Uganda has been called the Pearl of Africa, and it’s not hard to see why. It is a tapestry of vibrant colours, music and laughter. Uganda does hospitality by the minibus load, with people offering you warm smiles and welcomes wherever you go.
The country’s second largest city, Jinja benefits from its proximity to Kampala (the capital) and its location at the source of the Nile which has made it one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. It is here that S.A.L.V.E.’s work is currently focused: on the one hand a prosperous economic hub; on the other, you only have to scratch beneath the surface to see the deep poverty that children on the streets live in.
The reasons children end up on the street are complex and varied. Uganda shares the problems of many other Sub-Saharan African nations: economies relying largely on agriculture hang in the balance due to the effects of climate change and unequal trade regulations; HIV/AIDs rates continue to rise with good healthcare provisions hard to come by; and education is not always readily accessible, with resources often severely limited.
The Ugandan government has been keen to promote primary education for all and to some extent this has been a successful policy. However all schools have to charge some fees to cover their costs, thus making them out of reach for Uganda’s poorest families to afford.
S.A.L.V.E.’s work in Jinja goes beyond working with individual children on the streets. It works with the children’s families, community and local schools under the philosophy that by making education accessible to all, Uganda’s children will be able to build a better future for themselves and their country.