It is difficult to measure the full extent of the loss of life, devastation, and physical and emotional suffering that the 21 year rebel-led war and its atrocities caused in the North of Uganda. In its wake lie abject poverty, malnutrition, high mortality rates, inadequate education, gender-based violence, and thousands of orphans.

Since 2009 Family Care Uganda (FCU) has worked on the outskirts of Gulu to provide care and education to over 200 orphans. After using temporary facilities for several years, 2013 saw the completion of seven large classrooms, dormitories for 100+ boarders, a kitchen, lavatories, and staff houses on land owned by FCU. A grant from Family Care Foundation in 2013 facilitated the construction of an additional building with four rooms, to accommodate a library, infirmary, staff room and office.

The project also includes a small agricultural farm adjacent to the school, successfully growing a broad range of crops to generate income for the school, supplement the children’s diet, and provide vocational skills training. Teachers, farm workers and construction laborers are hired from the local village, thus providing a boost to this struggling community. Future plans include a bore-well, sports field, and expanding teacher training programs for other schools.

FCU takes a holistic approach to helping these vulnerable children re-build their lives, not only with solid academic education and character building—resulting in considerably higher national exam scores than surrounding public schools—but also providing a safe and caring environment where physical and emotional needs are met. For many of these children it’s the first time they are eating three meals a day and don’t have to beg or peddle goods on the roadside in order to eat. Group activities and excursions add fun and friendship. As a result they are focused, eager to learn, and excited about the possibilities before them.