Entebbe is in the central belt of Uganda, on the northern shore of Lake Victoria. It has a population of approximately 80,000. Uganda’s only international airport is located here and Entebbe is, therefore, important for trade and international relations.
During the 1970s and 80s, Ugandans suffered dreadfully from human rights abuses, when around half a million people were the victims of state-sponsored violence. To add to the terrorisation, the Lord’s Resistance Army became active in the mid-1990s. At the height of this conflict, nearly two million people in Northern Uganda were displaced and children were abducted and forced to become sex slaves or fighters. The country has also been involved in the conflict in DR Congo.
Hope for the future
The recent discovery of oil reserves has added to Uganda’s wealth of natural resources and brings some hope for its economic future. However, living conditions remain very difficult for many, and the country is still recovering from its troubled past.
How children are affected
In times of strife, children are always deeply affected. Rehabilitating abducted children is always a slow process, and the scars caused by civil war take time to heal. Although prevalence has recently been reduced by a vigorous state-led campaign, Ugandans still suffer from widespread HIV/AIDS. This means that children, too, are infected and may well be orphaned. It is estimated that in the Entebbe region alone, some 10,000 children and young people have lost one or both parents. These young people live in destitute conditions and will have had to take on adult responsibilities, which often include looking after their younger siblings.
Our Children’s Village in Entebbe
Our Children’s Village was opened in 2003 and cares for over 100 children. Our social centre ensures that children living in the wider community have access to health and nutritional services. We support families by providing guidance on income-generating skills and enterprises. We also provide counselling and psychological support where it is needed. We work in tandem with local organisations strengthening practical and emotional support systems for struggling families.
Our medical centre treats around 6,000 patients each year, providing free basic medical care, preventive medicine and a voluntary testing and counselling centre for HIV/AIDS.
As well as looking after the younger children living in our Children’s Village, our SOS nursery is also open to neighbouring families who value the provision of early-years education. Parents are safe in the knowledge that their children will be well looked after, nurtured and kept safe.
We’re working with local organisations to ensure that children and young people can benefit from health service, education and guidance.