We’d like to introduce you to Joel, a six-year-old child we found suffering in the Namatala slum.
We discovered him during our community visit field work, sat in misery with his mother outside their tiny mud hut. Neither had eaten for two days. Joel has two older siblings; they had gone to a nearby trading centre to try to pick the leftover food from rubbish bins. Joel’s mother cannot work due to illness and had evidently been asking God to help them.
Joel was suitable for enrolling at our school and was registered and brought to school that day – and started enjoying eating a meal every day! The mother sat at home thanking God for this miracle and when Joel was taken home after school by our social workers, she cried tears of joy.
Over the next few weeks, Joel found friends and he loves being at school. His mood drops when it’s time to go home because his only sure daily meal is that given at school and he often comes hungry to school the next day. The family situation is humbling – there is no bed, no mattress, no bed sheets and no clothes. Joel sleeps on a small mat with his two siblings, sharing their mother’s gomesi (dress) for covering, while she spends most of the night sat watching over her children. Joel has never known his father’s care as he divorced Joel's mother over her illness.
Joel’s life is like that of millions of children in Uganda. Child poverty is more than just lack of money and resources – it is also about having no access to nutrition, health, water, education, shelter, sanitation, information and child protection.
As with many in the slum, Joel’s family needs food, shelter, medical care and education for the other two siblings.
Sadly, the money in our Community Support Fund has run out. This was a small pot of cash that allowed us to help families like Joel’s with family issues that didn't necessarily fall within our programmes, but which our social workers came across in the field. Currently we have to utilise every penny to fund our main programmes, so we have been unable to put any money back into the pot.
With a monthly fund of just £40 we could intervene in some terribly desperate situations – in many cases, a matter of life and death. If you’d like to help re-build our community support fund, please click here to make a one-off or regular donation through our JustGiving page. Any amount would help.