Currently, Uganda has 2.5 million orphans. Conservative estimates predict this number will grow. The average Ugandan family has 7 children. When parents die, their children are too great a burden for extended families to manage. Relatives already struggle to provide for their own. As a result, children are farmed out to different family members in diverse locations. Therefore, an orphaned child loses not only his parents, but often his siblings as well. Some are treated poorly by resentful relatives. Others try to survive on the streets. In all respects, they are outcasts.
In the north, many children lost their families due to a 20 year war. They lived in slum cities (IDP camps) initially created by the Ugandan government to protect citizens from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group led by Joseph Kony. During the war, the LRA pulled young boys from their beds and forced them to be soldiers with a kill-or-be killed mandate. Countless girls were also kidnapped and used as sex slaves. Many have young babies though they themselves were still children. Some kids saw their own parents killed by the rebel army. The war ended, but kids left behind were traumatized beyond belief. Knowing only instability and terror, they were in the depths of despondency.
Founded in 2002 by Duncan Hill, Uganda Orphans Fund (UOF) is dedicated to caring for Ugandan orphans and other vulnerable children. Our aim is to rescue, stabilize, nurture and educate as many of these kids as possible. Our motivation is love. We see these children as Uganda’s future leaders.
Originally UOF partnered with other relief organizations and has built over 30 orphan homes, rescuing over a thousand kids. A typical orphan home costs $35,000 and houses 50-60 children. This includes beds, a latrine and a kitchen. We left the ongoing care of the orphans to local church leaders, and other ministries in the area.
In 2006, UOF obtained “non-government organization” (NGO) status with the Republic of Uganda. This designation allowed us to steward our own vision.
Kasozi Village in Kamuli District is a prototype of the projects we hope to multiply. The village has 4 orphan homes, a school, a medical clinic, staff housing, a church, a soccer field and a large garden. Nearly 150 orphans live there along with 25 staff members (caregivers, teachers, a cook and a visiting nurse). This diverse community represents three different tribes and has become one loving and cohesive family, with a future and a hope.