Last week I was on a bus from Jinja to Kampala City, Uganda and I met a girl named Renate Sluiseman from the Netherlands. She lives in Jinja and works with Arise and Shine Uganda, a community organization that helps orphans and disabled children. After talking with her for most of the ride I told her I would love to learn more about their organization and do some photography for them when I returned to Jinja the following weekend.
Arise and Shine Uganda has many projects underway simultaneously. Their projects and programs include Community Education and a Primary School in the Kibuye Village, Income Generating Projects in Jinja, A Children’s Care Home in Jinja and more. Together with their volunteers they do a number of activities and programs to better the lives of people and children in these communities. A week later I returned and went with Renate to photograph their Children’s Care Home in Jinja. The 28 children who are currently at the home are there because their situations led them to a vulnerable state due to lack of resources, care and education. Some of the children are orphans who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. Other children are there because they have mental and physical disabilities and their town or village doesn’t yet have the resources to care for them. The home is a place where children go and their life improves. Some of them are battling malnutrition, some of them are getting necessary care for their disabilities and all of them are living a better daily life. They are provided with education, care and love daily. For the children who do have parents and families the goal is to help them get healthy again and return them back to their families by the time they are ready to start primary school. The group makes great efforts to educate the parents and help them become better caregivers for their kids once they return home.
It was a rather calm afternoon when I visited the home and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of peacefulness. I was there to witness the routine activities such as feeding, bathing and nap time. For many of the children these simple acts of caregiving were absent in their lives before they reached the home. It was great to see the kids being cared for and loved.
Here is a collection of images from my time with them. I am hoping to spend a day in the village where they work next week. For more information you can visit Arise and Shine Uganda’s website and for other recent happenings you can visit their Facebook Page.