The Pearl of Africa
Uganda is a country teeming with adventure and culture. It is the home to Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in surface area of the world and source of the Nile River, the world’s longest river. The Nile and many other lakes and rivers are important, life-sustaining resources for the country. Winston Churchill referred to Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ due to its lush vegetation and wide variety of wildlife. The country's abundant forests and rich natural environment are home to many animals such as mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, rhinoceroses, antelope and hundreds of bird species.
HIV/AIDS and Malaria have devastated the country over the years. When Museveni became president, Uganda had one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. Owing to the efforts of an educational awareness campaign to educate and warn citizens of the danger of AIDS and how to avoid it, the rate of new infections has fallen dramatically. The United States Central Intelligence Agency now estimates that HIV is prevalent in 7% of adults, about 1.5 million people, ranked number 10 in comparison to other countries of the world.
Malaria is the number one killer in Africa which is widely spread through infected mosquitoes. Malaria particularly affects children, who are more likely to die from the disease than adults. It is estimated that up to 70,000 to 100,000 Ugandan children die from malaria every year. Malaria and HIV/AIDS have had detrimental effects in limiting the average life-span of an individual in Uganda.
Some projects our HELP teams in Uganda have accomplished recently include:
- Installation of water filters providing clean access to water
- Eye & dental camps
- Cataract surgery removals
- Instructional courses at elementary and middle schools on topics of math, science, leadership, sex education, dance, and music
- School construction
- Girl empowerment campaigns
- Assisting vulnerable groups with income-generating activities (small business or chicken coops for schools)
- HIV testing
- Crafts and jewelry making
- Latrine construction
- Public health educational outreaches based on local health concerns
- Prenatal classes
- Village savings and loans groups with accompanying business classes
- Setting up sport teams/camps for children in the slums
- Health clinic, hospital and orphanage support
- Immunization outreaches