CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
We believe that nurturing children requires providing for not only obvious needs such as food, shelter and education but also deeper needs, such as psychological safety, role-modeling, development of values and spiritual support.
Through a holistic, community-based approach, we support a new generation of African children to fulfill their potential, and escape from the trap of abject poverty for themselves and their families.
“Many children in our program have experienced trauma. Through our partnership with Afrinspire, they are not only able to go to school, but, more importantly, experience love.”
Margaret, Jaguza Initiative (Working with Orphans)
Across Eastern Africa, the number of children relative to the number of adults is increasing. In Uganda (the country in which Afrinspire is most active) almost 50% of the population is under the age of 15 (State of Uganda Population Report, 2017).
The large youth population, however, creates a challenge for parents, of whom many struggle to feed themselves, to support a family. Life is even more challenging for children who have lost their parents, or those suffering from illness or disability, who may suffer neglect. They may lack clothes, go hungry and have no chance of an education.
AREAS OF WORK
Education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development, as highlighted by SDG 4. Although primary education is technically free in many parts of Eastern Africa, it may be unavailable due to geographical limitations, and barriers such as requiring children to bring their own stationery and wear a uniform – unaffordable to some families. Many children (particularly girls) drop out before developing basic literacy and numeracy.
Afrinspire responds to these needs on a community-by-community basis, offering funding for vulnerable children in some, providing the necessary stationery and uniforms in others, or, in very deprived communities, working alongside community leaders to set up and grow new schools from the nursery class upwards.
In East Africa, the AIDS epidemic has left a whole generation of children parentless. Orphaned children are often split up and sent to live with grandparents or other relatives, who typically suffer from poor health and may already have several children of their own. Some children have no guardians and struggle to survive on the streets.
Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence to suggest that children's care centres (orphanages), although often well-intentioned, are not the best setting to care for children who have lost their parents. Therefore, many of Afrinspire’s partners work to support guardians such as grandparents to provide home-based, holistic care to these very vulnerable children.
Many nursery schools have been started in order to cater for the 30 to 40 orphans in every community.
Unfortunately, many East-African educational facilities are outdated and do not equip young people for the economy they will be working in. The focus is typically very traditional, namely preparing children for white collar jobs, when in fact, very few of these are available.
Afrinspire is partnering with a number of institutions to train young people in practical vocational and enterprise skills that will enable them to set up their own business and create their own jobs.
Children with Disabilities
Cultural attitudes towards children with disabilities mean that such children are often hidden away. They are often seen as a source of shame, and not prioritized in families which may be struggling to provide care for the many children they have. This results in disabled children with limited opportunities to integrate with peers or to attend school.
Afrinspire supports organisations such as Hornby High School which seeks to provide Ugandan children with visual impairments with a comprehensive education and skills utilising special equipment such as braille machines.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
LEARN about the challenges and the approach of community-wide support in comparison to orphanages and individual child sponsorship programmes