At its inception, UYWEFA aimed to fill only the gaps in home-based care by providing home visits, blood testing, and counseling services. Today the organization’s work has been expanded to cover education services for orphans and vulnerable children, activities, and workshops in filming and videography for young people, as well as economic empowerment programs for HIV-affected single mothers. The long-term goal of UYWEFA is to ensure the population living with or affected by HIV/AIDS become self-reliant through its programs and activities. Below is a chronicle of the UYWEFA’s stories.
- UYWEFA was officially registered as a community-based organization with the government of Wakiso District, Uganda.
- UYWEFA trained 50 home-based caregivers and HIV counselors.
- UYWEFA’s youth group won the first prize in the national music event, which was organized to sensitize the young people to the effects of HIV on their livelihood.
- UYWEFA recruited 30 volunteers from Israel.
- Through its youth programs, UYWEFA sensitized over 200 young people from the Kazo community to the dangers of HIV.
- UYWEFA organized the celebration of the World AIDS Day, which was the first time for this day to be celebrated in the Kazo community.
- The Kazo community offered a piece of land that can be used for free for one year to UYWEFA International Education Center.
- An assessment was carried out to identify the number of HIV-positive children and orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) who are not attending school.
- UYWEFA joined the Nasana Civil Society Network. Since then, the Network has periodically referred HIV-positive children to UYWEFA that offers free quality education to the HIV-infected OVCs.
- UYWEFA International Education Centre was officially launched, offering affordable nursery education for OVCs aged 3-6.
- Barclays Bank Uganda donated 10 desks and 200 books to the Education Center for the orphans and vulnerable children in the Kazo community.
- UYWEFA International Education Center moved to its current place.
- UYWEFA organized a marathon for charity for the Kazo community, which raised a fund to purchase new desks, tables and scholastic materials for UYWEFA.
- Barclays Bank Uganda offered food, materials, stationary and facilitators in supporting UYWEFA’s implementation of financial literacy workshops to single mothers.
- A private donation of $2,300 was received from individuals in Canada for the expansion of the Education Center and for the design and implementation of income-generating programs targeting single mothers in Kazo.
- A needs assessment survey was conducted in Kazo, which found community-specific issues related to HIV: many of the HIV-positive single mothers in the survey reported a high level of self-stigmatization, and a need for programs to help them become self-reliant; one member per household on average lives with HIV, and 2 children per household on average have lost one or both of their parents to HIV.
- The Education Centre grew to cover Grades 1-5 at the primary level for over 170 students, with 70 of them receiving free education given their socioeconomic or HIV status.
- Individuals from Germany sponsored the food and education for four HIV-infected children at UYWEFA.
- With a one-year PEPFAR grant totaling 26 million Ugandan shillings (about $7,500), a candle-making program was implemented to empower women. It brought together 50 single mothers living with HIV/AIDS, guiding them to learn how to make candles and run their own candle-making business. After the project, 25 of the participants started their own businesses and managed to support themselves and their families.
- UYWEFA organized the Championship Cup, which was a football match that brought together community leaders, offering a chance for them to discuss community problems.
- UYWEFA ran a successful campaign, raising a fund for a new building for Grades 4-5.
- Sponsored by a small USAID grant, educational workshops were implemented to teach the people in the community about nutrition management, will writing, and financial planning.
- A fund raised by the Kazo community and the former international volunteers at UYWEFA helped purchase two acres of land for the expansion of UYWEFA.
- A campaign run by UYWEFA raised $1020 for the expansion of the Education Center.
- UYWEFA joined the Coalition of Girls Empowerment, Rights Coalition on Gender Advancement Uganda as a member organization.
- All the children in the graduation class at the Education Center sat in the national exam, and all of them passed the exam and are qualified to enter high school next year.
- UYWEFA organized counseling sessions for HIV-affected women who came in small or large groups. In the sessions, the women were also taught how to provide counseling support to others. After the sessions, these women felt empowered to help other HIV-positive single mothers in coping with their challenges and being receptive to loving support.
- UYWEFA investigated 48 young mothers in Kazo County, and found that 23 of them were from a similar background: they were from low socio-economic status and were raped; suffering from stigmatization, they had little money to support themselves or their children. This situation rendered these women extremely vulnerable to poverty, malnutrition, poor healthcare and diseases, which may incentivize them to join the sex trade in the neighboring slum area and may perpetuate the rapid spread of HIV.
- A survey conducted by UYWEFA found that families headed by individuals aged below 18 were increasing and some of them cannot even read or write their names. Also, the young people were found dropping out of school when turning into teenage mothers or fathers. The rampant poverty affected the youth particularly when they lack of technical and vocational skills, and the number of new HIV infections keeps increasing as many of the teenage girls turn to prostitution.