As 2020 comes to an end and 2021 begins, we’ve been reflecting on the crazy year of 2020. There is no doubt that 2020 has taken a lot of time to adjust and begin our ‘new normal’, and although it has deeply affected so many aspects of life in Uganda and everyone at Streets To Success Foundation, we are also overwhelmed by all the love and support we have had this year.
We started the year hosting Kisenyi outreach twice a week. Once a week on the ground in Kisenyi, and once a week at ‘the center”. Outreach consisted of free medical care, food, water, a chance to bathe and wash their clothes and lots of games. Due to us purchasing food from local food vendors or having a cook prepare meals for us we were able to help support other members of the Kisenyi community and provide them some financial sustainability during this time. Sadly, in March we had to postpone outreach due to Covid-19 and to ensure we were keeping everyone safe. During the last few months, we have worked towards keeping our connection within Kisenyi as well as ensuring the safety and well-being of the children there. We have kept in contact with various other organizations and ‘uncles’ that work within Kisenyi. We have opened up the public bathrooms at various points to make sure the boys were able to bathe and keep clean as well as use the toilets. At various points we have sent over funds to ensure food was being distributed. As well as sent funds for medical emergencies such as malaria and typhoid. In addition to the financial and physical goods, we have worked to call and facetime the boys within Kisenyi to check in, say hi, remind them of the seriousness of Covid-19 and the protocols to take to keep their safety. Luckily, many of the children within Kisenyi have made their way home over the last few months. As much as we miss the boys in Kisenyi and our outreach program, we know by following the WHO’s and Ugandan protocols and recommendations to slow the spread of Covid-19 we are doing what is best for us and the community. We hosted our outreach holiday in the first week in January with the help of our two outreach directors: Ben and Derrick. We were able to host around 50 of the kids currently staying in Kisenyi and provide food, clothes, shoes, and medical care. It was an incredible event we were able to host due to your generous donations. It was an amazing day to be able to work within Kisenyi again and check in the boys and be able to provide them with some necessities. As you may be aware, due to the situation within Kisenyi and the reality of being homeless most of the children lack getting their basic needs met. Many of them have to do basic labor work or turn to drugs when in need of food. A meal (consisting of kikomando = beans and tortilla and a water) is 1,000 Ugandan Shillings, to feed around 20 kids it would cost 20,000 Ugandan Shillings or around $6 USD.
With our sponsorship program, due to Covid-19 most of the boys had to stop attending school in person. We have boys in primary and secondary school as well as adult education, mechanic school, and film and photography school. As of now, following guidelines and protocols, the majority of the boys are doing school work from home, and one boy attends in person boarding school as he is sitting for his primary school exams. While covid-19 and lockdown has affected our day-to-day life greatly, we have also found some great joy along the way. We have expanded our staff, including two more ‘uncles’ for the house including direct care staff and a social worker and a new house ‘mom’ or house director. We have also expanded our activities within the house, including our group therapy hosted by Wellness Psychological Services, dance and DJ classes by Imagination Circle, as well as various boxing and dancing classes taught by local professionals. Within our house we have also expanded our garden and host a chicken coop and goats. All of this is incredibly beneficial to the boys not only for the enjoyment and creativity, but also the life lessons they can learn from this. They learn discipline, teamwork, the responsibilities of caring for living things both animals and plants. We are constantly finding and researching new ways to get the boys involved and having fun within the house. One of the most important things we have done this year is begin resettlement back to their villages. The boy’s mental health and overall wellbeing will always be the most important work we do at Streets To Success Foundation, that is why we have made therapy such an important part of this work. A child growing up in their village with their family and community is so important to their sense of identity and growth. We love to be able to see all the boys connect with their families and loved ones, and our hope is to have all the boys be able to safely reconnect and rehome with their families. So, what does this mean for our house and the boys within the house? We are aware of the struggle and perception of the boys being away from their family for some cases up to 5+ years as well as not every home is a safe home to resettle. Knowing all this and keeping this in mind this is why we have made the decision to do a slow transition. Being able to discuss with the boys and the families to be able to rehome for shorter periods of time, for a few weeks / months at a time as we work towards a forever resettlement. We would never rehome a child to an unsafe situation and will look for other alternatives for them. This does not affect any boy’s sponsorship directly, all of them will continue to hold on to their sponsorship and receive school funds through their sponsor at Streets To Success Foundation. As many of our boys are older and may begin to ‘age out’ of a group home and may not feel as comfortable being rehomed, we are beginning to offer independent living for these boys. We will still keep family connection and home visits a priority for the boys that fit into this category, but instead of a long-term rehoming with family we will shift our focus to an independent living situation outside of our group home and offer them lessons and overview from STSF as they begin to live independently. The independent living boys will still continue with their sponsorship and schooling, which in most cases will be adult education or a trade school.
So, what are our goals for 2021?
Continuing with the house boys, we hope to begin to implement and begin many of the rehoming and resettlement for the vast majority of our boys. We hope to continue to expand our staff on our ground, including both direct care staff as well as various classes and events such as coaches and teachers etc. We hope to expand our care and work within Kisenyi, currently we have no date to head back into Kisenyi for outreach. But we do hope to be able to work within Kisenyi in other capacities, such as sending our outreach directors to go in for food distribution.
Here’s how you can help!
- You can help spread the word of our work and mission by following us on Instagram Here! and Facebook Here! and sharing posts or sending to friends!
- If you have a specific goal or talent you can volunteer your time (EX. Video editing? You can donate your time by helping us edit our videos in the works. Dancer / Kickboxer etc.? You can donate your time by sending a video of your class for the boys to watch and follow along!)
- Donations! This is the biggest way you can help Streets To Success Foundation. You can choose to donate a one time or monthly donation for a general donation, or you can pick a specific cause.
You can donate to our PayPal Here! . Currently 100% of the funds go directly into the boy’s care and local staff. Here are some ideas of things you can donate!
· Kisenyi feeding program, to feed 2x a week and provide 40 meals this would cost: $45 USD. · Local staff wage, this is to ensure fair payment for all local staff (no foreign staff make any profit off STSF). This includes outreach staff, house staff, and coaches and teachers within the house. For one month its: $800 USD.
· Food for the house for a month, this will include 3 meals a day for around 20 boys. For a month this will cost: $600 USD
- You can donate in full one of these or put any amount of money towards these causes and put “Kisenyi food” “staff wages” “house food” etc., in the comment section so your cost can be given to the correct cause.
We can’t thank you all enough for the support you’ve given us during 2020 and we are all looking forward to what 2021 and the coming years hold for everyone at Streets To Success Foundation!
As always, any questions or concerns feel free to email us Here!