The palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) in partnership with Center for Hospice Care (CHC) in Indiana USA under the Global Partners in Care, established the Road to Hope program in 2012 with an aim of supporting child caregivers for palliative care patients to enroll into or proceed with formal education. These children are identified in collaboration with palliative care practitioners especially in the rural districts of Uganda. Children on the program have cared for or are still caring for their dying parents, they take on the role of searching for what to eat, walking long distances to get medication refills and some do odd jobs to get income to support their families among other things. To date, the Road to Hope Program supports 58 children from various districts of Uganda including, Arua, Yumbe, Moyo, Masaka, Hoima, Jinja, Lira, Buikwe, Kibaale, Luuka, Mayuge, Tororo, Luwero and Kanungu.
The children on the program have different needs ranging from economic, social, physical, and psychological. The identified children are enrolled in schools within their districts to enable continuous monitoring from within the community. Apart from the education and scholastic materials support, there a number of other activities done to support the children among which include:
Annual Road to Hope Camp which brings together all children to interact, share their experiences, and get to know one another, get psychosocial support, check on performance at school, have fun among other things.
Annual empowerment retreat for children in upper primary, secondary school, and vocational institutes where they attain basic knowledge on career guidance as well as giving them life skills to enable them to deal effectively with everyday life challenges.
Entrepreneurship Fund. The program also provided a platform for giving money to children who graduate to help them start up their own businesses. This money is given in the form of a loan whereby the child is expected to pay back as soon as their business stabilizes.
So far four children have graduated off the program and a living testimony who are so proud of the Road to Hope Program.