NATIONAL COMMUNITY OF WOMEN LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA)
NACWOLA is an organisation run by and for the benefit of women affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Established in 1992, it has now grown to a network of over 60,000 members providing fellowship, support, and hope.
Almost all these members are mothers who have, in many cases, lost their husbands. The impact of AIDS goes beyond those infected and includes many children who have lost parents. NACWOLA work with these orphans and vulnerable children and give them a forum for mutual support. <more details ...>
Sadly, it is not uncommon for children to lose both parents to AIDS. These orphans usually face dramatically reduced life prospects. Family members will typically rally round to take in these children, however, with an already limited household income stretched beyond breaking point, these children are often expected to work for their keep. With their guardians struggling to feed more mouths and too little money for all children to go to school, it is the adopted orphans who are invariably left out. But, if there are no family members to help, the situation is even worse. When this happens, the eldest child can end up looking after their younger siblings - a situation known as a 'child headed family'. Imagine losing your parents as a young teenager and having to feed, dress, and care for several younger children when you have limited schooling and no chance of a job. We have teamed up with the amazing women from NACWOLA to enable 25 children to go to primary school by providing the funding for both school fees and requirements.
NACWOLA have selected the most vulnerable children including several from child-headed families. They are now going to Railway primary school at a cost per child of around £70 per year.
We were in Uganda to see them collect their pens, pencils, exercise books, and to try on shoes for their uniforms. For many of these children, this was the first pair of shoes they have ever had. We couldn't take their word for whether the shoes fitted as they didn't want to give them up, no matter how little they matched their feet.
Take a look at their smiles and obvious delight at the idea of going to school.