We have the most incredible and inspiring people at a grassroots level who are running projects and creating change on a daily basis. It's important to highlight these individuals and give you a chance to learn a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes at Hope for Children. Here's a bit about our Uganda Social Work Coordinator, Andrew...
What is your name and how long have you worked at Hope for Children?
My name is Andrew Epenu and I will have worked with Hope for Children for 3 years in September 2018
Why did you apply for a job at Hope for Children?
I thought it would be a new challenge in my life. You see, prior to Hope for Children, I had been working with street children for 10 years. I thought of Hope as a place I could use my experience and newly acquired training to “repair the bridge, as opposed to picking children from the river”. Most of the children who choose or find themselves living on city streets is because of not being able to cope with family life in poverty.
Can you explain a bit about your role and responsibilities?
My role is to facilitate practical and emotional support to the children and families who are beneficiaries of Hope for Children in Uganda. I do this through counselling, home visits in the community and when the need arises I tap into the government structures around orphans and vulnerable children mandate, or I employ the use of current partnerships and build new ones.
What goes on in your typical working day?
Cup of coffee to get my head in the game. Check email and calendar for any urgent things to respond to. Then head out to attend to a matter in the community, school, or with the local community leaders in regard to child protection and or Hope work. I make sure that i talk to at least two children to find out where they are at in their lives, especially in copping or resilience. If they need counselling or a safe place to talk we set an appointment for this. Every day I think about a potential partner who could help consolidate the work that the Hope team does.
What has been your favourite moment working for Hope for Children so far?
In a general sense the moments when I realise how much these children go through and yet they wear a genuine smile and keep on with life. I also have to say that meeting Murielle (CEO) and watching her interact with African children during which time I was shadowing Matt Callanan and Adam Dickens (international filmmaker and photography volunteers), during the Head Held High appeal video/photo shoot, who are professionals I continue to learn from.
How do you think Hope for Children is making an impact on children in the community?
Children enrolled on the Walk to School program are evidently unique within their community, they don’t conform to the stereotypical “hood” behaviour, and these children are hungry to make their mark on society in spite of their background. To opt for school, let alone keep on attending the same, is not only brave but like swimming against the tide in a community like Namuwongo, big ups to Hope and all who support the work.
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Photo Credit: Adam Dickens, Taking Pictures, Changing Lives