The Alternative

My friend and I sat in a hospital waiting room, waiting for some test results to come back. Around us were other women, also anxiously awaiting the results of their tests. Finally, the nurse came in, letting us know that my friend’s results were all clear and we could leave. My friend approached the reception desk and handed over her paperwork. “That comes to $600″. My mouth dropped. The lady processed the payment and let my friend know that she has been given a $200 rebate thanks to our public health system. We looked at each other, both a little shocked at how expensive it had been. “What would someone do if they couldn’t afford that?” I asked my friend. We knew the answer. I couldn’t have been more thankful in that moment for the privileges we both had.

It’s hard to imagine the alternative…

But I can. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve met a grandmother that cares for five children, because their mother (and her daughter) died of symptoms that were never seen to, tested or treated. I’ve met a toddler riddled with worms and lice, his mother unable to help his daily discomfort let alone dress him in a pair of clean underwear. I’ve met premature babies who were abandoned on hospital doorsteps by their mothers in the hope that someone will find them who can afford to care for them. My heart breaks for each of these mothers and grandmothers. Imagine not being able to treat your child’s wounds and illnesses? Imagine knowing that giving up your precious newborn baby was probably the closest chance they’d have at survival?

Can you imagine not being able to treat your child’s wounds and illnesses?

The per capita total expenditure on health in Uganda is $132.60 USD. This is the sum of public and private health expenditure in one year divided by the population (1). In Australia, we can easily spend that much money on one medical appointment. In a vulnerability survey Watoto conducted in Uganda, they found that 83% of the women earned less than $1 USD a day (2). It would take one of these women more than a year to pay for the tests my friend had in Australia and that is without even taking into account her other living expenses.

So where is the hope for vulnerable mothers in Uganda? Watoto has a program called Living Hope. In this program not only do some of Uganda’s most vulnerable women receive holistic care, as well as assistance for their families, but they also learn skills so that they can begin generating an income. The focus is giving these women a hand-up, not just meeting the need, but empowering each and every one of them with a hand up to reach their full potential.

We want to empower these women to care for their families and their communities.

This year 450 of mothers will graduate from Living Hope… how amazing is that? However, we do need your help. We’re going to empower each of them with the physical tools they need to begin generating an income by starting their own business. A local bread-making oven, ingredients and pans can empower a mother to start a business selling baked goods. A sewing machine enables a mother to start a tailoring business, fixing and sewing goods in her local community.

You can be a part of making a difference by donating to Living Hope through our Graduate to Greatness crowdfunding campaign.

I don’t’ know about you, but I don’t want the alternative for these women and their children. Let’s empower them to care for their families.

 Donate today at https://chuffed.org/project/graduate-to-greatness

 

1.    WHO. 2014. Global Health Observatory (GHO). (http://apps.who.int/ghodata/)

2.    Living Hope Vulnerability Survey of 490 Women. Conducted by Watoto in Uganda in 2015 across 20 locations in Uganda

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