Since our founding, we have committed ourselves to rescuing children who are living on the streets full-time. Through street outreach and partnerships with other organizations in our city, we seek to serve children in extremely critical circumstances who have little or no external assistance. We work with local support teams that include church leaders, social workers and drop-in center staff to identify children in crisis and create a plan of action to remove them from street life. With each child we serve, our staff conducts a “home trace” to locate and establish contact with their closest living relatives. If a child can be reunited with his or her family that is always our preference. It is our desire to reconnect children to their families, so in every situation we strive to restore the family unit by involving and maintaining relationships with surviving relatives if and when possible. If the family is willing to care for the child but unable to do so for financial reasons, we will work with the family to provide the child with an academic scholarship. However, we recognize that village life is not always suitable, so we work hard to ensure that a child will be properly cared for before resettling them. If we believe the child’s home environment poses a threat to their well-being and no options exist for the child to live with other relatives, the child will be invited to join our restoration home in Jinja.
At The Street Child Project, our ultimate goal is restoring family ties and eventually resettling each child back with his relatives. When a child first joins The Street Child Project, they are immediately home traced and reconnected with any existing family we can find. Our restoration home is meant to be transitional in the hopes that each child in our care can eventually be resettled back with his family or village. However, we recognize that each child’s situation is unique, so resettlement looks different for each one. The Street Child Project will always be family for each child that walks through its doors but we recognize the importance of children feeling safe and at home among relatives in their village. After a child is successfully resettled and still has school to complete, he continues in school under our supervision through our child sponsorship program, while we continue to monitor the safety and stability of his situation.
Our restoration home for boys is the focal point of our work in Uganda. Our residential program focuses on moving children from street life to stabilization towards a sustainable livelihood. To facilitate this process, we employ full-time house parents who create a culture of compassion, consistency and excellence in the home. The role of house parent is reserved for exemplary Ugandans who have a demonstrated history of integrity within our community and a visible interest in contributing to the restorative process of the children our care.
We are currently fundraising for property to house girls as well.
We believe that education should be accessible to every child. Public education is not free in Uganda; in order to attend school, each child must pay for tuition and uniforms. Street children lack the required resources and are deprived of the opportunity to attend school, quickly falling behind their peers and perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
The Street Child Project provides each of our children with an education, paying the school fees for those who are ready for school, homeschooling those who are not yet ready, and providing educational support to meet their individual academic needs. This approach provides the staff with an opportunity to assess the educational level of each student, and allows those who have fallen far behind to gain confidence before entering a formal classroom setting. Once each child is deemed capable of passing the entrance exam for his expected grade level, he is enrolled in a local school chosen especially for him.
Sustainability is a critical element of successful growth and to this end we facilitate a number of income-generating, environmentally-friendly projects. We integrate these projects into our restoration home in order to actively demonstrate sustainable living and equip the children with life skills training.
The Chicken Project is an income-generating program that combines nutrition, education and sustainability. We purchase chickens and raise them in our compound. Chickens and eggs provide protein to our children’s diet and also serve as profitable goods that can be sold locally. The Chicken Project is directed by our Sustainability Coordinator, an agricultural specialist, who uses the program to educate our children on nutrition, animal husbandry and economic sustainability.
The Farm Project is made possible through your support, and our partnership with Farming God’s Way, a 28-year- old agricultural empowerment program based out of South Africa, that equips African farmers to realize their land’s potential.
The Street Child Project hopes to purchase our own land, which will provide us with an opportunity to feed the children in our care and sell a portion to generate income to support our restoration home. As with our other sustainable programs, The Farm Project will serve as a teaching tool to the children in our care by providing teaching on agriculture, nutrition and economic sustainability.
We recognize the importance and value of a critical self-evaluation so we have taken the time to compile data from the past five years of our work in Uganda.
In January 2009, The Street Child Project hosted its first art camp for street children in Kampala, Uganda. There were approximately thirty street children present. After the two-week program, The Street Child Project officially opened the doors of its residential center in late 2009.
Since that time, The Street Child Project has housed dozens of former street children in our restoration home, while providing educational and economic support for many more who have been resettled with their families or villages. As of the end of 2015, your generous support has allowed The Street Child Project to provide care and support for 112 children. There are typically between ten and eighteen children residing in our restoration home, and 50 or more, at any given time, for whom we are providing an education while they reside with family members in their home villages.
Many of the children formerly in our care have graduated from our program, with life skills, education and restored family relationships. One of our former residents now runs his own art gallery in Gulu, Uganda, others have utilized vocational training they received through The Street Child Project to find gainful employment, and we have a whole new crop of rising stars who are preparing to finish their secondary education and go on to university.
Thanks to the leadership of our house uncles Eric and Fred, The Street Child Project has become a leader among NGO’s providing restorative care for street children in Uganda. Eric was recently selected to attend advanced international training in Kenya, and he is frequently asked to train and mentor others in the Jinja community.