About ABC Children’s Aid ABC Children´s Aid was founded as a Christian organization in 1990 as Uganda Australia Foundation (UAF) and registered as an NGO in the same year but changed its name in 2007 to ABC Children´s Aid to fit more appropriately to the work being done. Our main aim is to help, train and educate young people in ways which will lead them to be employable and self reliant. Children and youth belong to families so when education is provided the whole family benefits. There is no greater need in Uganda then to educate its children. Many see it as the only way to truly alleviate poverty and lead to meaningful and gainful employment. Even if one member of the family is educated that member in return helps to take other on to the path of education. There are many nations in Europe who only as recently as a hundred years ago were still in poverty. Iceland is one such example and by the testimony of its own people it was through education that the nation was built and was one of the most prosperous in Europe until recently.
ABC Children’s Aid – Uganda /UAF was founded by Francis and Trudy Odida. Trudy arrived from Australia in Uganda early in 1987 where she commenced television program, Children´s Bible Time in September 1988 until 1992. After Francis and Trudy married in 1989 they continued the program together and went on to conducting Prayer Breakfasts for the leaders of Uganda for three years. They felt the burden of education, especially for children orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS which at that time was at its peak.
They started with humble beginnings in Kitetika, a village approximately 8 km from the city centre of Kampala. A kindergarten was built which was soon filled and expanded into a primary school with the help of NGOs in Australia and Iceland and later a secondary college. The college was built to cater for the graduates from the primary school who were either not able to access quality secondary education or remained at home not able to continue with further studies.
Within a short time they became more and more aware of the need to help the children in Northern Uganda who were being orphaned as a result of the “Lord´s Resistant Rebellion Army”. In 1993 they were the only NGO working in the villages of Kitgum district (now Pader district). There they built eight schools in various villages for the Ugandan Government, assisted by an NGO from the Netherlands. Much relief aid in form of food for work was given to the war torn area provided by a Canadian NGO. Approximately about 30 containers of clothing, milk powder and other household items were distributed over a period of eight years. This enabled our team to supervise with the help of the community to cultivate over a hundred acres of food crops which were later distributed to households in need. This work was an amazing adventure in the midst of the insurgency and this was done before all the people of Northern Uganda were ordered by government to Internally Displaced People´s Camps (IDPCs).
The living conditions in the IDPCs were dismal. Households lost their main sources of livelihood: farming and cattle-rearing. Over the years an appalling poverty prevailed. And with it came many social ills, including a breakdown of traditional family and social ties, illness, child abuse, drunkenness, dependency on food aid from WHO. ABC Children´s Aid was strategically placed adjoining the Rackoko IDPCs and became responsible for education and health care for literally 18,000 families. This was an impossible task but they joined hands with other NGOs and amazing results were achieved.
Towards the end of the war in 2007 a new project “Mother Child Alive” was developed to assist returnee young girls with their babies and children. Many who at the age of between 8 and 12 had been captured and made sex slaves during the war. This work continued for approximately five years and assisted over 400 young mothers with various levels of life skills training and some were able to be integrated into the formal education centre. Read some of their stories here
With the help of friends they were able to construct and install an fm radio “Radio Palwak”, meaning radio for the community. Through the medium of radio many communities, families and children were and still are educated in the areas of children´s rights and protection. Peace building, conflict resolution and reconciliation programs were aired to assist the Internally Displaced People to return to their homesteads in various villages. Currently emphasis is placed on educating the youth about their culture and cultural values, many of which were lost during the time of the protracted war and the IDPCs.
Programs were and are also aired to educate the communities regarding the HIV/AIDS scourge with the emphasis being on prevention. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is rive among the population in Northern Uganda, partly due to the war and made worse through camp living and the loss of cultural norms and values among the youth.
To assist our school communities to become more self reliant the organization has embarked on a School Farm Project. The cost of food in Uganda has more than trebled over the last few years making it prohibitive for the schools to provide a healthy school meal for all students. The food production is in its early stages and unfortunately with green house effects which have lead to drastic weather changes and unpredictable rain patterns the crops are not always productive. The farm hopes to interest well wishers to contribute towards irrigation to make the farm productive enterprise.