Of the approximately 1.2 million people in Uganda living with HIV/AIDS, about 150,000 are children under 15. The deaths caused by the disease have resulted in a large orphan population, usually under the care of HIV-positive individuals. UNAIDS estimates that Uganda has about 2.73 million orphans aged below 18, nearly half of whom have lost one or both parents to HIV. HIV has triggered bad outcomes for the families in Kazo, where there is a high HIV prevalence and the population of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) keeps increasing.
UYWEFA International Education Center provides quality education services at a low cost to the OVCs, and at almost no cost to HIV-affected children. In addition, UYWEFA works to offer opportunities to the children of the community who have struggled to obtain access to education. UYWEFA has supported the Kazo Local Council in its efforts to get street children back to school and has worked with other schools to offer financial support to the children enrolled at UYWEFA.
Today the school serves over 300 students enrolled in nursery and primary grades up to Grade 7, while it was established as a nursery school in 2011 for the OVCs aged 3-6 only. About 160 of the students are receiving free education and 165 of them receiving half scholarships given their socioeconomic or HIV status. Even for the students who have to pay the full tuition and fees, the cost is rather affordable. In 2016, all the children in the graduation class at the Education Center sat in the national exam, and all of them passed the exam and were qualified to enter high school next year.
In addition, UYWEFA provides baskets of food monthly to those households that are assessed for malnutrition. The food basket is comprised of rice, beans, and corn=soya blend for porridge. The size of the basket is doubled for those households of more than 5 members. Food is particularly provided in the communities when students go on break, as they will not receive their daily school lunch during this time. In 2016, 10 households with orphans and vulnerable children were supported with food, which benefited more than 75 secondary individuals.