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.

Update On ACIO Progress


Many extreme reports of Mother Nature seem to be floating around, from all over the world.. hurricanes, earthquakes.. buckets and buckets of rain. Here, the days have been all rather consistent.. sunny, periods of rain, back to sunny.. but for me, I have been laying rather low in Mbale these days, feeling quite pummeled and somewhat ‘under the weather’ myself. Today, somewhere around noon, all of a sudden I realized I was feeling quite like myself once again, and just like that it’s all been good since!

I’ve a couple reports to share, the first that is quite brief, about our dear ACIO. As we speak, a certain pathway has just been cleared by villagers, that will make ferrying of the building materials for the dorms and admin/library we’re about to begin building, much easier.. and this path will remain dedicated always in support of the project! Wonderful!

ACIO Update

This photo was taken on the fun day that the 32 children in full time care at ACIO received their ‘new’ soccer uniforms, socks, running shoes and bags to carry their school books in.. with Toppy, and Vincent on either end of the back row.

As I begin this report, first and foremost, heartfelt thanks to everyone for kindness, prayers and beautiful supportive messages that were sent for Toppy, Vincent, their children, all the ACIO family, and me, over the very sudden, recent passing of their son, little Joshua Tim.

I would like you all to know that your Lovingkindness was so encouraging and inspiring for everyone. Also, to that end, I want to share that I compiled and gave a keepsake booklet to the family containing of all the beautiful email and facebook messages I received for them. Thank you everyone.


On Thursday, a week ago, Vincent and I met with Sab, the engineer who compiled a quote for us last fall to build two dorms and an admin office at the ACIO Child Care Center site in Mutufu. An increase in the cost of materials (balanced by an increase in the exchange rate for our dollar) has been adjusted to current local pricing.

We have funds on hand and allocated for the two dorms -18’ x 26’ each – as well as the admin/library office – 18×10 – estimated cost = 23M UGX (or approx $9,000 CDN). Each dorm will have 10 double decker beds in it, for a total of 40 children in full time care, some of whom will sleep together. There will also be one live in matron, per dorm.

We have already provided ACIO with 14 decker beds, so an additional 6 beds, plus mattresses, fitted sheets, blankets and mosquito nets will be required. Funds need to be raised for these items as well as the items that follow below, so, from here on down the list, items will be acquired on a priority basis, as is made possible.

Solar Power – An estimate of 4.1M UGX (approx $1800CDN) to add a solar power system at the site has been calculated. We still need to raise these funds, along with the ‘water collection/filtration and storage’ plans immediately below..

Water Collection, Filtration and Storage – A 2 in 1 water system is being be considered for implementation at the site and the engineer is costing it out for us right now. Easy collection of all roof rain water has been considered in the building design. A rain gutter system will lead to a collection tank. From here, water required for cooking/drinking will be filtered and channeled to one storage tank, while water for bathing and cleaning, including clothes washing, will be channeled, unfiltered, to another holding tank.

Latrines – Two pit latrines ‘blocks’ (one for boys, one for girls) with 3 stalls each (one stall reserved for adults only in each) as well as bathing stalls, have been costed at approximately $3000 for each block. Due to the type of soil in the area (recall that it was the pit latrines that collapsed at the former site due to excessive rain and the soil type) local requirements are to make the latrines permanent and very strong by lining the pits with concrete.

Fencing – We have requested the engineer to cost out two different types of fencing for around the perimeter of the site.. brick, which is common, and chain link.

Land Registration – The land title system is in the process of being streamlined in the country. We have just learned that a new office has opened here in Mbale with a Director, who I have met. He can approve registration, instead of the former requirement for the District, in this case, Sironko, to first approve, followed by the need to send the documents for further approval all the way to Entebbe. To this end, Vincent is in the process of picking up the documents that have been at District level for some weeks now, and will bring them to Mbale as soon as he has retrieved them. We will then visit the Director in Mbale for what we hope will be final approval and registration.

We’re very close to officially starting the building of this project! Sab, the engineer/builder says it looks like if all goes well, the children will already be a few weeks in their new dorms by Christmas!

Here’s a picture of Vincent I particularly like, that for me, captures his sweet heart.. this was literally on the day of his son’s burial, just before the ceremony was to begin. Vincent came around a corner and was surprised to find me there with this rather large following of children.. he just laughed to see me so surrounded!

So, this is what I’ve got for now on ACIO’s current progress.. except to say that I’m also busy developing a plan with Vincent to increase the number of classrooms (all temporary structures for now, with materials he rescued from the former land) so that he can welcome more neighborhood students at the ACIO school come Feb 2013. This expansion will help generate additional income to pay for the live-in matron’s, teachers, and food for the children living at the center, as we continue to move along ACIO’s path to self-sustainability.. more on this soon..

Thanks always everyone..

With Love, Cath xox

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