At Guiding Light Orphans (GLO), we strive to improve health and well-being for as many people as possible. But we never forget that we exist because one single life touched another single life in a profound way.
Therefore, to honor the importance and potential for life-changing good in every individual, we are committed to providing what assistance we can when we encounter someone in unique and special need. We currently have two special projects: Taking care of young Christine Paska and our Girl Empowerment Project. You can read more about each of our special projects below.
The Women and GIRLs EMPOWERMENT PROJECT
GLO’s mission goes beyond supplying medical services. We strive to empower women and girls by giving them an opportunity to learn a trade and equip them with entrepreneurial skills and experience necessary to take concrete steps towards becoming self-sufficient, self- fulfilled, productive members of society.
While GLO initially focused on addressing maternal and child health and other issues by strengthening access to healthcare in a partnership with Masindi Hospital, GLO quickly discovered that poverty was the primary barrier for families to sustain themselves and keep their kids in school. Epileptic patients receiving treatment at GLO clinic were in need of better nutrition and a reliable source of income for their families.
High school girls missed out on school at least one week every month because of their menstrual cycles. Monthly menstruation means that thousands of school girls in Uganda skip up to 20% of class time with more than half of them dropping out before taking their primary school exiting examinations. The lack of sanitary supplies, coupled with other factors like the absence of clean water or sanitary facilities for girls in many schools, is responsible for the drop-out rate which even affects for those living on less than $2.00/ day. They simply cannot afford to buy mainstream sanitary products due to the extreme poverty which puts the girls at risk of school dropout, early marriages, or social marginalization. The worst case scenario is for a girl to stay at home from school because they have no access to anything. At-risk women and girls are more likely to drop out of school due to lack of educational supplies like uniforms, early pregnancy, or diseases. Women and girls' have no access to individual interests or career goals; or industry-specific vocational training programs.
Upwards of 10,000 young women and girls in Nyantonzi Parish of Uganda are disconnected with no mentorship programs, no vocational training and ill-prepared for work or higher education.
After a four year successful program of recruiting, training, equipping and supporting our Community Health Workers who have become our eyes and ears in transforming Nyantonzi Parish, we believe it is time to apply these same skills, experience and passion towards helping a larger percentage of our disconnected women and girls forge positive futures.
The SHE GLO’s project provides a comprehensive Vocational Enterprise Training program linking education, meaningful employment, and mentoring for Nyantonzi Community’s most at risk adolescents. We believe that substantive, supported life skills can bepowerful catalysts.
SHE GLO’s will play a unique role in the landscape of services available to adolescents from Nyantonzi hard to reach under-resourced villages.
Supported, individually tailored internships, job readiness training, job placements and partnerships, micro-business development, group savings and loans, can be critical in building women and girls' motivation to pursue higher education and better employment.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
With your generous donations, we can solve a monthly challenge with a sustainable solution for girls to stay in school with wash and dry reusable pads and underwear for an entire year.
We also want to provide them with the uniforms, school supplies, and tuition that their families don’t have the money for. We want to give them whatever they need to stay in school and hopefully escape the poverty they live in with the goal of them becoming productive and successful in their futures.
The total for supplying each of our 65 female students with a pair of shoes, stockings, a school uniform, and a backpack with sanitary supplies would cost about $3,900.
Tuition for all 65 students would cost $4,900 for a full year of schooling.
By donating $30, you will provide one student with a pair of shoes, stockings, and a school uniform OR you will provide one student with a backpack and a sanitary kit that will last them one year.
By donating $75, you will provide one student with their school tuition for one full year
By donating $300, you will provide five girls with a pair of shoes, stockings, a school uniform, a backpack, and a sanitary kit for one year
By donating $750, you will provide ten girls with tuition for schooling for one full year
We met our first case at one of our medical camps. Christine Paska is a young girl, who was five years old when we met her, from Nyantonzi village. She could not walk or talk, and she spent much of her day crying out in pain. We learned that she was born with spina bifida.
Complications during surgery for the condition when she was just an infant left her incontinent and unable to walk. She developed devastating wounds on her backside as she could only move by pulling herself across the ground.
First her mother, then her father, abandoned Christine because they were unable to cope with the difficulties of meeting her daily needs. She was taken in by her 54-year-old grandmother, Elizabeth, who provided her with what care she could. But Christine was socially and emotionally isolated, and physically deteriorating.
As a first step, we enlisted the help of the District Hospital to do a comprehensive assessment of Christine. They created a program of treatment for her that included:
GLO raised $2,000 specifically to fund Christine’s extensive treatment. Then we had to address how to fund the long term care Christine would need. Christine’s grandmother, Elizabeth, proposed a unique solution. She asked us to help her buy a few chickens. Elizabeth explained that she wanted to help pay for Christine's medical care herself, and that by selling eggs, she could earn the money to do that. We were excited that Elizabeth took the initiative to start a chicken project that would help support her granddaughter.
Christine was taken to CORSU, a hospital in the capital city, Kampala, that specializes in rehabilitation for conditions like Christine’s. After four months of intensive rehabilitation at the hospital, they determined that she needed to come back every couple months to be checked up on and to be given some further rehabilitation to help her with her movement and her speech.
Since her first visit and all the others since, Christine has learned to communicate using sign language, received some education, and the wounds on her backside have healed completely thanks to the doctors at the hospital and her grandmothers constant care at home.
Within months, Christine’s condition improved dramatically. She is bright, happy child, who can hear, is learning to communicate through sign language, gaining independence with a wheel chair of her own, and even starting to use a walker. She still has a long way to go physically. But she has already transformed from a child who wept constantly due to chronic pain, into a girl who always has a smile on her face.
She brings hope and tremendous joy to all the lives she touches – in her village, at the hospital, and especially to all of us at GLO.
Multiple surgeries and treatments
Physical rehabilitation and speech therapy
Medical equipment including a wheel chair and other supplies
Post-surgery follow up visits
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Every few months, GLO arranges for a car to go pick up Christine and her grandmother to take them on their 6 hour journey to CORSU Hospital, where she stays a few weeks getting medical care and some developmental care. Her initial care was quite costly, but now that she has recovered so well, it costs approximately $2000 per year for Christine’s occasional trips back to CORSU Hospital.
By donating $38, you will provide Christine with care at CORSU Hospital for 1 week
By donating $166, you will provide Christine with care at CORSU Hospital for 1 month
By donating $1000, you will provide Christine with care at CORSU Hospital for 6 months