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Moroto Orphanage Turned into Child Labour Center

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.
Some of the orphans at the center

Audio 3

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.  

Agnes 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 their donors. 

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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. 

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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 orphanage. 

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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.