Children from the slums of Soweto, a community of displaced people on the outskirts of Jinja, Uganda now have their own safe place to go to, somewhere they can play, learn and eat.
This is no small thing in a community where abuse is rife, brewing alcohol is the main industry and where child sacrifice is prevalent.
Due to AIDS claiming their parents many children live in cramped households cared for by elderly grandparents or older siblings.
139 children attend pre-school at the centre. These children are from the most vulnerable households in the community. Malnutrition is a serious problem and many children are lucky if they get a meal a day. Young children are often fed the dregs of the alcohol brewing. As part of the early childhood development programme these children now receive morning porridge and for lunch posho (maize stodge) and beans or greens.The staff cook this in a small wooden hut with two pots over open fires.
Education and play sessions run throughout the day with a creative pre-school programme in the morning and afternoon sessions of play and education for the older children.
The community are taking ownership in the planning of the children’s activities, coming up with creative ideas of working within a limited budget. They are sourcing materials locally such as building blocks from local wood, beans for counting lessons, coconut fibre balls and percussive shakers from plastic bottles filled with millet. For the outside they will be building a sandpit from tyres and filling it with sand from the River Nile.
The project’s Child Protection Committee formed from within the local community has already prevented repeat cases of abuse through effective intervention. This committee is running awareness sessions on different topics for the adults of the community ranging from child development and child protection to domestic violence and alcohol awareness.
An important component of the programme is a livelihood scheme to provide alternatives to brewing alcohol enabling carers to earn income to feed their children and send them to school. One of these alternatives is developing kitchen gardens which has been made possible by a generous donation of land to the project from the local diocese. This land will also be used to grow food for the pre-school programme.
James aged 5 is one of the lucky children who attends the Centre. He is being looked after by his aunty as his mother died of AIDS. His aunty distills alcohol to earn a living and finds it very difficult to put food on the table every day. She is HIV+. James has not been tested but 2 of his siblings died with signs of AIDS. As part of the projects health screening programme James will soon be tested and will receive any necessary medical support. His aunt says he loves attending the centre and comes home every day singing songs.
Please donate and help more children like James or find out more about our work in Uganda.
Last month Clare Smith, a consultant from The Body Shop at Home organised a fantastic Bollywood event to raise money for our projects. Clare not only raises money through her parties and events, but also came with us to Moldova in the summer to volunteer at our Child and Community Centre.
At the evening guests were treated to a performance from Authentic Bollywood Dancers who did two sets of dancing then got the audience to join in. Clare said “This bit was really fun and I was up there trying all the moves!! Very energetic though! I thought I would collapse after 20mins!!”.
There was also a raffle at the start in which everyone got a prize. Included in ticket prices was either a bottle of Cobra Indian beer for men or a glass of champagne for ladies! Later on in the evening guests were treated to chicken curry, rice, samosas and bags of Indian sweets.
Nearly everyone made the effort to get dressed up and dancing went on until 1.00 am in the morning. The event raised a phenomenal £702 which (keeping on theme!) is enough to pay for 90 refugee children from Burma, living in India to go to school for a month and ensure they have food and medical care.
Huge thanks to all involved. If you have any creative fundraising plans get in touch!
Startline - Photo by LIz Thornewill
Around 540 people took part in the revived Chichester Half Marathon on a sunny Sunday morning in the city.
After a 25-year absence, the multi-terrain race returned to the district, starting at Chichester College and passing through the city centre before heading north to the pinnacle of the Downs. Through the route runners were able to see many of the city’s historic sites, including the Cathedral and the City Walls, and a great view from the top of the Trundle.
The race was organised by Children on the Edge in conjunction with Chichester District Council.
“This is the first Chichester Half Marathon event for a number of years and we’re delighted that so many people took part in the event. The sun came out for all the runners, spectators and volunteers, making it a great day for all,” says Ben Polhill, Sport and Physical Activity Development Officer at Chichester District Council.
Just by entering the event runners contributed to our work with 3,000 overlooked children across the world, living on the margins of society.
Ben Wilkes, Head of UK said “Children on the Edge has a global reach and helps some of the most vulnerable children in the world, so it was amazing to see our local community come together not only for a fantastic race, but to support our projects in such a positive way”
Scores of runners came in singing the praises of the marshals who were all volunteers from the local area. The goody bags were also a firm favourite, containing contributions from Montezuma’s Chocolates, The Body Shop, Higher Nature and GNC.
“It was a fantastic event today and I really enjoyed it” says runner Su Leeming. “The course is superb and the organisation and cheerful nature of all the correspondence has been fabulous. I was really impressed by the number and friendliness of the marshals today and also by the truly high quality good bag”
The winner in all categories was James Baker with a net finish time of 1 hour, 15 minutes and 27 seconds and the women’s winner was Laura Allen who came in at 1 hour 36 minutes and 22 seconds. Both Children on the Edge and the council are hoping this will grow into an annual event and one runner, Mark Ponsford stated “This will become an Iconic south coast race.. a must for every serious runner”.
Sponsored and supported by Montezuma’s Chocolates, Store Property and Covers and a string of other local businesses and excellently marshaled by over 100 local volunteers, the race was a truly local success. A full list of results can be found on the Chi half page, and the Chichester District Council website.