Across sub-Saharan Africa, the Life-limiting sicknesses like Cancer and HIV/ AIDS pandemic has impacted children in a myriad of ways, from parental loss, to HIV infection, to increased poverty and marginalization. These children have been labeled orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in the international development literature and a range of interventions have provided services aiming to mitigate the impact of the crisis on human development outcomes, including education. Children and youth affected by Cancer and HIV/AIDS face many stressors and competing priorities regarding family, health, education, protection and economic stability.

Now, a decade after the term OVC entered the policy lexicon, it is possible to reflect on the “orphan crisis” and the policy response, and examine how ‘vulnerability’ has shaped the educational outcomes and experiences of African children. We pose the question: is ‘orphan’ a meaningful category in understanding child vulnerability in the context of Schooling?

According to recent studies of orphan hood and schooling in sub-Saharan Africa demonstrate that parental death may be an inadequate indicator of educational disadvantage. Though orphans do have systematically lower educational outcomes than non-orphans, the significance of the relationship tends to be minimal after controlling for sociology-economic status (Ainsworth &Filmer, 2006; Campbell et al, 2010; Lloyd & Blanc, 1996).[1] In other words, poverty in general appears to be a more important indicator of educational disadvantage than orphan hood in particular, although they appear to be interrelated.

Situation of children’s right to education worldwide

According to Humanism is an international child sponsorshipNGO dedicated to stopping violations of children’s rights throughout the world Right to Education[2]Today, education remains an inaccessible right for millions of children around the world. More than 72 million children of primary education age are not in school and 759 million .adults are illiterate and do not have the awareness necessary to improve both their living conditions and those of their children.

Undeniably, many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are forced to abandon their education due to health problems related to malnutrition or in order to work and provide support for the family.

Impact of Uganda’s Education System on children

As one of the world’s poorest countries, Uganda faces severe challenges in providing quality, affordable education to every child. Many children are forced to walk long distances to get to the nearest school. In addition to problems around access to education, children often face health issues that prevent them from going to school. The most prevalent health issues are communicable diseases such as malaria, Cancer and HIV/AIDS. The government has increased funding for free basic education, but challenges remain in terms of quality of education and rising drop-out rates as a result of household hunger. Girls face even bigger issues when they reach puberty. In relation to these problems, Hospice Tororo faces challenges in supporting the children affected by life -limiting sicknesses especially cancer and HIV/AIDS etc.

However, for the last four years of service, we have made assessments and found that families face a lot of psychosocial issues. These psychosocial issues do affect the welfare of children. We hope that through the “Back to school” program a great number of children both orphaned and vulnerable will be able to get support for education. We can learn that education is a right – but it is still beyond the reach of many children in the world and more so in Uganda.

We have managed to support more than 10 children to access education and also many more are still need more support.

Okusubira Foundation Impact at Hospice Tororo to the welfare of children?

We are providing access to education for children in one of Uganda’s poorest district of Tororo and its neighborhood.  In this district families struggle to survive and meet the most basic needs, and many children must earn a living as well to support their families.  For example, they may be fetching water or selling goods at the market.

In the district of Tororo, most of the enrollment of Children to the primary school starts when they are seven years old. This is influenced by the government through the Universal Primary Education whereby are only school fees are only paid, but other expenses are the responsibility of parents. School uniforms, pens, shoes and books are costly, and as a result, many children don’t go to school.  Our annual “Back to School” program tends to provide these supplies, ensuring that vulnerable children receive education.

An annual donation of $250 annually per each child could provide school supplies, basic needs such as food, school uniform, and a health care card, which allows the child to access medical services.  The sponsored children are former patient’s hospice Tororo orphans; others may have parents who may be on services, living in impoverished conditions, those who are affected by life limiting illnesses.  Sponsors can come to know the child personally through pictures and correspondence.

Future prospective

Hospice Tororo firmly believes that education and sponsorship are important tools in breaking the cycle of poverty in Uganda. Anyone who donates, whether through the Back to School campaign or the Sponsor a Child program, will know their donations are being spent wisely to help children in need. Children no longer have to stay at home and work to support their families. It allows them to enjoy their childhood and it empowers them for a brighter future.

Children Profiles and parent’s stories Achieng Rosemary and   Akello Jennifer

Rosemary 9 yrs

Jennifer and Rosemary live with their maternal uncle in Korobudi while Bernard lives with their elder brother in Walaweji.  Jennifer is a 12 year old female in primary four, her favorite subject is English and she likes to play netball, she would like to become a teacher future.

Rosemary is a nine year old female in primary two, her favorite subject English; she too likes playing netball and hopes to become a teacher.They have been getting psychosocial care like counseling services and this isn’t enough for the children because they need good quality education and basic needs like clothing and scholastic materials so as to have a bright future.

Parent’s story

Both of their parents were patients enrolled on hospice program, Michael was suffering from cancer of the liver and his wife suffering from cancer of the cervix.  Both patients were getting medical and psychosocial support.  Michael wasn’t, doing well psychosocial wise therefore he was among the patients who received a pig from pig and goat project to help increase on his house hold income to support his family. Michael has a family of seven children who live in a small mud house which need a lot of repairs because it leaks during rainy season, considering his health, Michael couldn’t do much in regard to providing the children with basic needs and also his wife was also sick then and couldn’t fend for her family and this affected the family so much that the first two children had to drop out of school at primary level.

 Jennifer 12 yrs                                                                                                                 

The situation worsened when both parents passed on, Jacinta passed on in 2015 while Michael passed on in 2016. The oldest son decided to marry in order to have a partner who could help shoulder responsibility of taking care of his six siblings excluding his follower who got married, he is 21 years old primary seven drop out and has no technical skills, his follower also decided to get married due to the hard situation at home .They depend on farming and have one meal a day and at times go without food when it’s not harvesting time and also at times get support from well wishers. Jennifer and Rosemary were taken by their maternal uncle so that they could study from there so as to relief their elder brother of the burden while Bernard remained this is because where he is studying from its the head teacher who sometimes comes in to help when he fails to get school requirement.The orphaned children need to be supported in school with scholastic materials and other school requirements in a better school with better learning facilities where they can concentrate, study well and achieve their dreams.

Okello Peter, Nyaketcho Mary and Owor Jimmy

These are children from the same family they are five in number and live with their maternal grandmother Malizera Akello in Peri Peri. Okello Peter is a 12 year old male in primary four. His best subject is Mathematics; he likes to play football and would like to become a doctor. Nyaketcho Mary is 10 years old in primary four, her best subject is science, she likes to play netball and she would like to become a nurse .Owor Jimmy is an eight year old male in primary two, his best subject is mathematics, his best game is football and he wishes to become a doctor.

Parent’s Story. They lost their mother in 2014; she died while giving birth, unfortunately none of the two survived. When their mother was still alive she used to support her children with basic needs through farming. She was abandoned with her children by her husband so she used to toil alone in order to ends meet. After her death, her mother who is a grandmother of the above mentioned children had to take up the responsibility of taking care of her grand children since they don’t know the whereabouts of their father. Malizera is a patient suffering from cancer of the cervix enrolled on hospice program. Malizera is sick and she cannot cultivate crops on the land she depends on well wishers and some of her children for help though it’s limited since they have other responsibility like taking care of their families that’s the reason why she isa beneficiary of the goat project so as she can increase on the household income so that she can support her grand children. The children sometimes remain at home in turns to look after their sickgrandmother and also lack basic needs (clothing, good quality education and scholastic materials etc). The grandmother’s plea is to get people who will educate her grand children because she has limited time to live and she wants to make sure her grandchildren attain good quality education even after her demise.

Nyafwono Jane and Asale Stecia


Jane and Stecia are five in number and they stay with their grandmother in Atiri in Mukujju sub county .Jane is ten years old in primary two, her best subject is literacy, she likes playing with fiends and would like to be a nurse on the other hand Stecia is a six year old female in primary one, her best subject is literacy and she likes to play any kind of game with friends and she would like to be a nurse.

 Parent’s story

SteciaThese children are five in number and their mothers abandoned them, leaving them with their sick father who was enrolled on hospice program but now deceased, late Patrick was a young energetic man working but when he started falling sick, he could no longer work therefore the leaving condition at home was alarming therefore through hospice he was also on psychosocial care he was given a goat and a loan to start up a business that could sustain him financially and also take care of this children and his sick parents. Unfortunately the business didn’t do well due to his illness and therefore had to use his capital to treat himself. After his death, his mother who is suffering from cancer of the cervix and also enrolled on hospice program had to take up theresponsibility of taking care of late Patrick’s children. She isn’t working, her husband is has a stroke and cannot work, her children are not doing well and they offer less help that cannot sustain her with the grandchildren, it was Patrick who was taking care of them before him falling sick. Patrick died in July 2016 and his two school going daughters didn’t study in second term due to school fees and scholastic materials. Their grandmother’s plea is for her grandchildren to attain good quality education and also provision of basic needs like clothing and most important education in order to fulfill their dreams.

Nyafwono Scholastica 13 years

Scholastica lives with her father in Nagongera and they are three in number. She is thirteen years old in primary four. Her best subject is science and she would like to be a teacher.

Scholastica lives with her father called Jeremiah who happens to be a patient enrolled on hospice program receiving psychosocial and medical care. Jeremiah is HIV positive patient with ISS neuritis he can’t cultivate crops because he cannot walk without support. The wife bore three children with him, when the wife came to know of his HIV statuswhen he was bedridden , she abandoned the home and they don’t know her where abouts. Jeremiah operates a small business worth three US dollars whereby he sells cigarettes and sweets, this can’t sustain him and his family and sometimes the she is sent home from school due to lack of school fees and school requirements and these affects her performance in class.

Odikinya John 13 years

John is thirteen years old in primary four, his best subject is science and he wants to become an engineer. They were born two in their family and they live with theirmaternal grandmother in Osukuru. His brother Francis is an eleven year old boy in primary three best subject is science and wishes to become a teacher.

Their mother was the late Abbo Christine who was 32 year old female diagnosed with malignant melanoma on the head  was enrolled on Hospice program for pain and symptom control together with psychosocial program but later passed on in April 2015. She was married to Osukuku with whom they had two children all boys who are all under the care of their maternal grandparents even before the death of their mother.

Their father is very irresponsible, does not care about the children’s wellbeing including their school, feeding, clothing, health care leaving them to the mercy of the well wishers and their old grandparents who cannot support them because of no income generating activity they can do. The children are in the nearby government school with poor learning facilities. They have a great interest in education but are deterred by the above difficulties which most cases keep them off school when others are studying.

Omaidi Faustine 13 years

Faustine is a thirteen year old male in primary five his best subject is mathematics and dream is to become a doctorThey are three in number and stay with both parents in Apokor Mella sub-county.

Parent’s story

Amojong Margret a 31 year old female with a suspected cancer of the cervix, not confirmed has been on Hospice program since late 2014 when she was admitted for pain and symptom control with severe abdominal pain. Margret is married to Arapai Stephen with whom they have three children, two boys and one girl. With the eldest in a boy in primary five, second a girl in primary two and the third a boy in primary one.

Margret despite her condition that kept her on and off hospital is the sole bread winner at her home. She struggles to provide basic needs like feeding, clothing, health care and even shelter among others for her children whose father is not responsible at all. He is a perpetual drunkard who wakes up in the morning and moves to the drinking joint. He has failed to even construct a better shelter over his family. he does not dig at home, does not buy food, clothing, school requirements for his children who study in a nearby government primary school with poor education standards. All these burden falls back on Margret with no income generating activity to help her facilitate these besides her condition.

Nyaketcho Esther Lucy 13 years

Lucy is a thirteen year old in primary five, her best subject is social studies and her dream is to become a teacher. She liveswith her mother in Merikit.

Parent’s Story

Erya Kim Ojore 35 years old, suffered from cancer of the bladder. He was married and had three children between the ages of 7- 12 years. The family income is earned through the selling of local brew (known us “Kongo” in the local language. It was Erya Kim who was the main bread winner and when he died, the wife continued with the business. It’s out of the business that the family is able partly to provide the basic needs and also send children to school with a few basic scholastics with no proper uniform.

With the business not working well, the family being headed by a widow now struggles to support the children both in school ( scholastic materials, uniforms and other related materials) and at home in terms of (feeding, clothing, medical care and other needs

 Omukaga David 15 years and Agolla Bina 13 years


They live with their parents in Osukuru. David is a fifteen year old in primary six, his best subject is science and he would like to be a teacher. His sibling Bina is a thirteen year old in primary six she loves the science subject and she would like to be a nurse.

Parent’s story

Awor Rose with suspected Liver problem was enrolled on Hospice program for pain and symptom management together with psychosocial care in 2012. Rose was able to benefit from the pig and goat project from Hospice Tororo so that she could be able to have an income generating activity,these children sell for people sugarcane in order to earn something to support the family. Rose says her wish is to see her children get good quality education so that to reduce on poverty in her home

We can support them to access better education opportunities and hence transform their family in future.

 Akumu Mary, ApoyaFrancis andOwere John Paul

Mary is a fifteen year old girl in primary six, her best subject is social studies, she wants to become a nurse. Francis is a seventeen year old in primary six, her best subject is science and she wishes to become a teacher in futurewhile their brother John is a nine year old boy in primary one he loves mathematics and wants to become an engineer. They are eight children and they live with their parents in Paya.

Parent’s story

Okello Paul father of these children is a forty one year old male suffering from Ks in ISS with lymph edema. Paul’s illness has left him vulnerable in that he cannot walk. He has been on Hospice program for a year now. Paul has eight children and a wife. The first two children are married and didn’t go far with education due to lack of school fees and also provision of  other necessities like sanitary towels for the girls this makes them drop out of school for fear of embarrassment and other basic needs. Paul’s wife is a peasant and therefore has to work in the garden to provide food for her husband and children. Paul’s children are in some rural school whereby if its rainy season they do not go to school due to the flooding of the area where the school is and also help their mother with garden work as well as home chores like thatching the hut. Therefore they are irregular in school and hence poor performance and also attribute it due to poor quality education offered by the school. Financial constraints is the major problem facing  Okello Paul and his family  at large , food is grown in a small scale whereby there is no surplus left to sell in order to cater for other basic  needs like clothing and education.

Agola Patricia & OnyangoPatrick

Patricia 14 yrs                                                                                        Patrick 10 yrs

Agolla Patricia is 14 years old a pupil of primary four, she likes to become a nurse and she likes to play and run. Her brother  is called  Onyango Patrick 10 years, also in primary four in the same village school with low performance being a government school where there is  inadequate learning facilities hence affecting the performance of these children, both of them love school and they are willing to learn if given good opportunity.

They stay with their mother; their mother is a mere peasant at home with no clear sources of income which makes it difficult to support the children. They have been supported by hospice for psychosocial support and care.

Parent’s Story

George Owere was a forty five year old male diagnosed with liver cirrhosis with ascitris. George was enrolled on hospice program and he passed on last year. George married two wives, bore four children with the first wife and two children with the second woman. George was a traditional healer whereby he would treat people with traditional herbs and by that he was able to provide for his families’ needs. Things changed when George fell sick, he sold off all the property he had to treat himself that’s when the family began struggling to provide the basic needs that’s is why he benefited from the goat and pig project in that they would have something that would generate income  and support the family. Their area is receiving insufficient rainfall there is scarcity of food and the wives are peasants therefore depend on the land. When George passed on, the situation at home became worse in that the first wife had to sell off one of the goats to cater for the demands at home. They are facing challenges in paying school fees for their children since by the time George was dying he left no property that would help his two families. The children were enrolled in government schools with poor quality education and also they have no shoes they go to school barefooted and this affects their education and sometimes remains home to help their mother with home chores and casual labor like working in peoples’ gardens. In order for the children to have a bright future they need good quality education.

Ajore Scovia and Anyango Doreen

Scovia   13 years                                               

These two girls live together with their elder brother, their mother died two years ago from cancer Anyango Doreen 15 years, in primary six; she wants to become a teacher. Ajore Scovia is 13 years, she is in primary five she wants to become a nurse,  nurse because she has the passion to treat sick people , she is motivated by the way she saw other nurses taking care of their mother when she was still sick.

Hospice Tororo has provided them with psychosocial support and care since they lost their beloved mother; they now need extra support to get better education opportunities.

Doreen 15 years

Parent’s story

The mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer that later claimed her life almost one year ago. Their mother was the main bread winner; they live with their eldest brother who is unemployed and therefore depend on agriculture and well wishers for basic needs like food. The situation at home isn’t good, other two children don’t go to school and five go to school they are unable to get tuition, uniform, meals at school and school supplies.

They need your help and support to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.

Achom Fiona 14 years

Fiona is 14 years old in senior one, her best subject is chemistry, and she wants to become a nurse.

The other 8 children stay in Amoni village in Tororo District.  Accessing Education and other basic needs remains the biggest problem for this family. Fiona is much worried that she has no hope of going back to school these term ,as Hospice we have been supporting this family with counseling.

Parent’s story

Ibwa Solomon was a patient enrolled on hospice program; he was a middle aged man who was suffering from advanced HIV/AIDS and meningitis. Ibwa left behind a family of ten children and a wife, before him falling sick, he was an electrical engineer by profession and he would provide basic needs for his family like education, food, shelter etc and also Ibwa had a responsibility of taking care of the late brother’s children. The late brother left behind five wives and over forty children. Things changed when he began falling sick, some of the children would remain home due to school fees and they began depending on agriculture which was grown on it a small scale and whereby it was a source of food and as well  squeeze and sell off the surplus to cater for medication and basic needs. The situation worsened when he died in June 2016 the widow says the in-laws don’t want her to cultivate on that land again since it’s a family land and yet she depends on that land because she is not working she is a house wife and also infected with the HIV virus therefore she can’t do heavy work like digging for other people in order to earn a living. The condolence she got part of cleared the debts and remaining money paid for some of the children school fees for second term. Her worry is that she doesn’t know where she will get the money to pay school fees for children whereby she sees it’s the end of the children’s education.

 Profile pictures



Written and complied by the Psycho-social team-Hospice Tororo

 Peter Isoka Psycho-social manager

Arima Martha- Social worker

22nd June,2017





















































[1]Ainsworth M. &Filmer D. (2006). “Inequalities in children’s schooling: AIDS, orphan hood, poverty, and gender.” World Development.34(6): 1099–1128


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