Namugongo Fund for Special Children provides an array of holistic supports designed to meet the holistic needs of the children they serve.
NFSC started the breakfast project to help feed the children who were otherwise going to school hungry. Because resources of most families have been overextended in an attempt to care for the large numbers of orphaned children, some homes are able to provide only one meal a day which is usually in the evening. Many children were going to school hungry, forcing some of them to skip school in search of food. This project started in May 2000 with 60 children. Today, there are seven breakfast centers serving over 1000 children. The children receive breakfast every school day before they go to school. The breakfast consists of porridge made from maize meal and soy bean as well as a daily multivitamin. Each center has a volunteer cook who takes roll-call and checks the general health of the children. Each center also has a community committee that helps in verification of need for recruited children.
In 2001, NFSC opened a general clinic to cater for the general health needs of children affiliated with the program. The NFSC clinic serves children and their caregivers. It is run by two licensed nurses who are also in charge of procurement of medical supplies. They see patients at the clinic and makes house calls to follow up or see those who are too sick to travel to the clinic. The nurses also hold community outreach health clinics in the villages that are too far away from the clinic in Kyaliwajjala.
As many children and their guardians are infected with HIV, NFSC signed a memorandum of agreement with the Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC) to provide antiretroviral medication free of charge to children and their caregivers. Since 2006, JCRC and NFSC have worked together to conduct an ambitious initiative to provide free HIV testing and treatment to NFSC’s children and families.
The Ministry of Education in Uganda mandates free Universal Basic Education for primary school children (P1-P7). However, if children are to attend school, children and families must pay for the required uniforms, books and other fees. It is not uncommon to see children carrying water or doing other forms of manual labor in an effort to pay their school fees. NFSC works with children whose guardians cannot afford to pay for those requirements.
NFSC works to provide sponsorships to help families pay school fees. We seek long-term commitments (four or more years). NFSC also provides scholarships to assist caregivers who cannot pay school fees due to family tragedy or hardship. These scholarships are usually for one year (three school terms or less).
After School Program
Each morning, children eat breakfast at their breakfast center before heading to school. Immediately after school, many of the children return to their breakfast center to attend the after school program. This program was set up to help the children with homework each evening. Even at an early age, children realize that education is the key to improving the livelihoods of themselves and their families, and they are driven to improve their English, math, and writing ability. The after school program is coordinated by NFSC staff and run by a small team of dedicated volunteers. In addition to homework, the program provides psychosocial support, reading, dancing, drama, and singing. NFSC also hosts a weekly Saturday program with similar activities