Ewafe, means ‘Where We Belong’ in Luganda. This project supports abandoned and at risk children in the slums of Kampala. The project offers emergency help and a safe place to live, while also working towards reuniting children with their relatives and reintegrating them with loving families where possible. Our model of Rescue, Rehabilitate, Reintegrate has an underlying ethos of finding family care for children.
Kampala’s slums are notorious for drug and alcohol abuse, violent crime, poor sanitation and abject poverty. People face problems of overcrowding, insufficient shelter and food insecurity on a daily basis. Families often survive on just one meal per day and cannot afford to send their children to school. Many of the children that we work with have been forced into child labour or even prostitution. Many children have encountered abuse, neglect or have been abandoned. Through working in these communities for the past 10 years, we have seen an increase in the number of cases of child abandonment and abuse in Kampala’s slums being reported to us by community members, local authorities and by children themselves. The Ewafe Project was launched in 2013 as a response to this problem.
Uganda has limited social welfare resources and children unfortunately suffer as a result. Due to a lack of suitable placements for orphaned and abandoned children, they are often housed in juvenile detention centres, meaning that they are being put further at risk and are effectively punished for being abandoned. Other children are taken in by the many independently run orphanages around the country and the majority of these make no effort to search for the children’s families or to investigate their stories, meaning that the children who do have surviving family members have no opportunity to be reunited with them. Research by Alternative Care Uganda shows that in Uganda, 85% of children living in institutions have at least one surviving parent. Furthermore, 52% of childcare institutions have no reintegration or foster care programmes and make no effort to make contact with the child’s relatives. This means that thousands of children are unnecessarily being placed into institutional care and families are being broken apart. Children growing up in institutional care not only are likely to feel unloved and unwanted but they are also at risk of developing attachment disorders, developmental delays, behavioural problems and intellectual impairments. All children have a right to shelter and our Ewafe Project transitional home provides this, however we know that the best long-term care plan for these children is to grow up in a family.
Our model of Rescue, Rehabilitate and Reintegrate aims to provide children with all they need in an emergency situation, providing counselling and support to overcome trauma and working on each child’s case to ensure the best outcome for each child. Our social workers search for immediate and extended family members and where possible put in place reintegration plans to bring these children home. Through placing children who have been abandoned in loving and caring families, their needs are taken care of and they can have a bright and hopeful future, receive an education and escape the cycle of poverty.
Kids Club Kampala’s other projects provide access to education for children, support children’s basic needs within communities and is working to train and empower parents to gain sustainable sources of income. By engaging with struggling families and reducing poverty within communities, Kids Club Kampala aims to see families become increasingly able to deal with adversities and receive support when needed in order to ultimately reduce the number of children being abandoned and at risk in Kampala.
Every child’s story is different but our ethos remains the same. All children deserve to have a safe place to live and belong and all children should have the chance to grow up in a loving family. Please visit our Ewafe Results page to find more detailed results from the Ewafe Project since it began. You can also read case studies from children whose lives have been transformed by the Ewafe Project on our Ewafe Stories page.
In cases where children are not able to be reunited with their own immediate or extended families we want to be able to provide community foster families. We already have families who are interested in becoming foster carers but we need your support. We do not have enough funds to launch a foster care program which will involve hiring more social workers and financing the vetting, training and ongoing support that children and foster families will need. Please get in touch if you would like to help.
Our Ewafe Project Home is still a work in progress. We currently have one purpose built block, a kitchen, one staff cottage and a playground. We need more funding to build a dining hall, more staff cottages, a therapy and counselling room and another purpose built block. If you would like to donate to this building project or fundraise please get in touch.
If you would like to to make a real long term difference for children and families in Uganda please consider becoming a Family Champion. Click Here to find out more.