In the summer of 2020, the Kyasira Home of Hope for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) located on the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda, was flooded by heavy rains and the lake’s rising waters leaving 62 children and their caregivers stranded, according to The Association of the Religious in Uganda (AMSRIU).
Nearly four years later, the situation at the children’s home remains dire.
That prompted Rev. Sr. Mary Peter Namasinga/Local Superior to reach out to Bread and Water for Africa® for help after learning of all that we do in Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere to provide orphan care assistance, clean water, education, and more for tens of thousands throughout sub-Saharan Africa through an online search.
“With deep sadness, I am writing to inform you that heavy rains and the rise of level water at the shore of Lake Victoria destroyed our Kyasira Home of Hope Orphanage,” she wrote to Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema in October.
“Water and flood swept all our orphanage facilities,” she continued. “We are kindly requesting your funding agency to have mercy on us and help us to overcome this crisis by helping us financially through this crisis please.”
After conducting due diligence and requesting further information from Sister Mary, it was clear to Beth that the home was in desperate need of help, and she could not turn her back on her and the dozens of OVC under her care.
In addition to the flooding of the buildings on the compound still in need of repair, perhaps even more devastating was the loss of Kyasira’s several acre banana plantations which provided sustenance to the children while also generating revenue for the home’s operations.
While in the U.S., bananas are a healthy treat that people slice to put on their morning cereal, in Uganda (and throughout sub-Saharan Africa) they are a staple food millions rely on every day.
“Bananas are consumed as a staple or supplementary food by the majority across much of the tribes in Uganda,” reported Sister Mary. “Due to the wide variety of bananas, they contribute over 20 percent of caloric requirements and constitute nearly two-thirds of per-capita food production.
“As food security crops, bananas are potentially important sources of minerals and vitamins,” she explained.
“Given the massive appetite for steamed, mashed cooking bananas – Matooke – in Uganda and the need to save time and fuel for cooking, instant Matooke has a tremendous potential to add value to fresh bananas and satisfy the market.
“We grew acres of maize and banana, but unfortunately they were all washed away by the overflow of Lake Victoria and that’s why we made this request so that we can reset our gardens.”
Today, with the help of our generous supporters across the country, we are working to be able to do just that and hope to be able to grant her selfless request on behalf of the children, who are, she says, “in most cases left on their own during the most crucial stages of their growth and development.
“It is apparent that orphans and vulnerable children in this country suffer from serious abuse and neglect, have inadequate or no access to essential and basic services, have no or poor parental care or absolutely lack that care if they are double orphans.”
The Kyasira Home of Hope was founded in 1997 with the mission and goals to “provide an opportunity for the rehabilitation of OVC through programs designed to enhance their self-esteem, restore hope and enable them to lead fulfilling lives.
“To fulfill our objectives, we need to nurture the OVC through adequate provision of health care, nutrition, skilling, counseling and to make them responsible citizens who will live to achieve their potential.
“The banana growing project is meant to provide sufficient food in quantity and quality to make this orphanage a good and decent place to stay and be able to cater for those in need.
“We have the major factors of production in place including land, labour, skills but we lack capital which is the most pressing issue.”
And now, it is up to Bread and Water for Africa® to help restore the banana plantation – and the Kyasira Home of Hope as a whole – back to its former glory and enable Sister Mary to get back to focusing on what she does best, providing a loving home for displaced children of Uganda.