A two decade war destructed most of the healthcare centers in the area. Now the people and children of Igel, northern Uganda, must walk for a 100 kilometers if they want to reach a hospital. Whether they’re sick or have been hit in an accident, chances are the one ambulance that still operates in the area won’t come and get them. Igel alone has 50,000 residents. The single ambulance and single hospital serve more than 40 villages.
Moreover, a successful arrival at the hospital doesn’t guarantee a successful return home. Not only is the walk back and forth long, but the hospital is severely understaffed and suffers from lack of medical supplies, such as medicines.
Dirty Drinking Water, Malnutrition and Diseases
Dirty water and poor sanitation are responsible for 50% of the deaths in children under five in Igel village and the entire country ofUganda.
These children – and the adults around them – are constantly lacking for food. They suffer from Hepatitis B, Measles, Marasmus, Kwashiorkor, Hypernatremia, Hypokalemia, Anemia and Diarrhea – among other diseases.
Mosquitoes here don’t only turn your skin itchy – they bring on malaria. The village has no mosquito nests to protect its residents.
Breast Cancer Prevention
While breast cancer rates in Ugandaaren’t high, we felt that too many women are getting sick and dying aimlessly. We started a breast cancer awareness campaign and held workshops to teach women and girls what they can do to reduce the chances of getting sick, such as improving their nutrition.
We taught them the symptoms of the disease and the importance of early detection.
Our campaign was nationwide, and focused on Uganda’s rural areas.
Proactive Positivity Results in HIV Negativity
When we first founded MCSF in 2008, people in the area were having unprotected sex. A large number of residents found themselves and their children HIV positive. Since 2008, we’ve organized several workshops and raised awareness. We taught people the dangers that come with having unprotected sex and how they can prevent HIV.
We’ve supplied free blood tests for people to learn what their health situation is. We’ve supplied free condoms, so that people can protect themselves. In addition, we have promoted abstinence before marriage.
We’re already seeing results – HIV positive rates are dropping.
A New Healthcare Center Will Emerge
One of MCSF’s top priorities is to build a modern healthcare center. The first of its kind in the area, this center and its accompanying ambulance will serve not only Igel village – but the area as a whole.
This health facility will have professionally-trained staff, a laboratory, a maternity ward and a well-stocked pharmacy. It will tend to childbirths, accidents, illnesses and any other medical needs of the area’s residents.
Many people didn’t get the chance to learn during the war. Now they’re adults and many of them have families of their own. We want to give them a chance to learn practical skills, which can help them create their own jobs, their own businesses – and leave poverty behind.
The skills we will teach will be relevant to students’ daily lives. Among others, these skills include tailoring, carpentry, mechanical work, construction, welding and plumbing. The technical institution will be located in Igel, to enable parents to dedicate time to themselves despite the need to take care of their families. Walking6 kilometers per direction is simply not an option for most people who have children to care for and a household to run.
Once adult residents acquire the skills, some of them will surely move to the city, where they will have far greater chances to make a living. Others will undoubtedly stay in Igel and contribute to the local community. Either way, we will encourage them to become job creators, not job seekers, so that they can earn more, and not be financially exploited by employers like the children inKampala.
From the Streets of Kampala to the Schools of Igel
Once our modern school facilities are ready, we will find the kids who ran away to Kampala, Uganda’s capital, during the war. Most of these kids found themselves on the streets or exploited by employees. 70% of the girls found themselves in prostitution. We want to bring them back home, to Igel, and reunite them with their families if their families are still alive. If no relative was left alive, we will provide accommodation for them and make sure they go to school.
These children don’t have anyone in the world. We want to be there for them. We have already built a small orphanage for children who were born on the streets, and we want to expand it. Every child has a right to a safe rooftop and to proper education.