FAFU and the children's cancer ward in Mulago Hospital
In 2020, FAFU got partly involved in the funding of essential medicine and treatment for some serious cases of cancer in children from challenging backgrounds. It is shocking to see how children are refused treatment unless they raise the required funds and are forced to beg in the traffic in Kampala, trying to appeal to the public with their often very obvious tumors. Some of the children failed to even raise funds for the initial scans and so were yet to be diagnosed properly, even though the cancer was seeming to be growing at a rapid pace.
Aside from the medicine and treatment, FAFU was privileged to come across a wonderful researcher Marta, who was working for an initiative with Cambridge University at the time. Marta spent a lot of time on the children's ward in Mulago Hospital and recognized a huge need to spruce the place up. It's sad and dated feel made the place even more miserable and she observed how young children really had nothing at all to take their mind off their illnesses. She came up with an inspired idea to set up a playroom for the kids. She fundraised partly through Fund a Future and through other sources to get toys and learning equipment donated for the room, as well as a TV. Together with a group of volunteers, she painted the walls of the ward with bright and fun pictures and really transformed the environment.
This informal project is ongoing and certainly something we will continue to be a part of where possible in the future!
Fund a family in the village scheme
In 2019, we recognized a need to support families in the rural areas of Uganda. Of course this was not achieved on a huge scale as the need is great, however we tried to support a few families by sending them direct payments every month. We kept this up for around 6 months and noticed the positive impact. In rural areas, most families live a subsistence lifestyle, eating what they grow in their gardens. This is wonderful and sustainable, however the trouble comes when unforeseen additional emergencies crop up such as sicknesses. It is very hard for a subsistence farmer to have money to meet medical expenses. By paying a monthly salary for 6 months, the families were able to increase their yields and begin to sell some of their produce as well as consuming it. This programme was cut short as we lacked funds, however it has the potential to be rolled out with perhaps a one year programme for each family whereby after that they should have established routine profits which can be saved to cover unforeseen expenses in the future.
COVID Support to families
The global pandemic didn’t dodge Uganda. In fact while cases have thankfully stayed low on the global scale, the impact on Uganda was largely down to the lockdown. The majority of families here rely on earning day to day, if they earn they eat, if they don’t it’s an uncertain outcome. As such, with over three months of lockdown here, where people were confined to their homes, families in Kampala were struggling to survive. FAFU realized the issue and tried to at least support the families of some of the sponsored children, particularly by bringing food and sending to money to those living in the slums in Kampala. This support was extended to neighbors and needy people all over whenever we could.