Arua, Uganda is situated in northwest Uganda, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and forty-five miles from South Sudan. Arua has a heartbreaking history. In addition to suffering under British colonialism and a twenty year civil war, Arua has suffered other hardships. Idi Amin, the former president of Uganda and known as the “Butcher of Uganda,” was from the area, and after he was overturned, entire villages in Arua were slaughtered for revenge. In the past decade, Arua was terrorized by terrorist Joseph Koney, leader of the “Lord’s Resistance Army.” Since Koney was driven out of Uganda, relative peace and stability has been returning to Arua. Many people have returned to their homes, trying to rebuild their lives from nothing.
A typical home in Ewuata village consists of a dirt floor, brick and mud walls, and a thatched roof with no running water or electricity. Most of the families live in extreme poverty, and survive by being subsistence farmers. Those that are fortunate to have a job most commonly work as a day laborer, where the average wage is $2 a day. Many children in this village do not attend school. Government supported schools in Uganda are struggling and require school fees which are not possible for many of these families. In addition, many schools are too far away to walk, and at an unsafe distance for young children to attend. The culture of a nuclear family is not as strong there, as women have very little rights, and many children live with a single parent, or other relative. With a violent history, adverse economic conditions, rampent diseases, and broken families, the children of this area have almost everything stacked against them. This is where we work.