Olupe Village, Bisina Parish, Ngariam Sub County, is a close-knit community in Katakwi District, Uganda with a strong support system expanding beyond the home borders. This collective effort has played a pivotal role in reshaping the lives of HIV-positive children like 12-year-old Alfa enrolled on the OVC Program and safeguarding against new infections.
Alfa was raised by his father and grandmother after his mother had left home due to her husband’s violent nature. She was not the first woman to leave him, as two others had done so before. The burden of caring for the children was left to the grandmother, as the military man was often absent, residing in Mubende with no support sent to the children at home. Despite the challenges, the elderly caregiver endured, driven by her love for her grandchildren and her refusal to see them suffer while she was still alive.
Life in Alfa’s household was filled with fear and violence whenever his father returned. He had a history of beating children and mistreating his own mother, who was caring for his children. Even the village authorities and clan leaders were afraid of his violent tendencies, and they had witnessed his behaviour mirrored in his late father.
Endurance can only go so far when lives are at stake. The grandmother eventually left home after her son threatened her, leaving the children in the care of no one but the grace of God and the kindness of well-wishers. This forced the children to scatter in different directions, seeking refuge in any place that presented them with any solace.
Alfa, who was HIV-positive, was identified when he began missing medical appointments at Ngariam HC III. In his attempt to escape the violence at home, he found himself in the home of a stranger in another sub-county, Omodoi. This move, while a desperate attempt at safety, was characterized by uncertainties.
Alfa’s plight won the sympathy of not only USAID OVC NE Activity but the entire community. He had endured abuse from his father and the tragic loss of his brother to malaria due to neglect and a lack of care. The Activity, local leaders, and the Community Development Officer (CDO) joined forces to mediate and resolve the family’s issues, but Alfa’s father’s promises proved empty and unfulfilled.
Alfa, determined to escape suffering and the possibility of meeting his brother’s fate, opted to leave home and seek refuge with a Good Samaritan in Omodoi. Through a series of verifications and interactions, it became evident that Alfa would never return to the home he had fled.
With the support of the social worker and the cooperation of the new village, Alfa was transferred from Ngariam to Toroma HC IV, ensuring he could access his essential HIV medication. The presence of the community system, including USAID OVC NE Activity and the caring Good Samaritan, transformed Alfa’s life. He now enjoys a life free from confinement and torture, accessing his medication easily from Toroma HC IV.
Alfa has been enrolled in Amusia Primary School, a testament to the collaborative effort of the community, including the dedicated Activity district staff who supplement the caregiver’s contributions.