“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.
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.”