The second part of the GSM team was made up of four of us, which we were taken to see the charity Hope for Hands and the slum area of Namuwongo. It showed how diverse the country is and allowed us to see first hand how a large amount of the population lives throughout Uganda. Throughout the day we spent time within the charity’s foundation and touring round the slum.
The Namuwongo slum is the poorest and the second largest slum area in Kampala and is known to have at least 15,000 residents, some estimate that it can be as high as 30,000 at times. Many of the residents are refugees from Northern Uganda and DR Congo. Over half of the Namuwongo population is children, families regularly number over six people and the majority of the houses are a small single room made out of mud.
As well as experiencing the lifestyles of the slum residence, we also got to know and interact with some of the Hands for Hope children. Uganda Hands for Hope works in the community, targeting the most vulnerable children and families of Namuwongo. Each year they identify 25-30 of the most vulnerable children (aged 3-5) and place them in their nursery school. They also extend their reach further into the community by running Livelihood Programmes for mothers and unsponsored children: Solar Lights and Candle Making as well as small loans for mothers to help them set up small businesses.
Visiting Namuwongo was thought provoking for all of us, however it did enable us to get to know Hands for Hope and experience a different side of Uganda outside of the music circle.
Blog post and Photography - Laura Holton