Past years of war, HIV/AIDS and crony capitalism have left many African nations in a state of considerable disrepair. Many millions of people struggle to eke out an existence that most in the West would describe as barely surviving. But let’s not just think about money and poverty and food. Think for a while about Ugandan society: the social structures and relationships that every Ugandan is a part of.
Families, villages, clans and tribes have been torn apart by war and HIV/AIDS. Often, children who have barely begun their schooling are suddenly full-time carers for younger siblings and for their grand-parents. And they are expected to do so with only the bare essentials of village life, and sometimes without even that.
Many of these children have lost their parents because of war, disease, violence and property grabs that have left them without an inheritance – many times without so much as the right to a small piece of land on which to live and build a house and grow food. Some are too young to know how to do these things.
Disability as we in the West know it is very often still viewed as a curse of the gods. Consequently, many with a disability are either abandoned, discarded and left to survive if they can on their own. Many are targeted as beings of little value, to be used as slave labour or as scapegoats for crime.
To this day, in some parts of Africa, rape is currency; and some soldiers are still using rape as an expression of military might and tribal superiority. As this continues, HIV/AIDS never goes away and continues to ravage many African communities. And rape continues to be viewed as shame on the women involved who most often find they are rejected by their husbands when they are raped.
Uganda is not immune to this plague and is caught up in the aftermath of the violence and disease.
FOWEPLAK recognises with great compassion and few resources the vast needs of Ugandan society; in particular, the region of Kiboga. During the 1980s, Kiboga was the epicentre of a war-ravaged region that claimed the lives of many men young people and was plunged into what became the African HIV/AIDS crisis.
FOWEPLAK is a registered and officially recognised Ugandan NGO/CBO – a community-run Foundation – that exists to alleviate suffering and to care for the various groups of people caught up in the destitution and destruction of their own society. They work for orphan and neglected/abused children; for widows for the elderly; and for people living with HIV/AIDS.