PADA – UGANDA

PADA – UGANDA (Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse)

Resettlement of street children

 

The joy of family re-union: Ivan re-unites with his mother and sisters. Extreme right: Mrs. Ocama Akellot Josephine bidding farewell to Ivan 

 

Background

PADA-UGANDA is Non-Governmental Organization aimed at preventing and mitigating Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and HIV/AIDS among Youth populations in Uganda. It was formed in May 2008 by indigenous Ugandan graduates of Community Psychology Maker ere University. The formation of PADA-UGANDA was ignited by the visits to the department of Alcohol and Drugs of the National Mental Health Referral Hospital (Butabika) where a number of youth were admitted, most of who were due to alcohol and drug abuse. In Ugandan prisons (Kigo and Kirinya) many young people were incarcerated due to drug/alcohol related crimes. In addition, some secondary school students were brought to the department of psychology by parents seeking help for counseling due to drug related problems. It was realized that all these problems would lead to a number of health and social problems including acquiring HIV/AIDS. Later specialized medical personnel joined PADA-UGANDA and are spearheading the prevention and mitigation of HIV/AIDS. The first registration was obtained in January 30th, 2009 and has been renewed for three years. The mission of PADA-Uganda is empowering the youth with skills and knowledge to resist and fight Alcohol / Drug abuse and HIV/AIDS through Information, Education and Communication, Psychosocial Support, Advocacy and Research for Social change.

 

Main Objective

The main operational objectives are to create awareness on the dangers of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS, identify victims and provide psychosocial support, carry out advocacy and research for social change and has the following values Integrity, professionalism and respect for human dignity, Promoting social equality, justice and freedom, resettling street children, Ensuring confidentiality of all information, Use of participatory methodologies in all our activities, Observing mutual trust, respect and honesty with those we work with and transparency and accountability. Since its inception, PADA-Uganda has been providing prevention/awareness, counseling services and involving youth in the fight against drug, alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS to youth at school, street children and communities. PADA-Uganda has worked in close collaboration with MoGLSD, Mulago catholic parish, and other NGOs.  It is hoped that the services will slowly and eventually cover most parts of the Country.

 

Specific Objectives

  • To resettle street children and equip them with life survival skills for self reliance
  • To identify and trace families of Kampala street children who are willing to get reunited with their families
  • To provide scholastic materials for the identified street children who will be admitted to UPE primary and vocational schools for 1 term while waiting to be reunited with their families
  • To provide Peer Support Groups to sensitize other children on the streets  

 Activities

After over 3 years of operation and continuous research, we have realized that most of the youth involved in alcohol and drug abuse start these vices at an early stage; this prompted us to deal with children especially street children who do not only lack parental love, care and guidance to mold their morals. We believe that by helping these children we are not only helping their families, communities or today’s generation but also saving tomorrow generation from thugs, murderers, robbers, pick pockets, peace distracters, rapists among since that is what most street children turn into because they are propelled by pressing demand to satisfy basic needs like food, clothing, sex and shelter among others.

 

Achievements:

  • The number of children seeking and accessing counseling has increased from 50 to 71
  • The street children are voluntarily seeking services
  • Counseling offered has fostered disclosure of substance abuse status as well as knowing HIV status
  • 2 street children returned home and are now at school
  • More parents and communities have been sensitized and now seek counseling voluntarily
  • 265 people now know their HIV status

some children being provided with basic needs at PADA-Uganda

 

Challenges

Over 3000 children are on the streets of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, most of whom are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS but there are also some who left home due to curiosity and are glad to be reunited with their parents. While on the streets, the children are involved in various activities including substances abuse, pick-pocketing, sex trade and are also affected by sexual harassment and molestations. They face very harsh environmental conditions.

Although we have been able to get a few of these children reunited with their families, there are a number that we could not manage to resettle due to financial constraints on our part. During our previous experiences these children have expressed various interests, majority of whom would like to get back to school (as is seen in the pie-chart below).  

 

 

 

 

The arrangements for these children to get reunited takes close to 3 months by the time they actually join the families. We plan to get these children to school as these arrangements are being made. In order to do this we need funding. Inadequate facilitation has limited family tracing , Poor directions given by the children has affected the number of children rejoining their families, Inadequate  facilitation for the field  and community officers  has limited the catchment area and follow up of the clients is still a big challenge especially the street children who return to the street after counseling sessions.

Others
  •  Lack of HIV and drug test kits jeopardizes the continuity of testing within the centre
  • Inadequate facilitation has limited family tracing
  • Poor directions given by the children has affected the number of children rejoining their families
  • Inadequate  facilitation for the field  and community officers  has limited the catchment area
  • Follow up of the clients is still a big challenge especially the street children who return to the street after counseling sessions
  • Inadequate funding for the advocacy programs

 

Recommendations

  • There is need to introduce family therapy
  • To continue both group and individual counseling
  • To engage probation officer in family tracing
  • To lobby or purchase drug HIV test kits

some children being provided with basic needs at PADA-Uganda

 

 

Future Benefits

We expect street children of ages 7-18 years old, both male and female who have gone through several stages of psychosocial counseling to appreciate that streets should not be considered homes, have attained behavior change practices like stopping the abuse of drugs, have successfully been equipped with survival skills in order for them to live meaningful lives, have expressed the need to go back to school, and have expressed the need to be re-united with their families. The other beneficiaries are the parents of the children that will be resettled by regaining their children back since some even think that these kids are no longer alive.

Indirectly, the society in the current and near future will benefit. It is factual that most if these children have to survive through illegal means like stealing and pick pocketing which some of them are engaged in and unless they are helped by projects like this one to equip them with life survival skills and how survive while acting lawfully then they end up being a problem to society.

We expect to have re-united and resettled some of the street children in Kampala who have the particulars of either their home addresses or at least any of their relatives thus there will reduction on the number of children living in the streets of Kampala.

Furthermore, sensitization of parents or guardians about how to take care of these children who have living in a harsh environment on street with completely no guidance. And to specifically teach these guardians about the dangers, effects of child violence, abuse and in relation to their responsibility and the law.

On the other hand we also expect to improve the welfare of these other children who do not have the particulars of their homes and cannot be resettled. Improving welfare includes many aspects among which is feeding them during the sessions of learning this is very important in a way that these children are not certain about even one meal a day so ascertaining their meals  will not only be of benefit to their physical lives but also their psychological lives hence improving their general welfare.

The families of children will be re-united with their children some of whom had lost hope in seeing their children again or thought that they were already dead. This will restore peace and happiness in families.

Through research and continued interviews with the children, most children have shown interest in going back to school consequently we expect that beneficiaries PADA will go back to school once they are re-united with their families. The target group being the future hope of the nation, coupled with education, we expect to attain authentic future leaders and intellectuals of this country.

We also expect that by training these children to be self reliant, they will be useful and helpful in their families and communities hence there will be peace, unity, prosperity and development.

We also expect that by there will be a significantly reduced number of children joining the streets from the beneficiary communities because of the education and sensitization done

We expect that Parents, guardian and the beneficiary communities will be responsible for the whole well being of their children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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