Uganda was a colony of Great Britain until October 9, 1962. Because of its colonization, the official language of Uganda is English, although numerous other languages, including tribal dialects, are spoken across the country. The most common non-English language spoken in Uganda is Luganda.
Uganda is on the east side of Africa and is approximately the size of the U.S. state of Oregon. Located between Kenya (to the east) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (to the west), Uganda is land-locked, other than bordering the shores of beautiful Lake Victoria. Uganda has a population of 35 million people, the median age of which is 15 years old. The vast majority (84%) of Ugandans claim Christianity as their religion. Winston Churchill once coined the phrase “Pearl of Africa” in his descriptions of Uganda and the flowery title stuck with Uganda.
Uganda has 2.5 million orphans (as defined by Unicef has having lost one or both parents). Of that number, 1.2 million were orphaned because of AIDS. The vast majority of these children are well-cared for by their living parent and/or extended family. For those children who are so-called double orphans, strong familial and tribal ties result in community or extended family care for these orphans. Thus, while the number of orphans is high, there are not millions of children in Uganda who are in need of adoption.
Currently, 7.2% of Uganda’s population (1.4 million people) is living with HIV, including approximately 190,000 children. An estimated 1.1 million children have been orphaned by HIV. Unfortunately, HIV prevalence has been rising in Uganda since its lowest rate of 6.4 percent in 2006. Only 39 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 know all the necessary facts about how HIV can be prevented, leaving a clear path for Project HOPEFUL to engage in education in its programs in Uganda. Women in particular need education and services since the prevalence rate of women who have HIV in Uganda is significantly higher than men.
While Uganda offers free treatment for people who have HIV, the treatment is not started until the person’s CD4 reaches dangerously low levels (resulting in an AIDS diagnosis). Further, people who live in more remote locations have to find ways to travel to places where testing and medicines are available, which is not always possible. An estimated 54% of those in need are receiving antiretroviral treatment.
Our Hope + Sisterhood program in Uganda seeks to address not only the needs of women who have HIV and are struggling to support themselves, but also to reach deeply within the communities we love to prioritize family preservation so the widow who has HIV can keep her children.
More information on our direct care programs in Uganda:
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