The Road to Hope Program supports child caregivers from financially poor backgrounds to access basic needs for their families and continue with education while caring for their chronically ill parents. The Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) in partnership with the Center for Hospice Care (CHC) in Indiana USA under the Global Partners in Care, established the Road to Hope program in 2012.
The children are identified in collaboration with palliative care practitioners especially in the rural districts of Uganda. They have cared for or are still caring for their chronically ill parents while at the same time being burdened with the responsibilities of fending for the family, a role the parent can no longer fulfill. They often walk long distances to receive their parents’ medication.
Child caregivers are forced to do odd jobs to get income to support their families which does not leave them much time to focus on their education. The Road to Hope Program relieves them of this burden. Once identified, children are enrolled in schools within their districts to enable them to continue to get additional community support. Their other needs which include financial social and psychological support are taken care of by the Road to Hope Program.
Currently, 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.
In addition to providing basic financial needs and catering for education, the Road to Hope Program provides child caregivers social and psychological support through the following activities.
Annual Road to Hope Camp brings together all children to interact, share their experiences, and get to know one another, get psychosocial support, check on performance at school, and 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 receive life skills training 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 from the program and are a living testimony who are so proud of the Road to Hope Program.