a). Community and Social support
In 2022, ROM offered social support to clients and their families to ensure they do not miss clinic appointments, adhere to their medicine and have stable families. Targeted visits were organized for clients under PMTCT, missed appointments, poor adherence, high viral load, newly enrolled into care, the very sick, and those with TB. Routine visits were also conducted among discordant
couples and also to remind clients about their clinic appointments. For stable clients, periodic visits were made.
home visits were conducted in 2022
were targeted visits
were routine visits
FIGURE: ROM staff during a home visit to one of the stable clients at Acholi Quarters, Nakawa division.
b). Orphans and Vulnerable children (OVC)
ROM actively supported 240 children, who directly or indirectly suffered diverse effects of HIV, to improve their access to health services, education, economic empowerment, and psychological support among children in school to remain in school and adolescents. Majority of them were left helpless orphans and others rendered vulnerable because their parents or caretakers cannot afford to provide for them.
With ROM’s support, Isaac excelled in Primary Leaving Examinations.
“My name is Isaac Opio. By the grace of God and support from Reach Out Mbuya, I scored aggregate (Division 1) in the 2022 Primary Leaving Examinations. I am so grateful to ROM and will forever thank them for paying my school fees at St. Matia Mulumba Catholic Parish Primary School since primary one, as well as providing me with scholastic materials such as books, pens, sets, uniforms, shoes and school bags. I cannot forget my sponsors- Friends of Reach Out Mbuya who send the money,
for the Lord will bless them abundantly. When I joined ROM in 2015, I was staying with my aunt-Ms. Phiona Ajok, a single mother who had accepted me and my four siblings after the death of our parents. That time, I had never entered a classroom because the time I was supposed to, my parents were very sick and as the eldest child, I had to take care of them.
I feel so happy that I performed well and never disappointed ROM. I hope to continue with school to have a bright future. My dream is to be a pediatrician so that I can help sick children, especially those at school. Although I faced some challenges while at school, I thank my teachers for continuously encouraging me. And to my aunt, -You will forever be in my heart. My message to the children who go through the same is to trust God, pray, work hard and always ask your teachers for guidance.” Isaac narrated. Today, Isaac attends St. John Paul 11 College, Gulu, through a half bursary arrangement that ROM is contributing to.
A young man’s story of success in Agribusiness
“I am Ekinu Bildard, and I am 24 years old. I sat my senior four at Alwa Senior Secondary School, in Kaberamaido district, but could not continue with my studies due to lack of school fees. Luckily, I got support from ROM and I was able to join Companionship of Works Association (COWA) at Kireka in 2021 in agribusiness. I started with Level 2 because I had passed ‘O’ level exams. What inspired me to do agribusiness was the fact that with it, even if you are not employed, but you have the skills and some space or land, it is possible to do something that can generate an income. Although there is no space where I stay, I hope to get somewhere to practice what I have been learning.
After training, I plan to start growing high value crops like cabbage, egg plants, sukuma wiki, and leafy onions because they are marketable as people eat them every day and management is very easy. I have liked agribusiness because after planting, you only wait for the time to spray, then harvest. I hope to share this knowledge with others, especially young people so that they can do something for themselves. I am grateful to my tutors who have trained me how to care for the crops right from the nursery to harvesting and selling. I also encourage them to continue training other people who are interested. Surely, hadn’t ROM given me this opportunity,
life would have been very hard. May they continue with the same spirit, changing lives for as many as possible.”
Bildard Ekinu, one of the OVCs supported at COWA Kireka tending to his vegetables at Mukono District Headquarters where he was contracted to set up a vegetable garden.
Akidi and Akello are now laboratory technicians, courtesy of ROM
Akidi Flora and Akello Florence are age-mates with similar humble backgrounds. Their life stories were changed by ROM through the Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s school support program. For young Akidi, life was not easy as her mother struggled to find funds to enroll her into school, until when ROM with support from SIDECOLE, registered her for primary one at Uganda Youth Aid Primary
school in Nakawa division until completion of senior four at St. Mary’s Bombo Namaliga. Likewise, when Florence was in primary four, her mother was stranded and had lost hope of her child ever continuing with school. In 2012, ROM came to her rescue and started
paying her child’s fees from primary three until when she completed senior four at Luzira Senior Secondary School. With ROM’s support in 2021, Akidi and Akello enrolled for a two-year Certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology at Lubaga Hospital Training
School, which they completed in 2022.
Akidi and Akello in class at Lubaga Hospital Training School, and with their tutors outside the classroom
Currently, both are working as Laboratory Assistants at ROM-Banda and Kinawataka sites respectively. Flora and Florence are so proud of ROM and their sponsor-SIDECOLE. “I thank SIDECOLE for all they have done for me” Florence said. Flora is also
appreciative of the funders. She said, “I want to thank SIDECOLE so much for without them, I wouldn’t be here. I humbly request them to continue with this kindness and help vulnerable children to achieve their dreams.” In future, Flora wants to be a neurologist while
Florence aspires to be on of the best researchers Uganda has ever had.
Akidi and Akello in the laboratory at Mbuya, being guided on how to use an automated chemistry analyzer. The machine is used for assessing patients’ samples for liver, kidney, cardiac and cholesterol levels.
c). Friends’ Forum
Children in an activity during a Friends’ Forum camp in 2022
This is a group of young people living with HIV and accessing HIV care, treatment and support at ROM. Every month, they meet to share experience and in return, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs are met. A number of activities such as life skills are emphasized to help build their self-esteem and adhere to treatment.
Young PLHIV are supported by ROM
d). Psychosocial Support for children
Teenage and adolescent supporters with children at the play center at Mbuya.
Play therapy is an important aspect in identifying challenges faced by children at home, school or community. At the play center, children are involved in a number of activities such as writing, drawing, shading, toys and watching selected movies, which in return help children to express themselves. ROM supported over 319 children at the play centers; Mbuya, Kinawataka and Banda.
Through this approach, teenage and adolescent supporters are able to understand individual children’s lives and how they are affected by different forms of violence in their households and communities
e). Economic strengthening
ROM provides second chance informal vocational skills complemented with; practical entrepreneurship, financial literacy and life/
soft skills training for productive livelihoods, assistance to organized groups of people, more so in communities of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Beneficiaries comprise of mainly young mothers and adolescents out of school that are given a chance to identify and unleash their potential as a strategy of cutting entrenched vicious poverty cycle their households are entrenched in.
ROM friends from Wisconsin University on a learning visit buy crafts from 22 Stars-one of the Village Savings and Loans Association.
f). Skills development for young mothers
Meet Brivian Mubikira whose childhood tailoring dream was realized at Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiative.
ROM’s apprenticeship course changed my life forever
“My name is Brivian Mubikira, I am 24 years old. I joined reach Out Mbuya in September 2018 when I was stranded and could not continue with formal school join school for Advanced. That time, even survival was a problem because I depended on my parents for everything After six months, I had learnt to do all sorts of design including dresses, trousers, uniforms and children dresses among others. I would finish up all the work that other students would abandon for being hard. This made the instructors like me so much that they would even trust me with expensive fabric. Having been the best student during my year, I was awarded with a brand-new sewing machine, thanks to Rotary Club of Kampala West. On my graduation day, I offered a job at Roses of Mbuya Shop as a sales person, which reduced my worries. With this machine, life has become so easy, because I earn a daily income from clients and the least I can get is about UGX15000 as profits. I also get contracts from big institutions. For example, I supply Uniforms to St.Kizito Primary School Bugolobi, St. Matiya Mulumba and Uganda Youths. I thank Reach Out Mbuya and Rotary Club of Kampala West for opening my eyes to think beyond being a mare tailor. I can now make money anywhere. ROM added value unto me. Even my husband likes me because I contribute to our family’s income. My mother is also very happy about
my current status. Sometimes I even send to her money to meet her needs. I the next five years, I hope to be one of the world’s finest fashion designers. To achieve this, I am currently searching for a business-friendly location where I can set up a workshop and later expand it into a training and bridal center to help other girls
Brivian sewing a dress for her customers