Amatsiko is a registered community based organization (CBO) operating in South- Western Uganda, Kabale District, Kigezi region. The idea for the project was initially conceived in 2005 by Alex Atuheire, the project director, after he saw the detrimental effects that being orphaned or vulnerable had on the future of the community's children.
Our mission is to provide quality education and affordable health care and to ensure that the orphans and vulnerable children are given equal rights. We are helping to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children around the Lake Bunyonyi region. We believe that all children are born with potential; the potential to influence the future, the economy and to contribute something great to the world. However, children born in this area often don't have the opportunity to go into higher education due to poverty and a lack of guidance and motivation. The likelihood of children going on to reach their potential is further reduced when they are vulnerable or orphaned.
The children we help lack the resources they need; many have very poor living standards with limited access to food and adequate housing. In addition, the director identified a number of other problems that need to be addressed. These include: the growing number of children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS, an increased level of bad behaviour among orphans and vulnerable children due to lack of parental guidance and counselling, higher levels of school drop-outs caused by ignorance and poverty and the social stigma of being an orphaned or vulnerable child.
We have also identified the needs of disabled children in the community and aim to integrate these most vulnerable children into mainstream education and provide the specialised care they need.
Amatsiko has been established to help improve this situation. Our main objectives are:
- To help orphans and vulnerable children meet their basic needs in terms of nutrition and health care
- To teach these children and their families about basic hygiene and the importance of good sanitation.
- To emphasise the importance of educating orphans and vulnerable children at all levels
- To support these children through education
- To educate community members about the rights and needs of orphans and vulnerable children.
- To encourage the moral and spiritual development of these children
- To give guidance and counselling to orphans, vulnerable children and their families.
- To integrate children with disabilities into their wider communities and mainstream education, wherever possible
Children that have been registered with the project have already shown improvements in both their academic and personal lives. However this is just the beginning; our vision takes us much further. In the future we want to take a greater role in creating a better community. We want to see our children blossom spiritually, socially and economically and eventually be able to help improve their community in turn.
But what things do we do in order to achieve our goals?
Improving Living Standards
Amatsiko simply does not have the capacity to house the children that we help (and in some cases the children do not need to be re-housed). As we do not have a building designated for the purpose of housing the children, they live amongst the community under the care of identified, recognised and registered guardians. They are then supervised and monitored by our staff. We provide mattresses, beds and bedding as these simple items can dramatically improve the living conditions of the young people we support.
Improving general nutrition levels
Nearly all of Amatsiko’s beneficiaries are living in poverty, which typically manifests in malnutrition. Despite being very preventable, conditions including marasmus, Kwashiokor and stunted growth are prevalent amongst the children. Very few (if any) of the needy children that we help can afford to eat all three meals a day. Therefore we seek to provide additional food to ensure that these children do not suffer malnutrition. The provision of staple foods such as beans, posho, groundnuts, matooke (plantain), potatoes and basic vegetables like carrots can easily improve a child’s general wellbeing.
In addition to staple foods we provide seeds and hold workshops about efficient agriculture. Educating the community about effective farming methods is essential as in Kabale district where we are based 90% of the people derive their livelihood from agriculture. These livelihoods are currently threatened in rural areas and pre-urban area due to droughts and occasionally hailstorms and flooding. The effect of climate change could lead to a loss of income resulting in casualised employment and children dropping out of education and ending up on the streets.
Essentially we are aiming to provide the children and their families with the tools and knowledge to enable them to help themselves.
Sponsoring students’ education
We believe that education is the key to success and that education should be a right and not just a privilege. Sadly, in Uganda many children are simply not afforded the chance to get a quality education. Therefore we have developed a sponsorship programme that aims to provide children with an education that they otherwise would have been denied. You can find out more about our sponsorship programme here.
Providing basic health care
Diseases pose a significant threat to vulnerable children all over Africa. HIV/AIDS is one of the predominant causes of children becoming orphaned. Education and family planning can help the prevention and further spread of the disease. Similarly, the provision of mosquito nets can help prevent malaria, one of the biggest killers in sub-Saharan Africa.
A big thank you to all of the international volunteers who have been conducting life-saving preventative educational programmes and other health related workshops.
We guarantee that at least 85% of money donated to the project will be used to directly benefit the children that we support. The remaining 15% will be used for the running costs and overheads of the project. Read More
Amatsiko Preparatory School
The Amatsiko Preparatory School was established in 2013. During the community participatory conference and community mapping, the community opinion leaders, district stakeholders and Amatsiko organization; It was noted that the major causes of deaths, insecurity, thefts and other crime related activities in the area was by mainly the idle children.Read More