DRIVEN BY DESPERATION
Fishing communities of Lake Victoria in Uganda are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in Africa. With some of the highest HIV rates recorded, residents live in conditions of extreme poverty and with limited access to clean water, sanitation, healthcare and HIV services.
The children born into these conditions are often neglected. Most never attain an education or technical training, and with no means of improving their lives, their situations become hopeless. Data has shown that adolescents in fishing communities are extraordinarily prone to alcoholism, unwanted pregnancies and contracting HIV.
The village of Buwunga, in the Mukono District of Uganda, is one such community that has experienced exponential growth over the past five years. Currently, the population in and around Buwunga is approximately 500 adults, 300 adolescents (aged 11-19 years) and 300 infants and children. The nearest health center is 10 miles away, over an unpaved and often impassable dirt road. The only accessible school is a primary school, providing merely the basics (reading and arithmetic) to children from 5-8 years of age—and many children are kept out of school entirely by their parents, in order to help with carrying water or tending to animals.
A COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER
In 2017, men and women from Buwunga came together to form an association to address the poor health, lack of opportunity and general hopelessness in its people. The Buwunga Community Health and Education Association (BCHEA) was established and its partner—the PICC—was founded to help transform their community and improve economic, physical, social and spiritual well-being.
To date, we’ve been able to regulate the operations of the primary school, provide necessary school supplies, secure salaries for the teachers and develop a school feeding program.
But there is so much more to do.