UGANDA: Homeless youth find hope for bright future
Don Bosco CALM rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates street children back into society
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries run Don Bosco Children and Life Mission (Don Bosco CALM), located in the town of Namugongo, just northeast of the city of Kampala, Uganda. The Salesian organization rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates street children back into society. Salesians meet basic needs and provide education, socio-cultural activities and recreation like sports programming to help youth have a bright future.
Don Bosco CALM works primarily with homeless boys and those who have been orphaned, battered, and neglected. They also work with other vulnerable youth and children, including those who are HIV/AIDS positive. Currently, the organization has 165 children in its care. All of the children are in school with some attending Don Bosco Primary School, Salesian secondary schools and vocational training institutes.
Peter is one of the youth at Don Bosco CALM. When he was only 9 months old, his mother placed him in the care of his grandmother and then disappeared from his life. At age 6, Peter lost his father. When none of his other family members could take care of him, he spent seven years on the streets.
Thanks to intervention by Peter’s aunt, he went to live at Don Bosco CALM, where he had trusting adults to provide support. One Salesian said, “As soon as he arrived, he received the care he needed and was enrolled in school. At school, he discovered the desire to study, obtained very good scores, and always stood out for his commitment and results. Today, Peter happily attends secondary school and gives everyone a smile, cheerfulness and his gratitude for this journey.”
Nearly 21% of the population in Uganda lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. This number rises to 33% for those living in the northern region where poverty is greatest. While the country has seen some economic growth as well as improvement in its U.N. Human Development Index ranking over the last 20 years, the country still ranks near the bottom at 166 out of 191 countries in 2022. After decades of war left many displaced, the people of Uganda face many significant challenges as they work to rebuild their country.
Uganda’s literacy rate has improved with 73% of the population literate, but only 23% of Ugandans go on to acquire a secondary education. According to UNICEF, one of the biggest challenges in the country is combating the serious increase of HIV/AIDS that has left millions of children orphaned.
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Salesian Missions – Uganda
World Bank – Uganda