Our mission is to provide quality education and affordable health care and to ensure that the orphans and vulnerable children are given equal rights. We are helping to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children around the Lake Bunyonyi region. We believe that all children are born with potential; the potential to influence the future, the economy and to contribute something great to the world. However, children born in this area often don't have the opportunity to go into higher education due to poverty and a lack of guidance and motivation. The likelihood of children going on to reach their potential is further reduced when they are vulnerable or orphaned.
The children we help lack the resources they need; many have very poor living standards with limited access to food and adequate housing. In addition, the director identified a number of other problems that need to be addressed. These include: the growing number of children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS, an increased level of bad behaviour among orphans and vulnerable children due to lack of parental guidance and counselling, higher levels of school drop-outs caused by ignorance and poverty and the social stigma of being an orphaned or vulnerable child.
We have also identified the needs of disabled children in the community and aim to integrate these most vulnerable children into mainstream education and provide the specialised care they need.
Amatsiko has been established to help improve this situation. Our main objectives are:
To help orphans and vulnerable children meet their basic needs in terms of nutrition and health care
To teach these children and their families about basic hygiene and the importance of good sanitation.
To emphasise the importance of educating orphans and vulnerable children at all levels
To support these children through education
To educate community members about the rights and needs of orphans and vulnerable children.
To encourage the moral and spiritual development of these children
To give guidance and counselling to orphans, vulnerable children and their families.
To integrate children with disabilities into their wider communities and mainstream education, wherever possible
Children that have been registered with the project have already shown improvements in both their academic and personal lives. However this is just the beginning; our vision takes us much further. In the future we want to take a greater role in creating a better community. We want to see our children blossom spiritually, socially and economically and eventually be able to help improve their community in turn.
But what things do we do in order to achieve our goals?
Improving Living Standards
Amatsiko simply does not have the capacity to house the children that we help (and in some cases the children do not need to be re-housed). As we do not have a building designated for the purpose of housing the children, they live amongst the community under the care of identified, recognised and registered guardians. They are then supervised and monitored by our staff. We provide mattresses, beds and bedding as these simple items can dramatically improve the living conditions of the young people we support.
Improving general nutrition levels
Nearly all of Amatsiko’s beneficiaries are living in poverty, which typically manifests in malnutrition. Despite being very preventable, conditions including marasmus, Kwashiokor and stunted growth are prevalent amongst the children. Very few (if any) of the needy children that we help can afford to eat all three meals a day. Therefore we seek to provide additional food to ensure that these children do not suffer malnutrition. The provision of staple foods such as beans, posho, groundnuts, matooke (plantain), potatoes and basic vegetables like carrots can easily improve a child’s general well being.
In addition to staple foods we provide seeds and hold workshops about efficient agriculture. Educating the community about effective farming methods is essential as in Kabale district where we are based 90% of the people derive their livelihood from agriculture. These livelihoods are currently threatened in rural areas and pre-urban area due to droughts and occasionally hailstorms and flooding. The effect of climate change could lead to a loss of income resulting in casualised employment and children dropping out of education and ending up on the streets.
Essentially we are aiming to provide the children and their families with the tools and knowledge to enable them to help themselves.
Sponsoring students’ education
We believe that education is the key to success and that education should be a right and not just a privilege. Sadly, in Uganda many children are simply not afforded the chance to get a quality education. Therefore we have developed a sponsorship programme that aims to provide children with an education that they otherwise would have been denied. You can find out more about our sponsorship programme here.
Providing basic health care
Diseases pose a significant threat to vulnerable children all over Africa. HIV/AIDS is one of the predominant causes of children becoming orphaned. Education and family planning can help the prevention and further spread of the disease. Similarly, the provision of mosquito nets can help prevent malaria, one of the biggest killers in sub-Saharan Africa.
A big thank you to all of the international volunteers who have been conducting life-saving preventative educational programmes and other health related workshops.
What Is Poverty?
Poverty is more than just a lack of money. It’s not being able to go to school, battling poor health and living with the isolation and shame of social stigma. It is the result of broken relationships—first with God, then with others and finally with oneself—and it brings forth notions of inferiority and powerlessness.
What Poverty Isn't
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that people are poor because they don’t have what we have: take-away food on demand, a manicured front lawn and a car tucked up safely in the garage.
But poverty is so much more than this. It’s not only a lack of financial and physical resources, but also a lack of confidence and motivation to do anything about it, because your life experience has shown you trying does no good. Imagine the damage this can do to a child.
Children and Poverty
Poverty itself is an injustice—but this injustice is at its worst when it’s against children.
Around the world, there are:
+ 1.1 billion children who live in poverty
+ 200 million children under five who are chronically undernourished or whose growth has been stunted
+ 22,000 children under five who die every day from
diseases and complications that are mostly preventable.
"It’s clear that poverty is not a condition
that God created for His children to live in"
Children should not be subject to hard labour at such a tender age; they are not created to run a household before they have started school.
They should not have to worry about where their next meal will come from —or if they will get a meal at all.
And they should never have to go to bed early in an attempt to forget their hunger pains.
Though we are making steady progress, the fight against child mortality is far from won. Every year, 8.1 million children under five die from diseases that are mostly preventable.
Even more shocking than these statistics is the fact that we—our world, our country and our community—hold solutions. In the majority of cases, we have the means to prevent and treat infections and diseases that contribute to child mortality.
Millennium Development Goal 4 aims to reduce child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. In line with this goal
Amatsiko’s Program assists children and their caregivers secure good health and enable positive early child development.
Amatsiko has been established to help improve the situation. Children and caregivers are given help and assistance through education, and guidance, including:
+ Medical assistance
+ Nutritious food
+ Training on providing a safe home environment and age- appropriate development opportunities
+ Literacy, numeracy and vocational training
+ Support for engaging in income-generating activities
+ Spiritual nurture.