Information obtained by URN shows that CRO is facing financial challenges since several donors have pulled out. A source privy to the workings of CRO told URN on condition of anonymity so as to speak freely that CRO’s head office building along Bishop Wasikye road in Mbale City has been leased off to YY Coaches and Courier Services.
There is uncertainty over the future of dozens
of street children in Mbale district following their eviction from the Child
Restoration Outreach-CRO youth Center. CRO is a Non-Governmental Organization, which
caters for the welfare of street children and operates branches in Jinja, Lira
and Masaka districts.
CRO was established in 1992 by a group of committed
Christian leaders following instability in Teso and Karamoja Sub-regions to
address the problem of street children. However,
the organisation has been struggling to operate
since the demise of its co-founder and National Coordinator, Christine Kamiti
in July last year.
Information obtained by URN shows that CRO is
facing financial challenges since several donors have pulled out. A
source privy to the workings of CRO told URN on condition of anonymity so as to speak freely that CRO’s head office
building along Bishop Wasikye road in Mbale City has been leased off to YY
Coaches and Courier Services.
According to the source, CRO has stopped
providing meals to street children and suspended their school sponsorship. In
her June 24th, 2020 letter, Naomi
Watiti, the Acting CRO National Coordinator instructed the street children to
vacate the youth center premises not later than July 10th, 2020,
saying they want to use it for office space.
“It is therefore important to plan to vacate
the premises as soon as possible. We would like to carry out some few
renovations to enable work of CRO National offices and CRO Mbale project to get
on as smoothly as possible” the letter addressed to each student at the center
reads in part.
URN has also learnt that the organization has
laid off most of the staff at all its branches leaving only two workers. Moses Bwayo, the CRO Mbale Branch Manager, says
there are a lot of things that are not going well in the organization, which
need to be addressed. He however, declined to divulge details, saying some of
the issues are sensitive to be discussed in the media.
//Cue in: “Of course as of…
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The alumni of CRO have petitioned the Board of
Trustees, the National and Local Boards demanding for a meeting to discuss the
issues pertaining the day to day running of the organization.
In their July 1st, 2020 letter, the Alumni
argue that since the demise of their National coordinator, there have been many
changes that have affected the normal operations of CRO and put the organization
in disrepute and uncertainty prompting donors to withdraw funding.
According to the alumni, donors have since
resorted to supporting the children directly at personal level. Ronald Wash joined
CRO in 2002 and is a third year law student at Islamic University in Uganda.
He accuses the Simon Peter Emiau led CRO board and
acting National Coordinator, Naomi Watiti for orchestrating plans to chase the
children with intentions of disposing of the organization’s assets.
the children are losing hope in the organisation that has helped many of them
to gain hope and achieve their dreams.
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Derrick Mutuuba, a beneficiary of CRO says most
of the organization’s major activities have grounded to a halt and that the
contracts of most employees were terminated indefinitely. He says most of the
children returned to the streets after they were asked to vacate CRO premises.
//cue in: “They also closed…
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Beatrice Akello, the former Manager CRO Lira
Branch says since Kamiti’s demise, a lot of things have changed right from the
head office to the branches, adding that the person who took over from the
deceased wasn’t ready and didn’t know
how to manage it.
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However, Naomi Watiti, the Acting CRO National
Coordinator dismissed claims that they are evicting children from their
premises, saying those behind the rumors are displeased with her appointment.
She explains that they only asked the children
to vacate the youth Center and move to other premises she didn’t reveal because
they wanted to set up their offices after renting out the offices on Bishop
Wasikye road to raise money to support their activities.
Watiti also explained that most of
the workers laid off were on projects that have since ended while others lost
their jobs resulting from the effects of the Covid19
//Cue in: “And because we…
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Simon Peter Emiau, the CRO National Board
Chairperson declined to speak to our reporter when contacted on phone on
Tuesday. “Where did you get my number and where did you get those issues? By
the way am in a meeting I will call you after,” he said before hanging up.
He however, didn’t get back to our reporter as
promised. He made his phone busy when
URN tried to reach him again to get his side of the story.
More than 13,000 street children have through
CRO since its establishment 20 years ago.