This is the fifth post in the 2021 Kindness series. Each month I will make a donation to a different nonprofit and write about the organization.
Eight years ago this month Michael and I spent ten days in Uganda during our world trip. One of the places we visited was Elohim Development Association in Bombo, which is in the Luwero District near Kampala. We met some of the staff and learned about their programs to help kids in the community. Recently, I communicated with Mr. Duncan Ahigika, CEO and Co-Founder, to find out what Elohim has been up to lately.
About Elohim Development Association
In 2008, Duncan Ahigika and Joan Atuhaire founded the NGO Elohim Development Association to improve the lives of vulnerable children in Bombo Town Council. The Bombo community is predominantly comprised of the Nubian ethnic group which is classified as a minority group in Uganda’s constitution. The area also hosts the largest military barracks in the country. Bombo was greatly affected during the 1985-86 liberation war and the negative impacts are still pervasive.
Duncan and Joan created programs to rescue, rehabilitate, educate, and empower children from the streets and dysfunctional families. Elohim takes a holistic approach to address the needs of vulnerable kids and help them build the capacity to live healthy, independent lives. They started with a children’s home and have created additional programs over the years including vocational education and a community library. These programs have been well-received in the community.
Vision – An empowered generation making a positive difference in their communities.
Mission – To provide workplace competencies that lead to sustainable employment through vocational training, life-skills and literacy education.
Elohim Development Association has three main programs: Orphaned and Abandoned Children (OVC) Support, Vocational Education, and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights. Other programs include music and dance as therapy, youth empowerment, and special projects.
Orphaned and Abandoned Children (OVC) Support
Vulnerable children in Bombo can find a home and support at Elohim. They take in children who are orphaned or whose families can’t support them and provide a place to live, necessities, education, and access to medical care. Currently 48 kids live at Elohim and they have served over 171 children since 2008.
Elohim provides vocational training to help Bombo youth learn skills that can help them obtain jobs in tailoring, shoe making, beauty and hair dressing, cooking and baking, and more.
Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights
Young people in Uganda often encounter barriers to accessing health services, especially sexual reproductive health. There are few confidential and youth-friendly services where young people feel comfortable seeking care. As a result, too many young people are not aware of health risks or how to get support.
Elohim advocates for increased and improved youth-friendly policies and services. They also educate and empower young people on their sexual reproductive health rights and HIV/AIDS prevention. This approach engages youth and stakeholders from the grass roots to policy level.
Music and Dance
One of the things I liked about visiting Uganda was how much music was a part of the culture. At Elohim, music and dance is a part of daily life and has been successful in helping the kids cope with challenges. The kids learn traditional songs and dances and have become so talented that they perform at local events, which also generates income.
Young people in Uganda want to have a voice in issues that affect their lives like human rights, access to education, gender-based violence, and sexual reproductive health and rights. Elohim Development Association works to create collaborations that empower youth to impact positive change. One of the ways the kids express their voice is through music, dance, and drama.
Elderly and Widows – The Beautiful Wrinkles Project
What a wonderful name for a project!
In addition to helping youth, Elohim has also supported adults in the Bombo community. The Beautiful Wrinkles Project provided help to 25 single headed families – headed mostly by widows. Elohim started the project because many children who lost their parents to war, HIV, and other issues were left in the care of their grandparents, who also had no help. In 2017 and 2018, they built houses and water tanks for seven elderly women. Other support included access to medical care, fetching water, preparing meals, and social visits.
Support Elohim Development Association
If you are interested, here are some ways you can support Elohim Development Association’s efforts to help kids in Bombo, Uganda.