Action for Children reaches over 15,000 children in Uganda every day, keeping them safe, healthy, and on the road to a bright future.
The Ugandan government puts the number of children orphaned by AIDS at 3 million, almost 10 percent of the total population of the country. Action for Children notes that the stress and social isolation experienced by children just before and after the death of their parents are strongly exacerbated by the shame, fear, and rejection that surround people affected by HIV/AIDS.
These neglected and rejected children in many cases must take on the burden of acting as heads of households. Grandmothers often come to the rescue of these children, but generally cannot afford to send them to school or provide good nutrition and health care due to their own lack of financial resources. One in every four Ugandan families now fosters AIDS orphans, carrying a huge burden to provide for them.
Qualifying families are assisted with small loans and the training they need to successfully operate their microbusinesses. To qualify for training and loans, families must care for orphans and/or HIV-affected children; show an entrepreneurial spirit and business potential; have a desire to be self-reliant and to engage in activities to improve their quality of life; have an understanding of the causes of poverty and be willing to eliminate them in their family and sphere of influence; be willing to undergo training in sustainable business practices; be willing to manage an income-generating activity, and be willing to be part of an entrepreneurial group. As part of the orientation program for all potential borrowers, AFC promotes, teaches, and facilitates the learning and application of sustainable business practices such as bookkeeping, marketing, planning, costing, pricing, problem solving, and natural resource management. Following the orientation, loans of $50 to $300 per person are extended to lending groups. These loans enable the recipient families to start or expand their very small businesses to provide them with a regular income.
Last year, the program disbursed close to 1,200 loans valued at over $260,000, with the goal of helping parents, guardians and caregivers start and expand successful micro-businesses. Perhaps most importantly, our programs have changed the lives of 7,000 children and young people in the past year, as their basic needs are being met and many are now able to attend grade school and college.