Alice has been a nurse for 37 years and is a patient care coordinator at Center for Hospice Care (CHC). Through the partnership between the two organizations, Alice has learned about the Palliative Care Association of Uganda’s (PCAU) work and was especially interested in the Road to Hope program that supports vulnerable children who have lost one or both parents and are unable to continue their education.
A single parent, Alice has one daughter and a soon-to-be 1-year old grandson. The RTH program spoke to her because she related to the worry that these parents in Uganda may have about their child’s future if something were to happen to them. “This is a concern I always had being a single parent. While my worry certainly doesn’t compare to what the parents in Uganda experience, I felt a strong desire to be part of this cause.”
In 2016, Alice began sponsoring Getrude, who was just finishing primary school. Once on the program, and with support from Alice, Getrude was assured of her education through at least vocational school. Because of the close relationship between CHC/HF and PCAU, Alice is confident that Getrude and other children on the RTH program benefit directly from the sponsorship. She loves receiving personal letters and pictures from Getrude and being able to communicate back. This connection to Getrude, and the knowledge that her donation goes directly to benefit her sponsored child, are what makes the RTH program unique.
“I encourage anyone that is thinking about a sponsorship to do it. The benefits that the children get are well worth the cost of the sponsorship but the benefits to you, knowing that you are doing something that can be life changing for that child, are priceless.”
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. Getrude’s mother died in 2015 after a prolonged illness. During her illness, the children’s father was often gone to look for money to cover medical costs. Getrude, the eldest of the five, assumed the role of primary caregiver for her mother as well as the other children. This included preparing meals, managing her mother’s medication, bathing etc., and with this kind of responsibility, she dropped out of school.
In 2016, Getrude and two of her siblings were referred to PCAU to join the RTH program. Getrude was thrilled to be back in school. Despite the challenges she has faced, Getrude has done well and is grateful for the support Alice provides. She completed senior four in late 2020 – taking national exams during the pandemic. Her scores were good, but not sufficient for entry into nursing school, which was her first choice. PCAU began a discussion with Getrude and her father about her options for next steps. She could repeat senior four and national exams, or she could pursue another area of interest in vocational school.
Around this same time, Getrude’s family had the unfortunate experience of a fire in their home – it destroyed everything. The community stepped in to help them find temporary shelter and PCAU played a big role in providing additional clothes, bedding and food assistance. PCAU committed to help in the rebuilding of the family’s home.
Considering all factors, Getrude decided it was best at this time to pursue a vocational course. She chose fashion and design, another interest of hers. She has settled in well at her new school and is even running for student council. Alice was excited to learn of Getrude’s pursuit of a leadership role and wishes her good luck.