In Western Uganda
Geography & Climate
- Western Uganda borders Tanzania and Rwanda to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. This region is home to about 8 million people.
- In the western region, you can find Uganda’s highest point, Margherita Peak (16,765 feet), and lowest point, Lake Albert (2,037 feet).
- The region also has lush jungle forests and is home to more than half of the world’s mountain gorillas.
- One of Uganda’s two national parks where mountain gorillas are found is the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This park is accessible only on foot and is known for its rich diversity of plants and animals.
The rural people in this region are involved primarily in small-scale farming, while those in the urban centers work in industrial and business activities.
Another common job is cattle raising.
However, because of the dense and growing population in this region, the availability of farmland and water for cattle is steadily decreasing.
Children at Home
Families in Uganda’s rural western region live in small round huts built with a frame of sticks covered in mud.
Extended families typically live together in a complex of huts, and they farm the surrounding land.
Growing up around their aunts, uncles, grandparents and older cousins and siblings, children are collectively raised by the adults in their extended family.
In urban areas, poor families typically live in small rented homes.
Issues and Concerns
- Uganda’s western region has country’s highest number of reported cases of child abuse.
- Children here, more than anywhere else in the country, are subjected to sexual exploitation, neglect and child labor.
- Unpredictable weather in the area can lead to disaster. For example, early in 2010, the region experienced unusually heavy rains; the rains led to mudslides and the loss of about 20 lives.
Local Needs and Challenges
Secondary education expenses
A particular challenge for children in Uganda’s western region is the high cost of a secondary school education, which is out of reach for most poor families.
Children here are vulnerable to rising rates of abuse and neglect.
Many children, orphaned by HIV or AIDS or abandoned by their parents, have to fend for themselves. It is common to find the oldest child in a family caring for his or her younger siblings as the head of the household.
Schools and Education
- The school year in Uganda comprises three terms: February through April, the end of May through mid-August, and early September to late November.
- Students typically attend school about 250 days each year.
- Among Uganda’s population, only 66 percent of those age 15 and over are able to read or write.
- Among women, fewer than 58 percent are literate.
Compassion Uganda works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Compassion serves children in Uganda’s western region through numerous church-based child development centers. These centers are havens of love and learning for registered children.
Here, children receive nutritious meals, hygiene training, and tutoring to attain standard academic milestones.
They are also encouraged to develop their talents and abilities.
Most important, children learn about the love of God and gift of salvation in Christ.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in western Uganda, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- school fees and other needs (such as uniforms and supplies) to ensure that children stay in school
- tutoring at Compassion centers to help children excel in their studies
- learning activities to promote sexual purity among assisted children, including lessons about their great value to God and His plan for healthy relationships
- Bible studies and, at many centers, mentoring by caring Christian adults from the partner church
- training and awareness-raising events for caregivers to improve their parenting skills and help ensure children are protected from bad influences
- Bible-based HIV prevention education for children and caregivers
- special interventions, such as nutritional support and medical treatment for those affected by HIV