Resettling Boy Child from Children’s Home in Uganda Challenging, Catholic Nun Recounts

The process of transitioning the boy child from children’s home to family life in the East African nation of Uganda is still a big challenge, a Catholic Sister has said.

In a Monday, November 2 report, Sr. Lilly Driciru highlights the challenge of resettling boys who have been living in children’s homes compared to their female counterparts.

“The transitional alternatives or de-institutionalization favors the girl child who is often preferred, thus leaving out the boy child who then stays longer in the institutions,” Sr. Lilly says, making reference to a field assessment conducted by Uganda’s Catholic Care for Children (CCCU).

In the report published on the website of Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), Sr. Lilly who is a member of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church (MSMMC) explains, “As the boy child outgrows the institution age limit of 18+ years, he requires sustainable support for his care and independent living which turns out to be a ‘mystery’ to them, hence sending them to streets to seek support.”

The initiative to resettle the boychild is in response to the call to have Child Care Institutions (CCIs) reserved for emergencies rather than lifelong inhabitations.


“Global trends are inviting and appealing to all child care institutions to embrace child reunification or placement in different family or community-based care alternatives, leaving child care institutions (CCIs) for emergencies and transitory care,” Sr. Lilly says in the report.

She notes that some of the boys would wish to start a life as they clock 18 years. However, they are overwhelmed by some challenges such as lack of food and health care support, parental care, family strengthening skills, counseling, life skills training, and job skills development among others.

One such boy whose transitioning from a children’s home to a family setup has been challenging is Alex Bamwesigwe who, together with his younger brother, Robert Natuhamya have been raised at Catholic-run St. Mugagga Boys Home since their parents succumbed to HIV/AIDS in 2006.

“Alex was five years old when their parents passed on. Alex accordingly faced unbearable challenges at such a tender age as he had to lead the household where he lived with his young brother Robert and a one-year-old sister who was later adopted by an Aunt,” Sr. Lilly recounts in her report dubbed, “Transitioning a Boy-child from Children’s Home Still a Big Challenge.”

To put food on the table for himself and his younger brother, Alex would solicit for food from the neighborhoods after doing works such as collecting garbage, sweeping compounds and fetching firewood or water, Sr. Lilly has reported.

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According to the Ugandan-born nun, while Alex was struggling to make ends meet, his relatives were plotting how to kill him and his brother Robert so as to inherit their land, a plan was thwarted by neighbors who helped the two siblings flee to St. Mugagga Boys Home in Jinja, Eastern Uganda.

Alex was received in the Child Care Home at the age of six, Sr. Lilly notes and adds that the leadership of the 53-year-old home cared for and educated him up to vocational training level where he acquired a Certificate in Building and Construction while his brother Robert has just completed senior four.

The leadership of the home had made several efforts to reunite Alex with his relatives “but in vain,” Sr. Lilly says in the November 2 report obtained by ACI Africa.

While she appreciated the fact that Alex secured the land he inherited from his parents with the help of local government authorities, Sr. Lilly says, “the resettlement process proved difficult due to the fact that he was taken to his grandmother who barely had adequate support and a roof over her head!”

“My grandmother lives in an extremely small, old house which cannot accommodate us all. She would only accept to house me if I could feed myself and care for her!” Alex has been quoted as saying in the report, adding, “I’m struggling to survive by offering casual labor at some construction sites where I can get some money to rent a single room.”


In his free time, Alex molds bricks with the hope of one day constructing a “small house” on the land he inherited, he says and notes, “I’m struggling to balance between daily survival and making bricks for the construction.”

"Based on the above background, Alex is battling to meet societal challenges through savings. For this reason, St. Mugagga Boys Home seeks to help Alex to construct a house,” Sr. Lilly says in the November 2 report.

Given his skills in building and construction, the leadership of the home is seeking to support Alex resettle by offering US$ 1,500 for the house construction materials, US$ 250 for a toolbox and US$ 150 as a resettlement package.

In the November 2 report, Sr. Lilly shares the plight of two more boys – Kakuuma Jude and George Waiswa – who are finding it hard to transition from children’s home to the communities.

“These are a few examples of boys who cannot easily relocate following the global trend of transition from institutional care to home or home like environment,” Sr. Lilly says and referencing the boys, observes, “They serve as examples of those that require urgent support for holistic sustainable and successful resettlement.”

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“While many come up when it is a girl child, who will come to the assistance of Alex Bamwesigwe, Kakuuma Jude and Waiswa George?” the Ugandan nun poses.