By the time of the URN visit the Orphanage on Monday, just few minutes to 02:00pm, the cook was preparing porridge for the children. Children, teachers and some support staff found at the school, said the porridge had delayed due to absence of firewood.
Orphans at Yesu Akwagala Orphanage in Rupa Sub
County Moroto district have to work hard for their survival. The children aged
4-15 years live a pathetic life at the orphanage also operating as a school.
They are engaged in garden work twice or thrice
a day and sometimes survive on porridge or no meal in a day. The
children collected from different parts of Karamoja wake up early in the
morning to do some chores before they enter class or eat any food.
By the time of the URN visit the Orphanage on
Monday, just few minutes to 02:00pm, the cook was preparing porridge for the
children. Children, teachers and some support staff found at the school,
said the porridge had delayed due to absence of firewood.
They also revealed that it could be the only
meal for the day, making the cook to delay it to cover the gap.
Longole, one of the teachers in the school, says the children eat once a day,
depending on the availability of food.
When asked about the garden work, she said that
children dig twice a day.
Jackson Ilukol, the head teacher at the Orphanage,
says there are about 150 children including 98 girls in the school. He revealed
that whenever there is food, children eat twice a day. According to Ilukol, children only sleep hungry
when there is a communication gap between the management of the orphanage and
// Cue in “When there is…
Cue out…at least something”//
Some children are malnourished due to inadequate food. Others
have developed health complications like skin rush and scabies, diarrhea and
regular malaria due to absence of mosquito nets in the dormitories.
At Rupa HC11, the health workers who preferred anonymity
because they are not allowed to speak to the media, say children seek treatment
on their own, walking a distance of more than 1km to the health center.
//Cue in “Even the food…
Cue out…as they are”//
At the sub county headquarters, Anthony Abbot, the Community
Development Officer, says they don’t have working documents with the orphanage.
He notes that the facility doesn’t meet the basic requirements for an
// cue in “Children are living…
Cue out…even don’t feed”//
Attempts to get a comment from Pastor Grace Anyait, the
manager of the orphanage were futile as she was away by the time of our visit.
Her known phone number has equally been inaccessible.
Joseph Oputa, the Moroto District Education Officer and the
Officer in Charge of Rupa Police Station, say they will investigate the Orphanage
and take action.
The orphanage was reportedly established in 2014.
A boda-boda cyclists only identified as Angella told URN that many children
have fled the orphanage due to poor management.