Sakiya is a small rural community situated a few miles from Mbale which benefits from a very active church-led programme for local children. During the school term, the children gather together every Saturday for Bible teaching, singing, playing games, counselling and the essential cup of maize porridge served in a plastic cup from a large bucket!
The project began in 2004 when a lady called Sarah, who was widowed and HIV+ve, and who was being supported by UWCM, decided she wanted to do something to help the many young children who were orphaned due to AIDS and were in a very poor state. Sarah used to welcome them to her home and compound and gave them a mug of porridge and just gave them time – love – cared for them – counselled them. As the number of children grew, the local church got involved and it is now run by Pastor Matiya and members of the church – including Sarah!
Currently about 300 children & young people are registered with the project. During school holidays, the children meet more frequently as the church grounds provide a safe place for them to come and play. Uganda Concern UK has been supporting the project for many years by sending funds for porridge, school exercise books, play equipment, Bibles and sometimes individual educational sponsorship. In 2014, a toilet block with 2 pit latrines was built with donations from UCUK supporters.
Testimony of one of the parents: Musibikha Jenipher is a mother of 6 children and before some of her children joined Sakiya Prayer and Porridge Project, she said: They were sorrowful i.e. were lonely, could struggle to get food, had no clothing and bedding and would always be sent back home from school due to lack of scholastic materials like books. But after joining the project, their lives have changed. They have been loved, have friends, the scholastic materials have helped them be in school and having a porridge meal has improved the health of my children and they look nice now. As a parent I really appreciate the church activities and other learning sessions because their behaviour has changed and no cases of misconduct have been reported.
As Trustees of UCUK, we usually visit this project every January and have a great time playing with the children even though the sheer number of them can feel a bit overwhelming! It is so encouraging to see how such a modest but regular donation is having such a positive effect within the whole community.