F.E.Ed - Mary
Mary tells us her story (translated from Luganda)
“My name is Mary Namutebe. I live in Katiko A Naama, Busimbe sub-county in Mityana Distict, Uganda. I was doing okay and I was healthy while I was taking my ARV drugs, which I had been taking for 10 years.
Then, all of a sudden, they decided to change the drugs I was taking to a different type. This caused a terrible side effect and I ended up being bedridden at home. Usually I take care of some of my grandchildren who live with me, but suddenly they had to care of me. When they returned from school, they would have to fetch water and food, cook for me and look after me.
I was bedridden for two weeks, unable to move, stand, eat or bathe etc. While I was going through this pain, somebody told John Bosco of ACO-Africa and their team came to visit me. I was in a critical situation and I couldn’t eat or drink. After they visited me for the first time, they returned with a nurse who gave me medication including drips and tablets to take. I was bathed and looked after. I recovered.
Three days after ACO-Africa’s intervention, I started working again, making mats. But they did not stop there – they continued to visit me regularly bringing sugar and bread and other things. I was finally able to drink tea and eat food. They would often visit me and find me making mats which they were pleased to see. This is how I make my money.
I owe my life to ACO-Africa and would like to take this opportunity to thank ACO-Africa for the wonderful things they have been able to do for us all. I would like to thank Mr John especially for caring about our people and continuing to help us. Because it is not only me, there are many other people that have been supported – some were even going mad before they intervened! We thank them so much for their help and care!”
Post a Pig - Axam
Axam was born in Mityana district (Kakindu sub-county, Nsambya parish, Nsambya village). Axam’s mother and father separated around four years ago so she has been a single mother for this time. His father then passed away two years later (2014) from AIDS.
Axam, his mother and his older brother (12 years old and HIV negative) live alone together in a small two-room house built buy the mother herself. She earned the money by breaking large rocks into smaller pieces and selling them to people for use in construction. This is very strenuous work for a HIV positive woman.
Axam and his mother are both HIV positive but this was only discovered when Axam was three years old. It was after a series of illnesses when they eventually visited the hospital where tests were carried out and HIV was confirmed. Axam then began his ARV treatment (anti-retroviral – HIV drugs) which he will be on for his entire life. His mother is weak and struggles to support the family, often meaning they are only able to eat one meal a day.
Their accommodation is very poor and they do not own any bedding to sleep on. They earn a small amount of money by fetching water for people. Axam is often required to walk four kilomentres each day over steep terrain with his small jerry can to fetch water for the family to use for cooking and drinking.
ACO Africa heard of the families plight and began supporting him. He has recently been blessed with a sponsor from the UK who has helped provide bedding, clothes and food to Axam and his family.
He was provided with two chickens for rearing and they recently gave birth to four chicks. This means Axam and his family will be able to earn an income by selling the chicks and eggs.
Disability Support - Chrisestom
When we first met 8-year-old Chrisestom he had been unable to walk for some time. He had been getting around by dragging himself along the floor, resulting in his toes becoming infected with ‘jigger’ fleas. Not knowing what had caused his disability, his family resorted to a traditional 'remedy' of burning his back with a fiery poker to try and 'reactivate' his legs.
We took him to Namutamba Rehabilitation Centre where he stayed for a month and was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. This is a hereditary condition marked by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles. Because physiotherapy is unlikely to benefit him he was discharged.
Despite his diagnosis, when we picked him up from the Centre and he looked so happy! A huge contrast to the crying, scared little boy we dropped off the previous month. He had made many friends, and the staff at Namutamba have been amazing throughout, making the children feel so at home. Chrisestom was very excited to be going home to see his ja-ja (grandma) though!
Thanks to sponsorship, ACO-Africa is able to pay for Chrisestom to get a wheelchair, which costs c.200,000UGX (£50). Then Namutamba will provide a training session for his mother/grandmother about muscular dystrophy and how to deal with the challenges. We also hope to be able to refer Chrisestom to Chance for Children - a great charity which runs a school specially equipped for disabled students. It is 200,000UGX (£50) per term, and would be impossible for Chrisestom’s family to afford without sponsorship through ACO-Africa.
When he came home, his ja-ja (grandma) was very pleased to see him and incredibly grateful to us - she couldn't stop hugging us and saying thank you! Donations to ACO-Africa have made a real difference in Chrisestom's life!
Disability Support - Tiana
When we first met 4-year-old Tiana she was unable to crawl or sit up by herself, she was listless and seemed to be in a lot of pain when her limbs were moved. Tiana was born HIV+, and the first thing we discovered upon visiting her was that she had tuberculosis (TB). TB can be picked up even by vaccinated individuals when they have HIV, as their immunity is low. Her mother is young, and so we helped and educated her, and paid for medication so that Tiana’s TB cleared up.
However, Tiana’s inability to walk was obviously still a concern so we took her to the Namutamba Rehabilitation Centre. We found out from her assessment there that she has cerebral palsy.
Since Tiana’s mum has been trained on simple physiotherapy to help her stand, both mum and daughter are SO much happier! Often confusion and ignorance are what creates the most problems, for both individuals and families. When she was visited in early October, Tiana was sitting up in her doorway smiling away!
The basic physiotherapy moves her mother was taught during the session are obviously working well! The pair are preparing for the two-week cerebral palsy physiotherapy training course. They will stay at Namutamba for two weeks to learn more about the condition and develop more skills.
We’re happy that Tiana can now sit by herself and even kneel down. We hope to see a lot more of her cheery smile!
Disability Support - Derek
Derek’s mother, Janet, and auntie, Zebeda, tell us his story (translated from Luganda)
“We are Janet, the mother of Derek, and Zebeda, sister to Janet. We live in the village Katiko in Naama, Mityana District, Uganda.
When my sister gave birth to Derek, he was unable to move and stand. He has cerebral palsy. When we took him to a medical centre, they wouldn’t help us so we returned home. Then ACO Africa visited and requested to take Derek to the Namutamba rehabilitation centre. They came and took Derek and Janet to the centre in Namutamba.
When they took them there they received some training on cerebral palsy including physiotherapy which we didn’t know about before. They were given an appointment date where they will be trained fully for two weeks. We are now waiting for that date so they can go. The car they used to go there was very small and they did not fit in it very well. There were 10 people in the tiny car! There is definitely a need for a bigger car as they were so squashed!
We request support for this organisation to be helped with a bigger car so people can travel more safely and comfortably. The roads are so bad with lots of bumps and potholes and a new car would really help to ensure that people are safe when travelling.
We thank ACO-Africa for helping us and we pray that Derek recovers well through the rehabilitation. Thank you so much!”
Medical Support - Winifred
Winifred's mother tells us about her struggles (translated from Luganda)
“I’m Regina. I live in Kitinkokola in Mityana with my daughter Winifred. Winifred contracted the HIV virus when she was a child after she was raped while still in Primary School. The person who did it was taken to the police but we needed money to continue with the prosecution which we didn’t have, so he was released.
At the time, I didn’t know Winifred was HIV positive until there was a HIV test drive and I took her and she was tested. She started her HIV drugs which is good, but she also has another condition, epilepsy, which she has had since she was one. She often has epileptic fits.
We were really struggling to make ends meet. I got a small job, but one day I came home and found that Winifred had been raped again. This time was by a relative, and it resulted in a pregnancy. She gave birth and she has been looking after the baby on her own with no help from the father. I am the one looking after them both and the support from ACO-Africa is so needed.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank ACO-Africa for the support they have given us, including epilepsy treatment, food parcels, toys, seeds and a pig. I also thank all of the people who are helping them to support us by donating. We thank you so much! We thank God for the support and we pray that you continue to help us vulnerable people.”
Time of the Month Challenge
Most recently, we have been able to purchase 10 boxes of sanitary pads which is 1800 pads.
We distributed two boxes to a local prison, three boxes to the communtity coordinators in the villages to distribute to the girls when they are in need and the rest we donated to the Project Coordinator of a Sustainable Outcomes Project.
This project works with local communities targeting vulnerable girls from poor families. These have made a significant difference to girls during this difficult time and they will no longer have to be embarrassed to go to school or resort to using leaves and paper because of a lack of sanitary items.
Send Some Seeds
Seeds were donated to families in Rakai district and, after a good harvest, they are now able to provide food for their families and have some leftover for selling and saving.
It is very unique for a child from the village to reach the university level of education, most of whom drop out of Primary School. However, a small number of these children are very bright and excel in school and would benefit massively from the opportunity. An example of this is a young girl, Annette, who has been supported by ACO-Africa for 3 years and was recently awarded a scholarship to study Biological Sciences at a University in Japan for 3 years!