On September 11th, 2021, PCAU, organized a Road to Hope Retreat for Children heading families of persons with palliative care needs amidst the pandemic in Jinja district. A total of 23children (12 girls and 11 boys) from different parts of the eastern region participated.
In the past, the retreats have been organized in a central place in Kampala and all children would come from their different districts to meet up and interact with one another as they gain life changing skills. With the pandemic, this was not possible hence the decision to meet them within their regions.
Leading the open discussion, Anita Balikobaku, the new Programs Manager brought it to the children’s that we all come from different families and backgrounds but what brings us together is the palliative care cause and we need to move forward as a family. She further noted that this is a day to give the children an opportunity to open up and talk to one another which gives everyone a chance to practice their confidence.
She advised the elder boys and girls to act as examples of the young ones since they always learn from their elder family members, friends and other people around them. RTH children being one family, she emphasized togetherness among all children.
As part of the activities, children were divided into 3 different groups to discuss about their achievements, challenges and expectations and they later presented to the group. These were;
- Team never lose hope (Tertiary, Secondary
- Little Angels (Lower Primary and
- Team no stress (Tertiary, Secondary Girls)
Anita, during the counselling sessions further shared expectations to the children that as they go through their education, we expect them to study and get employment so that they support their families, behave like disciplined children who help in doing house work, respect parents, have role models that they learn from as they move on with their lives, develop an appreciative heart as well as develop a giving heart and to use whatever they receive well.
In another activity, the children were required to write letters to their different sponsors and this was done with support from staff that were part of the retreat.
From the discussions, children were all grateful for the food support that is given to them and home schooling throughout the pandemic. However, some children expressed a concern that their guardians do not have jobs making it hard to supplement on the food that PCAU gives them.
Children expressed determination to progress for example some had already started up small businesses to support them during the time they are home without school and others are determined to start up to supplement the little they have.
These retreats are ongoing in the other regions and are aimed at empowering the Road to Hope children heading families of persons with palliative care needs amidst COVID-19.