Meet Vicky. Six months ago, Vicky’s life was good – tough, but good. She lived in a rural area near Gulu with her husband and six children. Her three eldest children went to school, she and her husband worked hard and although they were by no means wealthy, they managed.
Tragically, in September 2017, Vicky’s husband was killed in a freak accident, when a branch fell from a tree, killing him outright. Vicky had to stop sending her children to school and they worked hard to survive. In January 2017, Vicky had gone to get medical help for her baby. The older children were cooking at home and accidentally set fire to their banda (hut). The family’s meager possessions were destroyed in the fire. Darwinton, Edukid’s social worker, heard of Vicky’s situation on the radio and sought her ought. When the Uganda 2017 group came to Gulu, Darwinton took the group on a home visit to meet Vicky and tell us her story.
The family was, literally, destitute. They were sleeping in a tiny shed covered with a corrugated iron roof, which was stifling hot, they had no clothes, no utensils and nothing to sleep on. They were living on cassava that Vicky grew. With rainy season imminent, the situation could only get worse. Vicky looked as though she had given up; she and her children were tired and starving and the constant struggle for survival was getting tougher every day.
After the visit, the group talked about what they could do. We consulted Darwinton about appropriate actions and made a plan! Some of the group split into four teams and went to market for food, utensils, clothes and bedding. It was then arranged that we would deliver the goods in the presence of a village Councillor, to ensure that no one attempted to take any of Vicky’s new possessions.
- Each group member has pledged £20 towards the cost of items bought for Vicky and a new roof for her banda (to be fitted before rainy season).
- We have received pledges from individuals offering to sponsor all four of the school-aged children in the group.
- One couple have offered to buy Vicky a goat – a true life-line as her youngest child, Thomas, who
is 18 months old still breast-feeds but Vicky is unable to produce enough milk due to malnutrition.
- The family have enough basic food to last them for a long time; Vicky can also use beans and corn, and in time, goats’ milk, to sell or barter for other goods.
- Darwinton is going to help Vicky to find a long-term solution; he will talk to her about her skills and experience so she may build a brighter future.
In the meantime, Vicky has the three things she wanted most for her children: education, clothes and food. Soon she will also have a goat and a roof on her hut, to provide shelter to her and her children. In just one week, the relatively small actions of one group quite literally changed their lives.
Visiting Vicky was emotional for all involved but it was important for everyone to realise that the children in schools with the smiley faces were once just like Vicky’s children. What’s more, there are plenty more children who need our help. The team helped to change Vicky’s life, and the lives of her children. They will be supported by Edukid well into the future. What’s more, the team from the UK were empowered: they facilitated the transformation in Vicky’s life and learnt that relatively small actions can make a huge difference.
Uganda is at peace after over two decades of conflict. However, the people in Northern Uganda still face unimaginable poverty. Tragically, Vicky’s story is by no means unique; many other families are in similar situations. If you can help by sponsoring a child, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or download a sponsorship form.