The Catalyst for the work we do at the Family Preservation Alliance Uganda:
It’s a disturbing reality of poverty that some grow rich through exploitation of the poorest members within their own society. Although the economically and socially disadvantaged have little in the way of possessions, their labor, bodies, and children remain sought-after commodities that feed the human trafficking trade. Factors including lack of local employment, inadequate access to education, political instability and armed conflict heavily influence a communities’ ability to protect its most vulnerable citizens from all forms of human trafficking.
Traffickers are not easily identifiable; they insert themselves into communities by gaining the trust of local leadership and families struggling to meet their children’s most basic needs – food, shelter, clean water and education. These predators promise educational sponsorship at boarding school, employment opportunities, and assure community members that their loved ones will be well cared for. The false promise of an escape from crippling poverty is often enough for families to relinquish their children into the hands of virtual strangers. Sadly, many of these children are trafficked for the purposes of servitude, the sex trade, unethical international adoptions, or worse – human sacrifice.
FPA’s Director, Carrie West, witnessed these exploitive tactics first-hand on a 2009 trip to Uganda. What was promoted as a trip to assist vulnerable mothers living in a dangerous rock quarry turned out to be an opportunity for a corrupt adoption agency to poach the children of these women for international adoption. In exchange for their children, these mothers were promised “assistance”, that would be provided once the children were adopted internationally for profit. This experience, and countless other personal stories like it was the catalyst for the work FPA now does. In a 2015 interview with The Observer, West explains, “We believe that when basic human needs are met within struggling communities, families are better positioned to care for, protect and raise their children in a cooperative effort, to avoid footing[s] of human traffickers.” Link to article
This idea has served as the foundation of FPA’s mission – empowerment through local educational and economic programs ensure families have the skillset to meet their basic needs and create sustainable, brighter futures for their children and their communities.
Nangonzi, Yudaya (2015, Feb. 16) Gobero: School Set to Change Lives in Wakiso District.” The Observer.
What we do
1. Education – FPA set out to build a local secondary school in order to provide free, quality, local education to students who would otherwise not be able to afford the steep secondary school fees applicable to public schools in Uganda. Thanks to your collaboration, we have exceeded our goals beyond what we imagined possible. View Family Preservation Alliance Academy of Excellence Photos
The results to date
- A fully equipped and staffed secondary school – Family Preservation Alliance Academy of Excellence, currently serving over 150 of the most at-risk children within the community (with plans to expand to over 200 students in 2018), examination room/clinic, kitchen, head teacher’s and administrative offices, security, water cistern, sanitation facility & onsite housing for 3 fulltime teachers & one head master
- 15 Certified teachers to provide courses in the 14 required subjects, including agriculture and life skills – all committed to our belief that children deserve a quality education, regardless of their gender or economic status.
- Tutoring for students who require additional levels of academic intervention and support
- On-site gardens for learning and cultivation of renewable sources of food for students’ daily meals
- Sustainable water-containment to catch rainfall, providing clean drinking water to our students, staff and gardens.
- A Parent Organization formed by the local community, to support our initiative of providing a hot meal to students during the school week. This voluntary collaboration has allowed us to expand this program to include providing food to local primary students within the community.
- New, clean uniforms at the start of each school year, thanks to our generous sponsors
2. Family Preservation Sponsorships – Not all children in need, are in close proximity to The Family Preservation Alliance – Academy of Excellence campus. With this in mind, FPA continues to sponsor 39 additional at-risk orphaned and special needs children. When we are asked to intervene on behalf of children who have been abandoned, FPA provides comprehensive care to include specialized boarding schools (if necessary), food, housing, medical treatment and needed supplies. Meet MWESIGWA and AMOS
3. Vocational Training – We originally identified a small group of women who lived and worked alongside their children, crushing stones in the rock quarries of Uganda. They were desperate to change their circumstances by learning a trade and running a small business of their own. Again, thanks to your support, this program has grown into a strong and sustainable endeavor. View Vocational Training Gallery
The results to date
- Over 35 women have successfully completed training programs in sewing, micro-enterprise (small-business ownership) and barbering in 2017
- Savings accounts opened in the name of each woman upon graduating from their course work
- A cooperative built by the vocational graduates, whereby these women now invest in the next group who want to leave the grueling work in the quarry. This provides accountability, ensuring the sustainability of the program
- Access to vocational training for women living outside the quarries as well. We currently have over 50 women enrolled in tailoring initiatives, chicken rearing and small business entrepreneurships
4. Food Initiative – FPA recognizes that the ramifications of hunger and the toll it takes on those most vulnerable.
- FPA provides a local Gobero primary school of 300+ students with lunch daily. For many, it is their only source of daily nutrition
- Assist dozens of sibling and grandparent-headed households with needed food. Our food distributions are made on a monthly basis to maximize buying power
With gratitude for all these achievements, we are now looking ahead to plan the next steps for our programs that will ensure we grow with the community and set our families up for success.
What’s next for FPA in 2017?
1. Phase 2 of construction at our school: a new building block to accommodate the rising senior IV student class. This school block will have the ability to sit our seniors for the month long – mandatory testing required by the Wakiso Dept. of Education. When not being utilized for testing, rooms can be closed off to accommodate smaller classes and provide us with a needed laboratory. This building block has been approved by the Wakiso District Dept. of Education, and will meet requirements set forth by the district.
Goal: This space will be used as a full-time classroom as well as a center for vocational development after school hours and on the weekends.
Plans have been approved, land for this project secured, and materials sourced.
Cost of Development: 145,000,000 UG shillings, or approximately $40,300.00 USD
2. Solar program: We believe that solar energy provides the best and most reliable source of power to our school and community, at this time.
Goal: To bring a renewable, clean and reliable energy source to our school. This installation will provide an extended use of classrooms in the evenings. Tutoring, vocational training to students and the local community members. It will also allow our students to attend computer classes on-site.
Accessing power will also provide an added level of protection to our school, staff and our students!
Status: Plans have been created and all materials have been sourced.
Cost of Development: 10,000,000 UG shillings, or about 2,785 USD
THIS GOAL HAS BEEN MET WITH A GENEROUS DONATION BY THE SOMMERS FAMILY!
3. Access to Clean Water in the Dry Season: Currently Uganda is facing one of its worst droughts in decades. The rainy season did not provide enough water to get families through the dry season, and risk of disease from a water-borne illness is high. Children in our community walk several miles each day in search of clean & safe water.
Goal: Construct a well to supply clean water for drinking and irrigation to our students, school and community during the dry season. This well will be maintained by the community and training will be provided on its maintenance and usage.
Status: Water Engineers have been onsite, awaiting plans.
Cost of Development: 36,000,000 UG shillings, or about 10,000 USD
4. Perimeter fencing: A secure permanent fence, to afford an added level of protection for our students, staff and school.
Goal: To install a fence around the school perimeter, securing school classrooms, administrative offices, kitchen, teacher & head master housing, clinic and grounds.
Status: Materials have been sourced.
Cost of Development: 19,309,000 UG Schillings, or about $5,385.00
THIS GOAL HAS BEEN MET WITH A DONATION FROM CARRIE & PAUL WEST