The story so far..
thank you for taking the time to read about our need. The truth is none of this can happen without your support and it's important to say this: since myself and a strong team have been involved since 2014 the place I am about to share with you has a different atmosphere and most importantly lives are being transformed.
Gulu Remand Home is a youth detention facility in the Gulu District of Northern Uganda. It houses children accused of crimes as they await trial in the ministry of justice. These children should spend between 6-12 weeks at the facility. It is also important to say these children aren’t social outcasts or criminals; most of them aren’t even guilty of their crime and are just simply awaiting their chance to prove that. They are hardworking with aspirations and goals just like the rest of Uganda’s youth.
Sounds a little trivial but on my first visit to the home in 2014 I noticed some broken windows (being a glazier by trade I would!) easily fixed but a closer look actually revealed we could be involved in much more than the ordinary.
After chatting with volunteers already working with the youth we decided to build a much-needed treatment room to create some privacy, (it's a mixed facility meaning the girls and boys had no privacy) to help with the prevention of spreading diseases and to create a healthier environment during their stay and of course ultimately leaving the facility healthy.
What we did...
In 2015 myself and a team of 8 men returned to do just that. From scratch, we built a self contained treatment room for our nurse friend Shirley, who volunteers there. (see image below)
Since that time,
Lives have been changed...
Lives have been saved...
Our Impact so far together.
The events that have transpired over the last couple of years could never have been planned.
I have returned every year since to be involved in other projects to enhance the facility but here's how the initial treatment room we built has impacted not just the youth in the remand home but the surrounding community.
The remand home health team has expanded and are amazing.
Nurses Emma and Shirley work with Walter to oversee health education and screening.
- Every new youth is screened for malnutrition, malaria, hepatitis B and HIV.
- Over 30 youth were positive for malaria that was immediately treated and cured.
- One had HIV diagnosed for the first time and was started on life-saving antiviral drugs.
- Dangerous outbreaks of bloody diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, and skin infections have been stopped with a combination of good treatment, education and public health measures.
- After 7 kids got bloody diarrhoea, Walter and Emma found that kids were hiding extra food in their rooms, then sharing it later without washing their hands. A hygiene nightmare! This was stopped, the kids were treated and there were no more cases.
The Church of Uganda decided to open it up to the community ....
The struggle faced...
Unfortunately, it wasn’t working with the community. It's understandable that many people didn’t want to enter through prison gates. People would rather go to drug shops, which were easy to access but expensive and low quality. Others weren’t aware of the service in the sprawling peri-urban area. Some gave up after they couldn’t find the health centre. The few Community who did come loved Walter, the fair price, and quality treatment, but despite Walter’s amazing work with the youth, it became hard to justify a full-time nurse for only 40 youth with only a few community patients.
But hope wasn’t lost...
The team decided to step out in faith and make one last push with the community. They went to market days with free HIV screening and health education. Trusted community leaders reached 200 houses with the services we offered. There was a three-month deadline. If the team couldn’t double the patient turn-up, the place would have to close.
Their community push worked better than expected.
- In the last 3 months, the number of community patients has more than doubled.
- In March 2018, April and May there have been 170, 180, and 190 community patients respectively, in addition to 40 to 100 monthly consultations with the remand home kids.
- The money coming in from the community sustains the nurse and pays for the drugs needed for the community.
- In the meantime, the number of youth in the remand home has doubled to 80 and they are now 2 to a bed, so it is crucial for them that the facility and health team remains.
Hope for the future has become a reality
So whats next? Here's where you can help...
We, (you, me and our build team) will take that hope in November 2018 and build an additional medical room along with access to the facility from the main road meaning the locals will no longer have to walk through the prison gates for their appointment.
Some of these young kids in the youth remand home end up staying well over a year and many are found innocent after already serving months in a poorly kept, poorly fed institution. Our mission and Walters mission is to promote good health for these vulnerable youth and we have great hopes for this expansion of service.
Alongside our crowd funding we work hard behind the scenes to raise finance to help in so many other ways. Some of our other success include building a playground in a children's cancer home, working with the vulnerable street kids in Ugandas capital, Kampala and helping with educational funding.
All our trips are self funded which means every penny you give goes directly to the projects we are funding.
I have realised whether it's a little or a lot you sacrifice to pledge to our projects we can make an impacting difference to so many people lives.
We would like to empower you to change lives too which is why we have designed some rewards we think you will enjoy as you pledge.
For more information about this or if you would like to be considered for one of our build trips please email firstname.lastname@example.org