For the girls of northern Uganda, simply graduating school can be a real hardship, for many reasons. Of those, probably the most shocking (especially to American women), is that preteen girls often drop out of school when they begin menstruating. Lack of information and zero personal hygiene options keep them ashamed and at home. Often, they are encouraged at this time to find a man to take care of them or ‘go find something to do’. Pregnancies result and the cycle begins again. Uneducated women are vulnerable women, with little chance of breaking out of this pattern.
Living Hope is committed to “restoring dignity to vulnerable women” through several programs, the first of which, called ‘Keep a Girl in School’, works by providing adolescent girls with personal hygiene supplies and educating parents as to the importance of girl-child education. Living Hope also offers adult literacy education, spiritual and life skills classes, trauma rehabilitation, business skills training, and instruction on income-generating activities.
Living Hope is an initiative of Watoto, which is a holistic care program that has been serving northern Ugandans since 1994. Watoto’s focus is on women and children and it’s commitment it to ‘rescue, raise, and rebuild’ by helping individuals realize their unique leadership potential so that they may take an active part in rebuilding their nation. Other programs include, but aren’t limited to, Baby Wototo (a care center for sick and abandoned children aged 0-2), children’s villages and schools, medical intervention projects, farms (crops, poultry, goat and dairy), and the Watoto Children’s Choir.