The struggles of an additional needs family in rural Uganda

Photo from 2017

Many of you may have been following Anita’s story since 2015.

When we met Anita at her home up a very steep rural hill in Rukungiri, her father was already living in the capital of Uganda, Kampala.

It is common for men to travel to the city to find work. It is also common for them to quickly abandon their families and create a new life in the city, unlikely to be heard from again.

We were thrilled to know that Anita’s father supported and visited his family. He sent money home regularly and visited home once a year. By western standards, I know this doesn’t sound much, but this is not unusual at all for those living in the rural districts of Uganda.

Sadly though we were informed that this has changed in recent years and Anita’s father rarely returns home and no longer supports the family financially. It is presumed that he will probably, in the words of our team in Rukungiri, “desert” the family altogether.

How does this affect Anita? Well, I am not sure when her father would have seen her last. Anita boards away at school during term time, this best meets both her educational and medical needs. It also allows her mother to work and care for the family effectively.

It is likely that Anita is still in school when her father has visited home. Her relationship with him will probably be minimal or non-existent.

For the past two holidays, Anita’s mother has chosen to leave Anita at school rather than bringing her home.

At the moment we are unclear as to why this is the case. However, it is likely that her mother is feeling overwhelmed in being abandoned, with many mixed emotions. She may no longer feel she has the emotional or financial resources to cope when Anita is home.

We are working alongside Chili Children's in-country staff in Rukungiri to investigate further and resolve this situation as quickly and effectively as possible. We want to be able to support Anita’s mother’s needs so she feels strong and able enough to continue to bring Anita home during the holidays.

For Ian and myself being a part of Anita’s life, ensuring her medical needs are taken care of as well as supporting her education has been a great privilege. From meeting this lonely fragile shy young girl, to watch her grow into a happy fulfilled young lady has been a huge blessing. We have been able also to support her family at home and to see the joy on their faces is a joy in itself.

The changes to their lives since 2015 has brought hope and freedom.

Now our mission is to continue to draw the family unit back together so that Anita can keep moving forward within the love and support of her family, knowing she is valued within her family and that she is always welcomed home.

Previous Posts about Anita:
Introducing Anita
Look Who's Walking


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