Save The Aids Orphans - Uganda

Organization Description: 

Save The AIDS Orphans, here and after abbreviated as STAO, is now an independent non-profit indigenous church-based charitable organization. The organization was started in 1997 to try and stop the tide of orphaning in particular, and the spread of HIV/AIDS in general, these two factors having been the most frequent situations faithfuls would turn up for counseling and prayer about. Soon the intended boundaries were found to be outstripped by demand, as the need for services was growing at a speed so terrific, in an area so wide than the resources, physical, financial and human, could handle. In light of this, and in expectation of the future, owing partly to unending spread of AIDS and partly to increasing abject poverty, STAO was upgraded to a non governmental organization from a mere community based organization. So from 2001, STAO is a fully fledged independent organization with headquarters at Mafubira, 2 kilometers from Jinja, a town in near eastern Uganda, about two hours away from Kampala the capital (and only city) of Uganda. STAO now works in the; Provision of formal education for orphans and vulnerable children, Empowering widows financially and psychosocially, Sensitizing communities about HIV/AIDS, Providing mobile palliative care for people living with AIDS (PLWA), Fighting poverty through pursuing income generating activities, And finally, spreading the word of a caring God. ORPHANS EDUCATION The fatality of this epidemic is most profoundly manifested by the extent to which it saps, not only the energy of the victim, but the intrinsic mechanisms that propel a society to progress. Education is such a vital ingredient of a countrys development recipe, as it is known to furnish the tools with which children and young people carve out their lives, and is a lifelong source of comfort, renewal and strength. Childrens school attendance and enrolment have been severely battered by AIDS, to such an extent that countries like The Central African Republic and Swaziland have reported a drop in school enrolment and attendance of 20%-36% , attributed to AIDS and orphan hood. Uganda has moved a step in the right direction by embracing Free Primary Education for all since 1997. Despite this, studies have uncovered glaring gaps in the quality of teaching and an astronomical increase in the number of dropouts, decreasing enrolment notwithstanding. This, they say, is a function of implicit costs like building fee, feeding, uniforms, books and pens and other scholastic materials, plus the incidence of AIDS, as children are required to stay home to cater for terminally ill relatives coupled, with the shrink in the total house hold resource base, as medical care, funeral costs, labour loss and the like take their toll. STAO realized that it was her duty to plug this gap in helping non-school going children access formal education through the provision of the stringent scholastic requirements necessary. STAO does this by pursuing a double-pronged approach: a) Cognizant that AIDS robes children of their parents, we trace the next of kin to them and place them there, so as to keep that unique semblance of parental attachment going. In the absence of these, we identify families with the capacity to absorb one or two extra souls, and then place them there. These families are expected to treat the orphans as though they are their own children, by providing them with whatever their families would: food, shelter, medical care, education, clothing, but above all, love without peripheral qualifications. STAO now visits these homes twice every month to supervise and ascertain compliance to STAOs minimum set standards. b) To ease the burden of looking for requisite materials necessary for schooling, we developed a primary school with capacity for accommodating the educational needs of close to 500 children. AGAPE INTEGRATED SCHOOL runs from kindergarten to year four of primary education, with intention to move up a class every year, should resources for construction and sustainability of day-to-day activities become available. The school is largely crippled by the sporadic financial inflow, most of it from staff volunteers and a handful of well-wishers. The challenge is now to curtail the spontaneity associated with this facility, so that we can have sustainability and thus, predictability in the programs. STAO believes that this is the only way we can keep our heads high and claim to be doing anything in improving the plight of the parentless and the suffering young Ugandans. WIDOWS EMPOWERMENT There is increasing evidence to show that female-headed house holds face the incidence of poverty much more than the male-headed ones. A study in Botswana found out that male-headed households had about 2.6 times and 8 times more earning power in the urban areas and rural areas respectively . This situation places enormous responsibility on women as sole breadwinners and has adverse implications for productivity and income generation at the house hold level and for child survival and development. Considering that the chances for a widow, more so an AIDS one, to find a spouse - be it part-time, are immeasurably remote, then it is a fore gone conclusion that their situation is bound to be ugly. Yet more research in Uganda about will writing and succession planning reveals that well as standby guardians (those to whom children are willed prior to parental deaths) are predominantly male, it is women who assume much of the responsibility for orphaned children ultimately . STAO found out that the income generating capacity of these households is profoundly constrained by numerous dependent children; lack of opportunity to accumulate productive resources like cattle, goats, and farming implements; and difficulty in getting access to credit. They are further constrained by limited education and training which limits their employability. STAO has countered this trend by organizing widows in groups, and then offer them different skills, depending on their own choice and demonstrable ability for sustainability. Some have chosen to learn sewing, and to these STAO gave 30 sewing machines to 30 groups, each with 4 members. These widows are also trained in personal financial management, idea generation and entrepreneurship development, and - as expected - how to live positively with AIDS, or how to avoid it all together. Those that excel are fronted and recommended for funding from any of the three microfinance institutions that we partner with, or any other of their choice. Another group is being trained in the making of marketable local handicrafts such that in the event that resources make a way, a shop that specializes in only these products will be put up in either Kampala or Jinja. STAO is also involved in the promotion of vegetable farming, in a bid to bring the required nutritional needs of these people as close to them as possible, income generation notwithstanding. STAO buys the inputs such as hoes, watering cans, wheelbarrows, fertilizers, seeds and the like. To depart from the subsistence norm, the clients of this project are required to posses two gardens- one for home and the other for commercial use. Should funds become available, STAO is planning to scale up this project as it has proved to be highly beneficial to the widows in particular and the PLWAs in general. RURAL HIV/AIDS AWARENESS AND THE MOBILE CLINIC The vast majority of young people do not know how HIV is transmitted or how to protect themselves from the infection. In India only 37 per cent of young people have ever heard of HIV or AIDS, only 33 per cent in Bangladesh (UNAIDS, 2002b). In Mozambique, 74 per cent of girls and 62 per cent of boys aged 15-19 are unaware of any way to protect themselves from HIV (UNAIDS, 2001). In Somalia only 28 per cent of girls have heard of AIDS and only one per cent know how to protect themselves (UNAIDS, 2002b). Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, where girls receive less education than boys, only half of teenage girls realize that a healthy-looking person can be living with HIV (UNAIDS, 2001) . Here in Uganda, although there was a dramatic decrease in the number of primary school going children who are sexually active V from 61% to 5% (boys), and from 25% to 3% (girls) between 1994 and 2001 (Ngatia et al. 2001), there is still an alarmingly high rate of 19 Vand- below sexual activity [(52% are sexually active, and 28% are already married off.) Demographic and Healthy Surveys, 1998 V 2001]. So there is an urgent need to educate young people in particular about sex and HIV. They are having sex. Many are having sex from their early teens. They urgently need the knowledge and the skills to protect themselves from HIV and other STIs. We are not yet there. Complacency could spell disaster, and roll back the much-acclaimed strides Uganda has moved in the fight against this epidemic. We have to keep the foot onto the pedal, and, if anything, press much harder for a sustainably positive trend in this crusade. Small and terribly under facilitated as STAO may be, she has on many occasions stood up to be counted among the gallant combatants in this battle. We walk down to the people, deep in the remotest of villages, and teach the basics; what HIV/AIDS is, what it actually is not, ways and means of protection from infection, and how to treat and care for the victims without due discrimination. In vicinities where there is electric current, we use a TV and a VCR and show movies about HIV/AIDS, NUTRITION, and SEXUALLY TRANSIMITED INFECTIONS. At times, when we deem it practicable, we mobilize a parish or an area close to that, using the local political leadership of the area in concert with STAOs own registered community based volunteers (SOCIAL CARE GROUPS). In STAO jargon, we call this the MASS APPROACH. We also use the HOME-TO-HOME APPROACH, where we reach out to those who cannot make it to the collecting centers for one reason or the other. This is where we also reach out to the chronically ill, analyse the vulnerability rate of the children and take appropriate corrective measures, commensurate with our capacity. We administer Off The Shelf medication, advise on when and where to visit professional medical care, and offer basic necessities like maize flour, beans, salt, soap, paraffin and sugar. We also provide condoms through this approach, as we realized that the cost of a condom in the local shops is the equivalent of almost 2 or 3 meals in this part of the country. Holding onto precious life: An AIDS patient being comforted in a time when she needed it most. AIDS decimates the social fabric of a community, and leaves the whole spiritual edifice teetering at the brink of total collapse. The hard fact that this pandemic lacks a cure leaves the infected and affected people in a situation so hopeless that this hollowness rubs off onto, and seeps progressively into the individual. This physical hollowness can easily translate into spiritual need, ultimately bringing in question the institution of belief, where people begin to question the use of their God to them. And because spiritual satisfaction is part and parcel of the entity of humanity, provision of humanitarian assistance without it is more like preparing for a journey to the land of nowhere. For as it s written in James 1: 27, pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is that which cares for the widows and orphans in their distress. As Christians, we can only put claim to the fact that we are true believers, only when we exhibit unqualified compassion to those in need. This is actually the source of inspiration to our staff, who are all volunteering without any form of pecuniary motivation. Mathew 25:35 puts it more vividly: For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; It is because of the foregoing that evangelism is taken to be central to our work, serving as a pivot and a lubricant in everything that we lay our hands upon. We have an outreach team, offering Spiritual help and comfort through which we have seen many people give their lives to the lord, and had total behavioral turn around. It is not that easy to practice abstinence and or being faithful without supernatural supervision. We are convinced that a God-fearing populace will develop mechanisms that will inevitably curtail the further spread of this epidemic and save the future generations from this horrible pandemic plus the incidence of orphaning and vulnerability.

Save the Aids Orphans P.O.Box 25 Jinja
Jinja, 256
Mission Statement: 

Save The Aids Orphans Uganda is a pro-life giving ministry whose mission and mandate is to uphold the sanctity of human life and endeavoring to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs to the HIV/AIDS orphans and widows facing welfare problems

Organizational Statement of Faith: 

* The Bible to be the only inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God.
(John 16:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:13

* There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; Matthew 28:18; Luke 3:22; John 14:16)

* In the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(John 1:1; John 1:14; John 20:28-29; Philippians 2:6-11; Isaiah 9:6; Colossians 2:9)

* His virgin birth,
(Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:34-35; Isaiah 7:14)

* His sinless life,
(2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26-27; 1 John 3:5; 1 Peter 2:22)

* His miracles,
(Matthew 4:23; Luke 6:17-19; John 3:2)

* His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood,
(Colossians 1:14; Colossians 1:20; Romans 5:8-9; Ephesians 1:7)

* His bodily resurrection,
(1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Luke 24:4-7; Luke 24:36-48; Revelation 1:17-18)

* His ascension to the right hand of the Father,
(Acts 2:23; Acts 5:30-31; 1 Peter 3:22)

* His personal return in power and in glory,
(Acts 1:11; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-3)

* That justification by faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are absolutely essential for the salvation of lost and sinful man.
(Romans 3:24-25; John 3:3-7; 1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 2:1-16; Revelation 5:9; Acts 4:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11)

* That the prime agency for the work of God’s Kingdom is the local church functioning under the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ. To the church have been entrusted the ordinances of Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
(Acts 2:41-47; Acts 16:4-5; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

* In the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, which includes: His indwelling whereby the Christian is enabled to live a godly life; His supernatural gifting and empowering of the church for its work, life and worship.
(Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 10:44-46; 1 Corinthians 12; 1 Corinthians 14; Romans 8:13)

* In the return of Jesus Christ, to consummate His Kingdom in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; those who are saved unto the resurrection of life, and those who are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
(John 5:28-29; Mark 14:62; 2 Thessalonians 1:2-10; Revelation 1:5-7; Revelation 20:4-5; Revelation 20:11-12)

* In the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(John 17:11; John 17:21-23; Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:11-16)

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