At Annovoc, we have been working closely with a Japanese church located in Mbarara District to improve the quality of life for the children in the area. We have provided counseling to victims of HIV/AIDS and the victims’ families. The vocational skills that we taught to the children and widows have helped the community reduce poverty, become self-sustaining, and also to start up small, income-generating businesses.
Most of our family members died because of HIV/AIDS. So, we started by helping a few of our surviving relatives by providing education. We then realized that if we started up an orphanage, the entire community would benefit. We carried out research and realized that thousands of children were facing the problem of losing their families due to HIV/AIDS. In fact, we determined there were approximately 750 children in need of our services, but due to a lack of resources we could not provide help for all of them. Initially we only offered basic primary education, but the children were so talented and enthusiastic that we decided to expand our offerings to include vocational skills. We used the natural resources of the community, such as clay, to make vital products such as bricks, ventilators, and pots.
We first started with the children in the community and later decided to involve the widows and some of their elderly relatives. Our mission is to reduce the number of street children, provide homes for the homeless, and reduce poverty in the community. Our objective is to ensure that the community as a whole becomes self-sustaining. Eventually, we hope to expand our efforts to more remote villages in the area so that they can also benefit from our projects.
We are now primarily providing vocational skills at Annovoc. To begin, we had workers go door to door to find children who were victims of HIV/AIDS or had lost their parents as a result of the disease. We began by educating just the children, but eventually we extended our efforts to include family members and other members of the community.
Our efforts were realized when some of our students used the skills they learned to find employment in the nearby workshops. Another measure of our success is that the profit from our products helps sustain the group.
Our projects are still ongoing, and we are able to use the income from these projects to help maintain the group.
Annovoc has reduced poverty, improved literacy, and given hope to many For example, vocational skills such as carpentry, brick making, tailoring, and arts and crafts have helped many orphans find employment in related areas or even start up their own small businesses to sustain themselves. Many widows in the community, upon acquiring the skills, have made pots, cooking stoves, and necklaces. They are able to earn a living and sustain their families. Annovoc has managed to reduce poverty and provided hope to many.