar system.
Our Kasese Children’s Village project began with a partnership with a local group called Fair Earth, who were providing care to vulnerable children in the area. Some land was very generously made available to build a home with OrphFund funding. Over the years we have worked in conjunction with Fair Earth as they managed the centre with our financial support. Recently the mutual decision was reached for OrphFund to take over the management and to purchase the land on which our Children’s Village stands, allowing Fair Earth to focus on their other projects.
Our children in Kasese have been able to grow from a place of hardship, suffering and poverty. When we first met our children, they are scared and alone. Most only have the rags on their back and to find a smile is almost impossible. Once settled in it is a different story. You'll find big smiles everywhere you look from happy, confident children making the most of their opportunities.
With the generous support of our sponsors and donors and the care of our OrphFund team, 55 vulnerable children have a safe home, access to education and most importantly, are growing up as part of the OrphFund family.
The People of Kasese
Kasese is the centre of a large region encompassing Lake George, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Rwenzoris - the fabled Mountains of the Moon. Amongst this great natural beauty are coffee, matoke (plantain), banana and maize farms and various mining operations. The population of over 100,000 are spread across remote rural villages, small townships, and of course Kasese Town.
While the region is a fertile one and home to many successful enterprises, unemployment and poverty are also very prevalent. Countless children in the area are left orphaned and/or vulnerable due to past and ongoing civil unrest, widespread HIV infection, poor health and issues of general poverty.
A Bright Future For Our Children
Many of the children in the Kasese Children’s Village have been with us for at least 7- 8 years. Mostly they are studying in their final years of primary, or at secondary or vocational school. In a country where almost 60% of students do not complete primary school this is a great achievement for all our children.
Our younger children attend the fabulous Elverum School, a short walk away in Kasese Town. Our older children attend different secondary and vocational schools across the region, depending on their academic abilities and their intended pathways. Many of our senior students board on campus during the term, returning over the break to spend time with both their OrphFund family and their extended family in the village.
A major focus for OrphFund is to set in place strong educational and vocational pathways for our maturing children so they will have the best chance of future success as they grow into young adults.
As always, we are very proud and greatly inspired by our children's unwavering determination to make the most of their opportunities.
Our Team in Kasese
OrphFund Coordinators - Alfonse Bwambale and Henry Kabriri, manage the Kasese Children's Village, and other OrphFund projects in the region. Just as importantly, they provide guidance and mentoring to our children, developing their various academic and practical talents, as ensuring an environment of support and care.
The team in Kasese is also made up of 2 carers, 2 cooks and 2 security guards. We are very proud to say one of our older girls who has been a leader of the children since the project started - Sauda, is now employed by OrphFund in a trainee management role, well as studying computers part-time.
Help us help more children
As much as our work gives us joy - the hardest thing about what we do is not being able to help more children who are truly desperate. Our sponsors enable us to reach out to more children offering a home, an education and most importantly, love. Sponsorship can truly change a life for as little as $1 a day. Each new sponsor allows us to bring a new child into the OrphFund family.
The Challenge As Our Children Grow
OrphFund is committed to ensuring that each of our children has the best chance of an independent and successful future, breaking free of generational and systematic poverty cycles.
Currently our greatest challenge at Kasese (and indeed all our centres) is to be able to provide the extra support, guidance, resources and funding needed for our secondary, vocational and university students and apprentices. Fees for quality education are high and so we are constantly fundraising to meet the gap between sponsorship donations and the costs of our growing children.
2017: OrphFund Team In Kasese
Recently a team of 11 OrphFund volunteers visited Kasese Children's Village, spending precious time with our kids. While in Kasese only a short time, we got a lot done:
- Profiled and photographed 55 OrphFund children
- Registered 6 new children into the project
- Facilitated full medical and dental checks for all children
- Re-established the OrphFund sewing centre onsite to provide vocational and after school training
- Created OrphFund fashion label 'NinaKaBoomBoom' (watch this space!)
- Visited all the children's schools
- Ran art and music programs
- Renovated the library, kitchen and staff office
- Made screen printed t-shirts with the kids
- Painted more murals to brighten the buildings and shipping container
- Delivered sponsors letters and presents to the children and collected the children's letters for their sponsors
- Delivered more than 100kg of donations from Australia and the UK including new woollen blankets; laptops; sports equipment - soccer and AFL balls, netballs and netball uniforms; school supplies - pens, pencils, calculators, paints and pencil cases; teenage girls' stuff - period-proof undies, reusable pads, bras; and mobile phones for the care staff
- Held an amazing party/concert/football match for all our 110 OrphFund in the region, our local staff, and our friends.
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So much to do and so many dreams
OrphFund is excited for the future of Kasese Children's Village. Our children are growing up safe and happy.
As sponsorship support allows, we will continue to welcome new children into our family and we commit to ensuring each child has the best possible opportunities until the time they are able to achieve independence.
We are currently fundraising so we can purchase the land on which the Kasese Children's Village stands. This means we need to raise $32,000 AUD ASAP which will secure our future on this site and allow us to continue to develop this project.
Also on the wishlist is a computer study centre so that our kids can develop their skills to be competitive in Africa's rapidly expanding engineering and IT industry as well as fitting out the shipping container (sent from Australia full of donations) to house budding micro businesses to provide apprenticeships and employment opportunities for our growing children.
How can you help?
We can't do what we do without the help of our friends. There are many ways to support OrphFund in our work:
- Making a once off or ongoing donation to our projects
- Sponsor a child
- Become an education partner to fund a scholarship for one of our senior children
- Volunteer with OrphFund - from anywhere around the world
- Joining us on an upcoming field trip to our projects
Every dollar we receive goes to supporting our kids. Help us help some of the most vulnerable children in the world.