Empowering HIV/AIDS orphaned children in Africa to a self sustainable future

Catherine Koch

Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.

Introducing CCDO


CCDO Visit Recap –

On Sunday, Oct 14, 2012, Bonny Mark (one of LITA’s Ugandan agents) and I visited ‘CCDO – Community Child Development Orphanage’. Bonny has represented LITA on two previous visits to CCDO, to help qualify the group for LITA’s consideration.

We waited for the public taxi to fill with people in Mbale for an hour and then rode from there to the village for another hour. We traveled the same dirt road I had been on with the Bee World Project group to Budadiri (Sironko bee keepers) just days before, only not quite as far. The location of the CCDO project is 4K before Budadiri trading center in a sub county called Buyobo.

A group of CCDO orphaned children waiting at the entry as we came out from a rental home the org has right now where they house 11 boys who need care..

Dan, the director, who founded CCDO in 2005, was present to greet and host us along with his Dad, Richard, who is CCDO’s Secretary, and Lawrence, a community member who supports CCDO with food for the children. The three guided us around during the afternoon to various sites where the 100 orphaned children under the care umbrella of the community based organization (CBO) are living, or will live in the future. CCDO is registered in the District of Sironko as a CBO, has a Board of 5 Directors, and is governed by a Constitution. Financial records are

available detailing income/expenses. CCDO appears to be very well organized and managed. It is a community initiated, self-directed project and looks to be, after short term start up and improvement capital needs for infrastructure, etc, a self-sustainable project in the long run.

Where 12 Orphaned Girls Live

First we visited a home that Dan’s father has donated to CCDO to use rent free, where 12 orphaned girls live. 8 of the girls sleep 2 to a bed in one room, 4 younger girls sleep in a separate room with a matron. The matron lives on site, is paid 150,000UGX ($65) per month by CCDO, and does all the cooking,

cleaning, and immediate care giving of the children. (The oldest girl staying at the house, Safula, has asked for assistance to start her own business, a photography business, to earn some income. See the end of this posting for more info..)

Where 11 Orphaned Boys Live

CCDO has rented a home for 300,000 UGX ($130) per month some distance away from where the girls stay, where 11 boys live, also with a live-in matron who is being paid 125,000UGX ($50) per month, with the same responsibilities as mentioned above.

Orphaned Children Integrated In Home Based Care

As part of CCDO’s strategy to be looking for ways/places to return or place orphaned children back into the community, CCDO has 17 of their orphaned children “integrated’ in home based care with caregivers, in 5 different families/locations. We visited 4 of the 5 families. While the original family providing home based care has been doing so for 3 years, the additional 4 families have joined the program within the past year or so. This part of CCDO’s model is still developing, and it could be anticipated that more families may step forward to provide home based care for orphaned children in the future, if they see by example through the current caregivers that some kind of support from CCDO is available for them.

Family 1 – Rose, a widowed grandmother, has 8 orphaned children living with her in her home.. 3 in their teens, 5 are young, of which one is yet an infant.

She faces problems providing scholastic materials and needs beds/bedding for the children. She would also like assistance creating an income generating activity (IGA)

and feels poultry would be best. If provided, say, 20 hens, and 2 roosters, the eggs would help feed the children, and she could sell excess at a stall she already operates alongside the roadway where she sells bananas. She has a suitable shelter for the hens. Her home is solid, made of bricks and was very clean and tidy.

Family 2 – Sylvia is a wife and mother of two children who has also taken in 2 orphaned children. Here we met Michael who is 3, and his brother, Christopher 5. We had received this picture of Michael sleeping outside the home from an earlier visit Bonny made to the property. The photo evoked quite a reaction on our Facebook page. To me and others, he looked like a little angel laying there, his wings tucked around him..

Sylvia’s husband works turning large rocks from the quarry into gravel pieces. Their mud/ stick home is in ruins and she has requested help to build a new home (out of locally made bricks), as well as scholastic materials and beds/bedding for the children.

Family 3 – Juliet, a mother of two, is a recent widow.. her husband passed just two months after their youngest child was born. Her and her husband had also taken in 4 orphaned children who continue to live with her. She has a

home-based business selling paraffin. CCDO has provided her with seeds for agriculture.

Currently living in a mud/stick home that requires much improvement, she needs help to build a new secure home out of locally made bricks, and also asks for beds/bedding for the children.

She is interested in expanding her home-based business to sell additional items and increase her income.

Family 4 – Elizabeth, a widowed grandmother coming to 70 years old, has two of her orphaned grandsons living with her.

CCDO has helped this family to begin a piggery by supplying them with 1 pregnant pig. It is expecting the sow will deliver offspring very soon, perhaps even during October 2012. Grandmother will sell some/most of the offspring when they come of age, (the number of which is not know but could be between 10 to 15 piglets) and then repeat the process, as an income generating activity.

Grandmother and her grandsons live in a fairly secure home, in need of some general repairs. She asks for beds/bedding and extra clothing for the boys.

Family 5 – (I have not visited this family yet) Here, I am told there is a husband, Jimmy, and his wife, who have 4 biological children. This is the original CCDO family who have been providing home based care to 1 orphaned child for 3 years now. CCDO provided them with a heifer when they took in the child. The heifer has produced 2 offspring in the time since.. the first was sold as an income generating activity, and now a 2’nd has been produced and will be sold when it comes of age. Of course, the heifer has also being providing milk for the family. I understand they have no pressing needs or requests from CCDO at this time.

CCDO School

CCDO has been operating a school for the past 2 years that has 600 children enrolled in classes from K to Primary 5. Most of the orphaned children in CCDO’s care attend this school as well as neighborhood children who each pay:

1) 5000 UGX, ($2+) plus

2) 2000 UGX, ($1)

per term, covering:

1) a school fee (which pays
the teachers and some of CCDO’s expenses) and

2) a fee for a hot lunch daily.

CCDO has been renting the land upon which they and the landlord collaborated to build temporary classrooms. The surrounding properties have now built family homes and the landlord would like to end the tenancy and have the school move to a new location. CCDO will be allowed to finish the current school year, (school year ends Nov 2012) but cannot begin a new school year at the same location (school year begins Feb 2013).

CCDO has two pieces of land that have been donated and are currently in Pinal stages of being surveyed and registered in the CBO’s name. It is the CBO’s plan to build their school Pirst, and then dorms for the children who require full time care, on one of the parcels of land, and grow crops that will feed the children in care, on the other.

CCDO’s New School Plan

CCDO has a u-shape design in mind for their school, with a central playground, and they would like to expand classes to incorporate P6 in 2013 and P7 in 2014 bringing it to a complete primary school, offering schooling in all grades, by 2014. Presently CCDO owns 28 desks, the rest at the existing school are permanently built from the ground and owned by the landlord. Blackboards, teacher’s desks and an additional 168 desks (each sits several students) will be needed for the new school. We, at LITA, would like to see an area set aside for a library as well, perhaps in the admin office to start. Solar power and water storage will be required at the site (water is currently piped to the site).


It is thought, to begin, 1 set of girl’s and 1 set of boy’s permanent, concrete walled latrines will be built on the land between the school and the dorms, accessed by all the children on both sites. Each will have 3 pit latrine stalls, reserving one stall in both the girl’s and boy’s for adults only. There will also be 3 bathing stalls housed in each of the buildings.

Future Dorms..

The dorms will be on the adjacent land beside the school and house the 23 children currently in full time care mentioned above, as well as 60 orphaned children presently living with “well wishers” in the community who are providing short term accommodation for the children while CCDO organizes the building of the dorms. So, two dorms are required to house approximately 80 (83) children.

Each dorm will be approximately 18’ x 52’ to accommodate 20 decker beds. (40 decker beds = 80+ children, plus onsite matrons, as some of the younger kids are most comfortable to double up to sleep).

CCDO’s Current Income Generating Activities – IGA’s

In addition to the school, CCDO’s major IGA, they also pursue a variety of other IGA’s on the road to self-sustainability, that supplement the net income derived from the school and help cover expenses..

1) selling avocados and bananas from CCDO’s crops;

2) art works sales – Dan, CCDO’s founder is an artist who makes and also teaches the children how to make: season greeting cards, paintings on cotton cloth and bark cloth, molds using clay soil, wood carvings, sandles using recycled car tires, bracelets and necklaces and earrings using paper beads, hand bags out of banana Piber and palm tree leaves, mats out of banana fiber and palm tree leaves.. he also purchases crafts wholesale and re-sells them in a retail location in Mbale. Various artist friends also sell some CCDO items amongst their own items for sale when they travel to craft fairs, to Kampala, etc;

3) a campsite – for mzungus, in buhugu; nearby falls, caves, snake river valley, rocks, small forest on top – Mount Elgon is not far and trekkers are sometimes in the neighborhood;

4)  potted coffee and tree plants for sale;

5)  CCDO currently has one sewing machine on hand – LITA has suggested and offered to sponsor, beginning immediately, a pads project for 10 orphaned teen girls who are in desperate need of feminine hygiene supplies. Please see our website ‘Pads for Girls” Project page to become familiar with the project model. Eventually, production of “pad kits” could become an IGA for CCDO;

CCDO’s Transition Plans

(Pictured here with Sara, one of the children’s matrons, Lawrence, Dan and his Dad, Richard)

CCDO focuses on plans to help young orphan teens to transition into young adults which include:

1) exposure.. to religious values; 2) education.. for both teen girls and boys about HIV/AIDS, reproduction; 3) training.. during holidays, in handicrafts to create artwork for sale; 4) farming.. learning to plant, grow, weed, harvest crops; 5) tailoring.. currently CCDO has one sewing machine but no formal tailoring component. If we implement the pads project, that will change;

Community Involvement

In addition to the caregiver families providing home based care for 17 children, and the “well wishers” providing temporary care for 60 children, various supporters in the community donate food for the CCDO children.

Additional Orphaned Children In The Community

There are 30 additional people who have inquired with CCDO if orphaned children living with them could access CCDO support, but CCDO is holding their number at 100 children under their care umbrella, and have no plans at present to increase this number.

Safula’s Business Plan

Safula is the oldest orphaned girl currently living at CCDO’s girl’s home. Her 3 siblings live there as well. Safula is 15 yrs old, in Senior 2 (Gr 9) USE – Universal Secondary Education – (free schooling) and she would like to become a Doctor. She was first in her division at school for first term this year. All her books were stolen during 2’nd term and she dropped to 11th as a result. She is sitting her 3’rd term final exams soon. She has experience with taking pictures and has asked for support to start her own photography business. We are very excited to support Safula. Unlike the absolute majority of students I have met who seem to have learned that their school fees and future rest in someone else’s hands, she has courageously come forward asking for assistance to start her own business, alongside her studies. As for her choice of business, it is common that people want photos taken of themselves here, and usually 2 4×6 copies are provided. Below is the business plan she produced at my request (with a little of Dan’s help). LITA would like to support Safula with one of the used digital cameras that was donated, along with a sturdy and secure backpack to carry and keep her books, camera, etc, in.


1) Support For 4 Families With Orphaned Children In Home Based Care:

a) Rose’s family – beds/bedding; scholastic materials; 20 hens, 2 roosters for IGA

b) Sylvia’s family – beds/bedding, scholastic materials; a home made of bricks
c) Juliet’s family – beds/bedding; a home made of bricks; expansion of IGA
d) Elizabeth’s family – beds/bedding; clothing; minor home repairs

2) CCDO’s New Primary School:

a) construction of 10 room (11, if we add a library) school, built with local bricks; b) latrines; c) solar power; d) holding tank for water; e) blackboards, teacher’s desks and chairs for 8 classrooms; f) 168 locally made desks; g) furniture for staff room and admin office; h) shelves/books for library

3) CCDO’s New Dorms To House 80 Orphaned Children

a) the construction of two 18’ wide x 52’ long dorms, built with local bricks; b) 40 decker beds; c) 80 mattresses; d) 80 fitted sheets; e) 80 blankets; f) 80 mosquito nets

4) Immediate Support

a) provide two sewing machines to begin ‘Pads For Girls’ project.
b) provide salary for a local tailoring teacher to facilitate the sewing course

c) provide fabric to make feminine pads and liners
d) provide Safula a camera and backpack

Current costs and estimates on all items and improvements are being gathered now and will be all organized in our soon to be shared “LITA’s Empowering Gift Ideas ~ 2012” type catalogue.. thanks so much for your interest and concern, for being here. It’s so inspiring for me to be on the ground in Uganda, knowing that others at home and around the world are reading along, sharing and caring, and with us all in heart, in spirit. Be Blessed.

Love Love, Cath

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