The poverty experienced by the people living in the Masese slum is extreme. There is no formal employment, access to water and sanitation is woefully inadequate, HIV infection rates are high and there is little land on which to grow food. The most disadvantaged people living in the slums are orphaned children who have no capable adult relatives or guardians to support them. Some households also include adults incapacitated by age, disability, ill-health or dependence on alcohol.
Advantage Africa’s support to children and vulnerable adults living in Masese’s slums over the past five years has included:
- Training in malaria prevention and provision of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
- Regular health check-ups, meeting emergency medical needs and HIV counselling and testing.
- Salaries for outreach workers to ensure timely intervention and that the children have a secure adult to relate to.
- Skills training and start-up materials for income-generating activities for vulnerable adults caring for their own and adopted children.
- Household provisions so that beneficiaries can meet their basic needs for safe water, cooking etc. including saucepans, kettles, plates, cups, basins, jerry cans, charcoal stoves, charcoal, lamps, trays and cutlery.
- Personal hygiene provisions including sanitary pads, soap powder, vaseline and washing powder.
- Furniture and equipment for homes including new bed frames, mattresses and bedding.
- Text books for children attending secondary school and studying for O and A levels as well as support for transport to get to school.
- Support with rent for children moved into new, safe accommodation.
- Christmas parties and fun and learning activities in school holidays.
Outreach Worker Betty says:
Children coming from poor families end up performing poorly because they cannot afford text books…..with this support our children will be able to excel, especially in science subjects which are a favourite for many of them.
Sam is a teenager who fled to the south when his parents were killed by rebels in the north of Uganda. For a number of years, he has been living with his brother, sister and cousin in a tiny, windowless home in the Masese slums but has recently moved with them to safer, better-ventilated housing. They also now have comfortable new beds to sleep in. Sam says ‘Previously we had challenges and we were worried about how we slept over night since we did not have beddings and sometimes we slept on the ground and some nights it has been very cold, rats all over the rooms and bedbugs interrupting us.’
Grace is HIV positive, a single mother and also looks after seven orphans. With support from Advantage Africa, ADSN and SCAU outreach workers have encouraged Grace, helped her to buy stock and build a chapatti-making business. She has opened a bank account so that she can save as well as invest in her enterprise. Currently she is able to save 16,000 Ugandan Shillings (about £4) a week to ensure she can look after her extended family’s needs.