Catholic Care for Children Uganda (CCCU) in partnership with GHR Foundation and the mother organization of the Association of the Religious in Uganda (ARU) has supported two Catholic Care Institutions (CCIs) as a pilot to generate evidence to scale out to other CCIs under this project. This project was undertaken with an intent to reduce the number of children in the CCIs by supporting resettlement of at least 75% of the children. As by April 12, 2021, 60% of the children were resettled with packages to help them start a better life either with their parents, relatives or as independent youth.
However, this does not mean that the children from the pilot Institutions (St. Mugagga Boy’s and Kinyarugonjo Children’s Home) who have been taken to their different placements are now fine and can stand on their own. There is need for post resettlement follow-ups and extra hard and soft life-skills trainings are needed such as Financial Literacy for the independent boys so as to manage their businesses well. This is only possible if they have enough and extra support from willing ‘good Samaritans’ to support their re-integration and independent living.
There are a few cases to show support or engagement; Jude Kakuuma (male, aged 23), was raised in St. Mugagga Boys Home all his child and early adulthood until March 21, 2021 when he was disengaged and supported for independent living. The CCI supported Jude to take a three years’ course in Carpentry and Joinery. However, his passion rested elsewhere. So he did not practice carpentry and Joinery. He opted for catering. Thus, the CCI linked him to a restaurant in Jinja City where the visitation team found him. He did not study catering but he was learning on job. “My dream is to run restaurant business,” he said.
Jude’s journey towards independent living:
According to the CCI Staff of St. Mugagga, after completion of his carpentry course, Jude started looking at himself as someone who had outgrown the CCI and started to demand for an independent living. To this effect, he started looking for job opportunities. While still in the CCI, he used to go to the neighboring police barracks for casual work from which he derived basic savings. Meanwhile, he increasingly expressed passion in catering. In early 2020, he was linked to a job in a restaurant but this was disrupted by Covid-19 pandemic lock down. However, when the lockdown was eased, he reported back to duty. The visitation team found that he was doing very well at work. “He blends well with the employer and fellow workers especially women, because most of his friends are female. It would seem that, since he lived in the CCI for a long time, he missed female counterparts in his life and he could be compensating;” one colleague observed.
At work, Jude performs the following roles: cooking, serving clients, and at times he is at the front desk while in other cases, he is tasked to purchase food items in the market.
He is paid UGX 5,000 daily. Because he works in a restaurant, Jude gets his lunch and sometimes supper at the workplace (depending on the time his day ends). As such in the process he saves a most of his daily earning.
Jude’s life outside St. Mugagga Boy’s Home
On March 21, 2021, Jude started a new life outside the CCI. He was supported with 6 months’ rent with the assumption that after 6 months, Jude will be in position to meet his rent bills. He lives in Walukuba near Jinja Town. His residence is a walkable distance to the workplace. The CCI was instrumental in searching for him a house (two–roomed) with a living room and a bedroom. The monthly rent is UGX 80,000. The CCI paid UGX 240,000 upfront for the first 3 months. In a casual interaction with Jude, he expressed that he is steadily adapting to life outside St. Mugagga.
Social life and friends
According to Jude’s Employer at Enkabi Restaurant, he is gentle and reserved; friendly only to those he is close to. He relates well with customers and his work colleagues. On Sundays he goes for prayers at Rubaga Cathedral (close to St. Mugagga Boys’ Home) and after service, he visits his friends at Police Barracks, also located near the Cathedral. He made these friends while he was still at the CCI. These were also his OGs at St. Gonzaga Primary School.
At his residence, he has a neighbor who he refers to as his friend. The two blend well. This friend could be a resource in supporting to him become independent.
Whereas Jude is steadily adapting without the daily care that St. Mugagga offered, he experiences some challenges including: struggling to count money. He can now recognize a 50,000, 20,000 and 10,000 note but his current problem is summing up monies. This is in part attributed to dependency of children in the CCI and on the CCI staff for basic activities like shopping, budgeting, saving, etc. He lacks and thus, needs a bank account. Part of the problem is that he lacks a national identity Card. He lacks and thus, needs a phone. He also needs a sim card registered in his name. Incidentally, this also requires a national identity card.
Poor emotional management. He is high tempered. For instance, if disturbed by children he becomes physically aggressive. He is also easily put off by being asked many questions
His flat has a broken window. He thus had a problem with mosquitoes. He had no a mosquito net. He needed a repair of the window but had no idea of how to go about this.
Recommendations made by the visitation team for successful independent living
Jude still needs support in financial literacy. This will help him learn to count money and manage finances. This is very important for his everyday life but it even makes more sense given that he dreams of starting a restaurant business in future. Jude needs to start on the process of applying for a national I.D. The visitation team agreed with the CCI team (Social worker and Administrator) that the CCI will support him get information needed by National Identification & Registration Authority (NIRA) Office in order to issue him the National ID.
In addition, he will be guided to the NIRA office in Jinja. He needs support in the area of developing personal development plans i.e., opening a bank account. The CCI team would help him in this regard to open up an account in Centenary Bank. He also ought to be supported to open up a Mobile Money account. Jude needs peer to peer support especially from close friends so that he can easily cope with life challenges. CCI should keep monitoring Jude’s independent living progress. The CCI team is engaging Jude’s boss to help him learn how to count mone
The story of Brian Baruha
Brian Baruha (22), was disengaged from St. Mugagga Child Care Institute (CCI) in 2018, and was reunited with his father and an elder brother. As a young adult whose living environment has completely changed, experienced coping challenges. Brian made attempts to become independent and secured a job at a steel rolling mill near Jinja-Kayunga Road. His role was to mobilize scrap, a duty he said was so demanding and physically put his health at risk and later decided to quit the job. But departed with a number of bad habits including smoking opium.
He co-habited with a girlfriend who learnt about St. Mugagga CCI social worker as Brian’s guardian. The lady called the social worker and informed him about Brian who badly needed help. Brian went ahead to break his relationship with the girlfriend on a purported account that she was not developmental. “This lady was draining me financially,” he said. The CCI staff gave a positive response and started engaging him.
Brian who lives in Buyikwe District originally hails from Kigezi region. The three (Brian, his brother and father) reside in the same trading center but do not live together. However, Brian meets with all of them on daily basis. Brian eats lunch at the father’s workplace and residence. The father is employed in someone’s piggery project. Like Brian, the elder brother was once under the care of St. Mugagga boys’ home. Brian’s elder brother eventually got employed as a welder in Jinja town.
Brian gets concerted support from ARU-CCCU-GHR-CCI:
Much as Brian had left St. Mugagga, the social worker kept on visiting him to offer psychosocial support and at times, he would also come to the CCI (as a walk-in) for more counseling and guidance.
Brian’s dream has always been coming up with a video library. When the CCI got financial support from ARU-CCCU, Brian was one of the beneficiaries. The social worker engaged him on what he believed would change his life and he opted for setting a video library. He was tasked to look for busy place where he could set up his business and he zeroed on Naminya trading center.
With support from St. Mugagga Boys’ home, Brian was able to set up a video library on February 16, 2021. The CCI bought him a brand-new Desktop Computer, a CPU, a duplicator, speaker, 3 plastic chairs, table/counter, empty CDs and supported him with 3- month rent amounting to UGX 300,000. In addition, the CCI also paid the carpenter who installed stands where CDs and movies are hanged. Brian already had the computer skills having gone to St. Charles Lwanga Kitabi (Bushenyi) where he acquired computer skills
Brian currently dubs audio-visuals, films and sells CDs. He duplicates music at UGX 200 and film/video at UGX 1000. A recorded CD is sold at UGX 1500. According to Brian, Saturdays and Sundays are his best business days for making more sales. On such days, he makes an average of UGX 10,000. Brian reported that he saves UGX 2,000 daily. He also recently joined a cash round group which comprises of eight members.
Like in any other business, Brian cannot escape challenges. His biggest challenge currently is unreliable electricity. Sometimes it goes off yet his machines depend heavily on power. Furthermore, sometimes fellow tenants fail to contribute to their shared electric bills. He has a vulnerable and ailing father. To cut down costs, Brian lives in the video library. He is yet planning to have a residential space separate from the business premise. Besides, the trading centre where his business is located is not very vibrant.
With unlimited plans, Brian dreams of starting a meat-roasting joint in the very trading centre where the video library is situated. He has hopes that his elder brother (a welder) would provide him with a roasting stove and with his savings, he will be able to kick off with the business. He considers this business to enable him complement his income from the video library. In three months, Brian plans to shift his business to a more vibrant trading centre.
To reinforce his plans and mitigate risks, Brain’s elder brother would be bought on board in as far as aiding him to successfully live an independent life. This is because his brother has moved on very well much as they were once in the CCI together. An assessment of whether he can manage roasting meat ought to be conducted. He should be encouraged to acquire a phone for purposes of enhancing business contacts with customers. As his business grows, he needs to acquire a smart phone since this can help him download songs, videos that he may not have on the computer. Alternatively, he acquires a MIFI for internet connectivity to the computer. This case may close since Brian has been outside St. Mugagga CCI for more than three years, he can now be left to continue living an independent life.
At least ARU-CCCU has supported 31 families for successful re-integration and some for independent living. Similarly, though some cases are supported, there are many more that received resettlement support such as chicks, cattle, goats among others. As Association of the Religious in Uganda (ARU) with the program Catholic Care for Children in Uganda, (CCCU) the team will be delighted with many more partners who have interest in seeing children enjoy a family or family-like environment with holistic development.
Families and family –like environment have been supported to enhance the resettlement of the needy. Mukisa’s grandmother was supported with 80 chicks and the project is progressing. The care giver has plans of expanding the project.