Alice has been a nurse for 37 years and is a patient care coordinator at Center for Hospice Care. Getrude lives in Kyankwanzi District of Uganda with her four siblings (two of whom are also on the RTH program) and their father, who is a farmer.
Changing “No parents. No future. No hope”
into a future full of promise.
The Road to Hope program provides financial and social support for vulnerable children who have lost one or both parents and are unable to continue their education. Most of the children in the program provided care for their dying parent(s) or are the younger siblings of those who provided care. Palliative care workers identify vulnerable child caregivers for the program. It is a joint initiative between the Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) and its US partners, Center for Hospice Care/Hospice Foundation (CHC/HF).
Protection for Vulnerable Children
In Uganda, like much of Sub-Saharan Africa, children become their parents’ primary caregiver if a parent is struck with a life-threatening condition. With no source of family income, the child typically quits school to earn whatever living can be found. Additional responsibilities often include making sure the household has food, cleaning/bathing the parent and acquiring morphine or other pain-relieving drugs from a palliative care organization. After the parent(s) die, the child caregiver is usually taken in by members of the extended family. That extended family is often unable to provide more than the bare minimum of food, clothing and schooling for the orphaned children.
In addition to being orphaned, these children are frequently vulnerable in other ways. Some are ill themselves and in need of physical and psychosocial care. The Road to Hope program was created to assist vulnerable child caregivers by providing educational, psychological, social, emotional and nutritional support.
The Road to Hope and COVID-19
With schools in Uganda shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children on the Road to Hope program face even more daunting circumstances than normal. Families that already had difficulties in securing enough food now have an increased demand with schools not providing meals for the children. While Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports is keeping children engaged with their studies through radio and television broadcasts of tutoring sessions and home-schooling packages for each class level in the national newspapers, families struggle with access to electricity and being able to afford the newspapers. PCAU continues to keep in touch with the children’s guardians to help ensure that the children are receiving at least one meal a day and have access to the educational materials they need. If you would like to help children of the Road to Hope program during the pandemic, your gift will be greatly appreciated!
Stories from the Road to Hope
On January 10th, 2022, Uganda’s schools reopened after what may be the world’s longest pandemic-related closure. An estimated one-third of students will not return to school in Uganda this month.
PCAU is currently holding regional retreats for a small number of children in their respective regions to provide social and psychological support to the children.