A Child’s Voice in Uganda
Freda Luzinda, Child Advocacy Africa
Child Advocacy Africa (CAA) works to protect vulnerable children in Uganda, particularly focusing on the needs of institutionalized children. Freda Luzinda founded CAA in 2012, seeking to help Ugandan children in need find their “forever families” through adoption and to work against inter-country adoption fraud and corruption.
Freda explains that CAA is trying hard to provide some early childhood learning experiences for these very disadvantaged children and they need a lot of support. In 2016, CAA rescued 80 children and arenow helping 102. The children are between 2 and 6 years old. Freda describes the circumstances from which the children were rescued:
"The area of Uganda is still suffering the consequences of the National Resistance Movement civil war (1981 and 1986). The war contributed to increased poverty in the area and many people who were involved in agricultural activities were displaced or killed.
The war weakened the social-economic structures of this community. HIV/AIDS became more prevalent and the number of widows and orphans subsequently increased. The situation in this community continued to deteriorate, with households failing to meet basic needs because of low incomes. Poverty and illiteracy led to high levels of vulnerability. There is no kindergarten within reachable distance; nearby schools are between 3 to 6 miles away from the community. The main mode of transport is walking.
These circumstances have allowed child traffickers to target this population. We need to break the cycle of vulnerability as we pursue justice in the court system and rehabilitation for the children."
Child Advocacy Africa objectives:
- To protect children from finding themselves placed in alternative care unnecessarily.
- To support efforts to keep children in, or return them to, the care of their family. If these endeavors fail, we advocate to find other appropriate and permanent solutions for children – which includes adoption.
- To ensure that the most suitable forms of alternative care are identified and provided for children while permanent solutions are being sought, under conditions that promote the child’s full development.
- To advocate for orphans and vulnerable children and ensure that every institutionalized child is taken care of in accordance with the Law.
- To ensure that out-of-home care for children is provided in appropriate conditions and in response to the child’s rights, needs and best interests.
- To assist and encourage the Government of Uganda to better implement its responsibilities and obligations in these respects, bearing in mind the economic, social and cultural conditions prevailing.
- To guide policies, decisions and activities of all concerned with social protection and child welfare, in both the public and the private sectors, including civil society.