Carole is 24 and lives and works at Nazareth Children’s Home in Nyendo, just outside of Masaka. Nazareth is one of the many projects that URF has been supporting and/or partnering with and many volunteers visit to help out with the day to day operations.
At 2 years of age, Carolyn was brought to the Nazareth Children’s Home by her mother who could no longer care for her. She was raised by Josephine the care taker of the Orphanage. At 4 years of age, Carolyn’s mother passed away, and Josephine became the one true, primary, parental figure in her life.
Carolyn’s schooling began when she was 6 years of age when she attended Nyendo Public School, Primary Level 1, supported by Josephine. Her secondary education was funded by Father Musanya Joseph at St. Joseph’s Secondary School. After completing her high school education, Carolyn decided she wanted to be a teacher and joined Ndegeya Core Teacher’s College where she received a certificate after 2 years of study. She jumped right into her profession and began teaching Primary Levels 3 and 4 at Lukaya Jr. Model School where she remained for one term. Carolyn then met Matt from URF who agreed to more than double her monthly salary if she went to work for the Orphanage where she was raised, as Josephine needed help with the upbringing of the children. Carolyn gladly accepted and has now been working with her “mother” at Nazareth, caring for over 20 children ranging in age from a few months to 19.
One of the main challenges that Carolyn faces on a day to day basis is that there are many children to look after, yet too few staff to look after them. She says, “The volunteers from URF really help out a lot, but it would be helpful to have a few more people assisting on a daily basis.” Currently, just Carolyn and Josephine run the daily operation, which happens to be a monumental task!
“URF has helped me to earn more income in order to live out my dreams,” she says. Those dreams that Carolyn speaks of are owning her own home, taking care of her children (those at the orphanage), emulating her JjaJja (Josephine), and perhaps doing a little traveling .
Afifa is 47 and also an active member of URF’s Women’s Empowerment Program. Born in a Muslim family, Afifa was one of seven children. Her father died when she was 9 years old and her and her siblings lived with their mother who struggled to make ends meet. At 13 her mother became ill, so she went to live with her grandmother. Afifa managed to make it to Primary Level 4 before having to quit school due to lack of funds. At age 18 she married and her and her husband were very happy, but also very poor; her jobs included digging, making handcrafts, and producing charcoal. Her husband was a voluntary religious teacher, and therefore didn’t contribute to the family’s income. He then got a job as a conductor, but then got in a vehicle accident and was unable to work. They now have 6 children (3 girls and 3 boys) ranging in age from 9 to 23, and have to support her husband’s family as well as themselves, which can make things extremely difficult.
Afifa struggles to find the funds to send her children to school and on occasion doesn’t have the resources to buy necessary household items. “The Women’s Empowerment Program at URF has encouraged me to work and educate myself on how to bring extra income into the household, specifically the poultry project,” she says. She strongly believes in that the women of the community need to work together as a team to help each other out and also to stay active and learn from each other. “URF has done great things for the community and needs to keep implementing and initiating new projects.” Her dream is to watch all of her children graduate from secondary school and obtain great jobs!
Prossy is 45 and an active member of URF’s Women’s Empowerment Program. Born in 1963, Prossy’s father died when she was 2 years old, so her mother and 3 sisters moved to Kallagalla (sp?), where she continues to reside. Kallagalla is a small village in the area, just past Kyetume.
Prossy’s childhood was rough as they didn’t have a lot of money available. As such, she was unable to finish school due to lack of funds. She was married at 17 and had 7 children raging in age from 8 to 23, however 2 have passed away, and has 4 grandchildren. She has been separated from her husband since 1987 and the family’s income is mainly generated from peasant farming and animal keeping, including cows, pigs, and goats. Prossy has been in a women’s leadership role throughout the community for the last 20 years.
Prossy states that the main challenge she faces is that, “I am a low income earner with a lot of financial responsibilities, which include taking care of my nine orphaned nieces and nephews.” Her brother and sister-in-law were killed in an accident a few years ago and school fees are hard to come by.
“URF has really helped me focus on the future,” she says. She also says that the URF Women’s program helps to support women and encourages them to work. She really enjoys how the program inspires the women of the community to better themselves and work together to solve problems and act as a support group for each other.
Some of the suggestions she has for URF regarding the women’s program are to, “encourage and extend the community outreach programs as people are excited to work with the volunteers.” She also suggests that URF continue to organize more informative conferences encompassing the valuable information that needs to be distributed throughout the rural communities. And finally, she suggests that the women get involved in games and other fun activities to build friendship, bonds, and develop teamwork.
Prossy’s dreams include seeing her children graduating and obtaining good jobs when they complete their studies. “I am growing older, but I would love nothing more than to develop a sustainable income in order to generate funds for my children, nieces, and nephews school fees.”