The Impact Uganda program focuses on helping street kids get off the streets and find hope and a future by providing housing, a sense of family, and discipleship.
Jinja Connection provides education and shelter for full-time and part-time street kids. Our drop-in centre offers a safe space for kids to come and get something to eat and build relationships. Staff and volunteers also target street kids who have little or no education and provide schooling for them along with a co-op program for skills training. Whenever possible, street kids are reunited with their families through a process of reconciliation.
Since its beginning in 2012, Jinja Connection has enrolled 270 children, approximately 50% of whom were resettled into forever homes. Families and communities across 15 districts and 26 tribes have been positively affected as children have been brought back home. Primary and Secondary schools in the Jinja District and beyond have also been impacted, as children have returned to school. Masese Co, an elementary school in the Jinja District, currently has approximately 30 children enrolled who came from Jinja Connection.
Detailed Implementation Plan
Home Tracing and Resettlement
When a child decides they want to be resettled with relatives or in a long-term home, Jinja Connection’s social workers begin the process of identifying those who may be willing and capable of bringing the child into their home. Once the home situation has been assessed and approved, counselling with the family and child is carried out in preparation and anticipation of the child returning home. The child receives clean clothes, medical attention and then heads out on a journey towards their home village and family!
Enrollment in School
If follow-ups and communications with the family indicate the resettlement is going smoothly, Jinja Connection then works with the family to enroll the child in the next semester of school and supports them to share school costs and fees. The social worker may also go with the parents to meet with school leaders and teachers prior to the child’s return to school. Jinja Connection takes pride in building relationships with local schools, one school currently educates approximately 30 resettled Jinja Connection students.
Alternative Settlement Options
Where resettlement isn’t possible, or where a child requires special care, Jinja Connection pursues alternative settlement options. In the past Jinja Connection has been able to refer children to residence, medical and drug rehabilitation programs, or to place older children in Jinja Connection-supported peer-led households.
New Activity – Volunteer Street Walks
At Jinja Connection a team of volunteers has been organized to walk the streets in search of children who could use the support, love and service of the Jinja Connection staff. These volunteers canvas the neighbourhoods and encourage street-connected children to seek out the help that they need.
Advocating for the Release of Imprisoned Children and Fighting for Justice
In addition to its rehabilitation and resettlement efforts, a positive relationship with local police and the national juvenile prison allows Jinja Connection to advocate for the release of street-connected children who are imprisoned or in custody. Over the past six months through the support of Impact Uganda Jinja Connection has been able to pursue justice for a former Jinja Connection child named Umaru. He was the victim of a brutal crime and the staff and support community have rallied around his family to ensure they receive justice in Ugandan courts.
Pastoral Training Centres
Two training centres have started in Uganda that focus on providing Gospel centred and community focused education to pastors. Since these training centres are located in the neighbourhoods that these pastors live and work in they are able to continue their ministry and family life while studying.
The two sites are located in Kasese and Kampala and are led by Pastors Ben and Sam. Both Ben and Sam have had the opportunity to travel to Kenya for training in leadership and in the curriculum so that they are able to faithfully expand the work of God’s kingdom through this ministry.
Stories of Transformation
Emmanuel, 12 years old, was resettled after participating in Jinja Connection’s rehabilitation program for 6 months. He had ended up on the streets for almost a year after his mother was imprisoned for allegedly burning someone’s home (she was later released).
Emmanuel’s resettlement was conducted by Ephraim, our new social worker. The whole family was happy to see Emmanuel home. We will continue to follow up on Emmanuel and help enroll him in school again.
The Jinja Tea Fundraiser was a huge success this year and was well supported by the Partnership Community and others in the Bowmanville area.
Congratulations to the Jinja Connection leader Allison as she visited Canada and got married~
In October, a team from C4 Church in Ajax will be visiting both Jinja Connection and the Pastoral Training Centres. This team will have a celebration for all the Jinja Connection children, past and present, as well as host a retreat for the staff. When this team visits the pastoral training centres they will encourage and support these new ministries through prayer, food and fellowship!
Impact Uganda has partnered with Impact Kenya-PACE’s local partner in Nyahururu, Kenya to deliver curriculum and training for two pastoral training centres in Uganda. One centre is in Kampala and the other is in Kasese.