A Voice For the Voiceless

MISSION

The Advocacy Project (AP) recruits students to help marginalized communities tell their story and claim their rights.

My RSS Feed

Twitter: #apfellows

The Children of KIWOI

Scarlett Chidgey | PostedSeptember 1st, 2011 | Africa

Uganda is a country about the size of Oregon, with a population of nearly 33 million people. About 55% of the population is under 18 years old, and according to the most recent data (2009, UNICEF), an estimated 2.7 million of these children are orphans. Many of these orphans have lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS (1.2 million) and two decades of war in northern Uganda, in which parents were killed directly in conflict or died from disease or malnutrition in IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps.

Although some orphans are able to live with extended family, they often pose too much of a burden for family with already strained resources. It is encouraging that a number of NGOs, foundations, church groups, and other organizations have stepped in to care for orphaned children, but I can’t guess how many kids still struggle to survive without any support.

Before my arrival in Uganda, I hadn’t realized the scope of the problem here; and I had never before visited an orphanage. But now, because Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI) operates a children’s home, I spend most of my days at one. Not all of the children who live there are actually orphans; but for one reason or another their parents are unable to care for them. In total, 16 girls and 1 boy currently live at KIWOI’s headquarters under the care of Benedicta Nanyonga. KIWOI also supports the education of four additional children, who remain with their relatives.

For three years, KIWOI has partnered with Possibilities, a UK-based charity, which supports orphans in Uganda. Thanks to the sponsorship of Possibilities, all the KIWOI children attend school. The charity also provides additional funding and support for projects that will benefit the children. Benedicta ensures that in addition to education, the children receive skills training and can learn how to help make KIWOI’s straw products.  She explains that teaching them these skills is critical to their future success; for if the children are unable to continue education past secondary school due to lack of future funding, they should still be able to earn an income.

My second day at KIWOI, I met the kids who live there,  ages ranging from 2 1/2 to 14 years. I thought I would never remember all of their names or stop mixing up who is who. Since the children attend school six days a week, and I’m often busy working in the office, I didn’t get a chance to interact with them much in my first six weeks. But the past two weeks they’ve had school holidays, so I have seen a lot more of them. Together, we have gotten up to some pretty silly shenanigans, including taking photos with the PhotoBooth application on my laptop and dancing around to the latest album by my friend’s soul band. I have especially bonded with the littlest one, who was so shy when I first met her. Now she runs into my arms when she seems me.

Having Fun with the Wheelbarrow
Having Fun with the Wheelbarrow

Having Fun with a Wheelbarrow

Several weeks ago, I had told Benedicta that I wanted to do something nice for the children. She suggested that I take them to a recreation center/pool one weekday during their school holidays, and we decided to keep it as a surprise. I invited Josephine and Peruth (the other two women I work with) to bring their children, too.

When the special day finally arrived, I was a bit nervous. Benedicta was out for meetings, we didn’t have our transportation arranged, the sky was threatening to rain, and I wasn’t sure if the children would be ready in time to make it worth going. But somehow, everything came together, and Josephine, Peruth, and I chaperoned 5 adolescents and 18 younger children to the recreation park. I had never before been responsible for so many kids, so it was a bit of a new adventure for me. But they were so well-behaved, sweet, and fun, they made it easy! They donned their swimsuits, jumped in the kids’ pools, and splashed around. Then we rode on a train around the park while drinking our sodas, played on swings made of old tires, jumped on a trampoline, and threw around my volleyball. It was definitely one of the best days of my Uganda life.

The kids go back to school this week. I’m going to miss seeing them around all of the time!

Playing on the Swing Set at the Recreation Park
Playing on the Swing Set at the Recreation Park

Playing on the Swing Set at the Recreation Park

Enjoying Sodas on the Train around the Park - We Saved Our Straws!
Enjoying Sodas on the Train around the Park - We Saved Our Straws!

Enjoying Sodas on the Train around the Park - We Saved Our Straws!

Receiving School Supplies from Benedicta
Receiving School Supplies from Benedicta

Receiving School Supplies from Benedicta

5 Responses to “The Children of KIWOI”

  1. Sue says:

    I loved seeing that video, Scarlett. And it’s nice to see your face as well!

  2. Carin Johnosn-Kragler says:

    Wonderful work Scarlett. I wish I could beam over and join you for awhile!

  3. Carin Johnosn-Kragler says:

    It was wonderful to see how children everywhere have the same body language and charming cuteness when performing.Beautiful! Thank you for that-made my day!

  4. I really liked the Video!!! This is what i am talking about when i say African Girl Child. These young girls are the future responsible mothers, they need to be empowered given the fact that they are Orphans.
    Thanks to Scarlett for publishing this nice video.

  5. pegah says:

    What an adorable video! It sounds like you guys had a wonderful time together and I’m sure the children really enjoyed their outdoor adventure.

Leave a Reply

Security Code:

Fellow: Scarlett Chidgey

Kinawataka Women Initiatives


Tags

Environmental Protection Uganda Women's Empowerment


Subscribe


 


Newswire

2013 Fellows

Africa

Benan Grams
Meron Menwyelet
Mohammed Alshubrumi
John Steies

Asia

Andra Bosneag
Chris Pinderhughes
Emily MacDonald
Jasveen Bindra
Kelly Howell
Raymond Aycock
Sujita Basnet

Middle East

Mona Niebuhr

2012 Fellows

Africa

Dane Macri
Laura McAdams
Mallory Minter
Megan Orr
Oluwatooni Akanni
Katie Hoffman

Asia

Adam Kruse
Alex Kelly
Alicia Evangelides
Heather Webb
Jesse Cottrell
Matthew Becker
Rachel Palmer

Europe

Claire Noone
Elise Filo

Latin America

Laura Burns

Middle East

Nur Arafeh
Thayer Hastings

North America

Caroline Risacher


2011 Fellows

Africa

Charlie Walker
Charlotte Bourdillon
Cleia Noia
Dina Buck
Jamyel Jenifer
Kristen Maryn
Rebecca Scherpelz
Scarlett Chidgey
Walter James

Asia

Amanda Lasik
Chantal Uwizera
Chelsea Ament
Clara Kollm
Corey Black
Lauren Katz
Maelanny Purwaningrum
Maria Skouras
Meredith Williams
Ryan McGovern
Samantha Syverson

Europe

Beth Wofford
Julia Dowling
Quinn Van Valer-Campbell
Samantha Hammer
Susan Craig-Greene

Latin America

Amy Bracken
Catherine Binet

Middle East

Nikki Hodgson

North America

Sarah Wang


2010 Fellows

Africa

Abisola Adekoya
Annika Allman
Brooke Blanchard
Christine Carlson
Christy Gillmore
Dara Lipton
Dina Buck
Josanna Lewin
Joya Taft-Dick
Louis Rezac
Ned Meerdink
Sylvie Bisangwa

Asia

Adrienne Henck
Karie Cross
Kerry McBroom
Kate Bollinger
Lauren Katz
Simon Kläntschi
Zarin Hamid

Europe

Laila Zulkaphil
Susan Craig-Greene
Tereza Bottman

Latin America

Karin Orr

North America

Adepeju Solarin
Oscar Alvarado


2009 Fellows

Africa

Adam Welti
Alixa Sharkey
Barbara Dziedzic
Bryan Lupton

Courtney Chance
Elisa Garcia
Helah Robinson
Johanna Paillet
Johanna Wilkie
Kate Cummings
Laura Gordon
Lisa Rogoff
Luna Liu
Ned Meerdink
Walter James


Asia

Abhilash Medhi
Gretchen Murphy
Isha Mehmood
Jacqui Kotyk
Jessica Tirado
Kan Yan
Morgan St. Clair
Ted Mathys

Europe

Alison Sluiter
Christina Hooson
Donna Harati
Fanny Grandchamp
Kelsey Bristow
Simran Sachdev
Susan Craig-Greene
Tiffany Ommundsen

Latin America

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Carolyn Ramsdell
Jessica Varat
Lindsey Crifasi
Rebecca Gerome
Zachary Parker

Middle East

Corrine Schneider
Rachel Brown
Rangineh Azimzadeh

North America

Elizabeth Mandelman
Farzin Farzad

2008 Fellows

Adam Nord
Annelieke van de Wiel
Juliet Hutchings
Kristina Rosinsky
Lucas Wolf
Chi Vu
Danita Topcagic
Heather Gilberds
Jes Therkelsen
Libby Abbott
Mackenzie Berg
Nicole Farkouh
Ola Duru
Paul Colombini
Raka Banerjee
Shubha Bala
Antigona Kukaj
Colby Pacheco
James Dasinger
Janet Rabin
Nicole Slezak
Shweta Dewan
Amy Offner
Ash Kosiewicz
Hannah McKeeth
Heidi McKinnon
Larissa Hotra
Hannah Wright
Krystal Sirman
Rianne Van Doeveren
Willow Heske

2007 Fellows

Johnathan Homer
Adam Nord
Audrey Roberts
Caitlin Burnett
Devin Greenleaf
Jeff Yarborough
Julia Zoo
Madeline England
Maha Khan
Mariko Scavone
Mark Koenig
Nicole Farkouh
Saba Haq
Tassos Coulaloglou
Ted Samuel
Alison Morse
Gail Morgado
Jennifer Hollinger
Katie Wroblewski
Leslie Ibeanusi
Michelle Lanspa
Stephanie Gilbert
Zach Scott
Abby Weil
Jessica Boccardo
Sara Zampierin
Eliza Bates
Erin Wroblewski
Tatsiana Hulko

2006 Interns

Laura Cardinal
Jessical Sewall
Alison Long
Autumn Graham
Donna Laverdiere
Erica Issac
Greg Holyfield
Lori Tomoe Mizuno
Melissa Muscio
Nicole Cordeau
Stacey Spivey
Anya Gorovets
Barbara Bearden
Lynne Engleman
Yvette Barnes
Charles Wright
Sarah Sachs

2005 Interns

Eun Ha Kim
Malia Mason
Anne Finnan
Carrie Hasselback
Karen Adler
Sarosh Syed
Shirin Sahani
Chiara Zerunian
Ewa Sobczynska
MacKenzie Frady
Margaret Swink
Sabri Ben-Achour
Paula
Nitzan Goldberger

2004 Interns

Ginny Barahona
Michael Keller
Sarah Schores
Melinda Willis
Pia Schneider
Stacy Kosko
Carmen Morcos
Christina Fetterhoff
Stacy Kosko
Bushra Mukbil

2003 Interns

Erica Williams
Kate Kuo
Claudia Zambra
Julie Lee
Kimberly Birdsall
Marta Schaaf
Caitlin Williams
Courtney Radsch

Login

Login/Manage