In June 2010, Uganda’s orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) received USD $22.9 million through a five year USAID funded project called Strengthening Uganda’s National Response for Implementation of Services for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (SUNRISE OVC). Two years later, this project was officially ‘launched’ by Ronald Kibuule, the Minister of Youth and Children Affairs, in Jinja district on 16 June, to mark the Day of African Child.
Minister Kibuule said: “Children with disabilities…who are below 18 years face quite a number of problems, which the government is trying to address, and we need to reflect on what we can do [for them] to overcome them.
“I want to assure our children across the country that the government is increasingly prioritizing you and your needs. I am happy really with SUNRISE-OVC and with all our dear donor countries who consistently show the love of brotherhood and sisterhood. I am committed to this cause because, if each one of us does our part well, we will produce a more perfect Uganda.
“All actors must use the existing positive legal and policy environment to promote the rights of children with disabilities. Use this time to reflect and act and serve these vulnerable children.
“I would like to appeal to each one of us to change their attitudes and stop stigmatizing and discriminate children with disabilities [and] HIV/AIDS, and also support the active meaningful participation of children with disabilities in communities in order to build their self-esteem.”
The minister pledged to tighten monitoring of children’s programmes to ensure reduced vulnerabilities of children with disabilities among others.
The 2012 theme for Day of African Child was The rights of children with Disabilities: The duty to protect, Respect, Promote and Fulfil . This theme was selected by the Africa Union in order to bring to the fore access to rights and other issues surrounding people and children with disabilities across the continent. Uganda has made the Day of African child celebrations part of its national activities to mark 50 years of independence.
The minister officially opened the SUNRISE-OVC project with USAID ‘s deputy on HIV/AIDS Tamika Allen. Allen said she was pleased with the government and partners for the achievements made by the project so far.
For Children with HIV, SUNRIOSE-OVC, with other organisations, has disseminated information keeping on antiretroviral medication, the need for mothers to visit antenatal services for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, plus the importance of testing for HIV and TB. Parents or guardians are also encouraged to take good care of their children by giving them support and courage.
SUNRISE-OVC has managed to reach more than 2,000 vulnerable HIV positive patients and their families in different communities.
‘’SUNRISE-OVC project works with 80 districts in Uganda and in March this year, the project hit the mark of 72 districts that map service coverage and empower communities to plan and respond to the needs of vulnerable children. So, as USA Agency for International Development, we are certainly happy to be funding such achievements,” Allen said.
In 1990, Uganda ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of a Child and its optional protocols, and in 2008, Uganda also ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. By doing so, Uganda committed itself to accord the same rights to persons and children with disabilities that it does to other citizens in the country.
- Children participating
- children with Sunrise chief of party Grace Mayanja,Tamika Allen, USAID 's Deputy Team Leader on HIV/AIDS
- Sign language children also participated