Why We Do It
Children, eager to learn, walk for miles under the equatorial sun for a chance to learn and study. They sell bananas or carve avocado pits in their spare time to pay for school fees. And yet the cost of education and the need for help to provide food and basic necessities for the family cause 75% of children to drop out of school before grade 6.
Personal health and well-being has a domino effect. Many people do not notice this because their own health care services and delivery are excellent. But here in Uganda, you get sick easier and stay sick longer. Most children have limited access to health care. And so if you’re sick you don’t go to school, you don’t work, you can’t take care of your family, and your life comes to a standstill. That’s why Sixty Feet’s medical care program is a core element of what we do.
Many children who end up in the facilities have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, and have never been taught or modeled Christian values. They’ve grown up with little or no spiritual nurturing, and it’s left a gaping void in their young lives. Without the knowledge that Christ loves them and has a plan for their lives, imprisoned children have little reason to hope for anything better – and no real reason to change.
An intact family is a key indicator in escaping extreme poverty.Family take care of one other and provide for each other – both materially and emotionally. But what happens when you are a child and you have lost your family through sickness and death? Or you’ve been abandoned? Or your family breaks apart?
Every year, hundreds of children in Uganda are swept off the streets for begging and locked up in the national children’s prison or remand centers. Many children arrive through the juvenile justice system prepared to serve their sentence. On occasion, a parent or step parent will bring a child and leave him at the facility so she or he can be punished for something done at home.
The rights of the poor in many parts of the world are frequently trampled on and ignored. Access to the legal system for all is a principle that is espoused, but often left undone. Uganda, as a former British Colony, has much in common with the legal system in many parts of the world. But while the right laws and legal processes are in place, Uganda has a difficult time executing them. Whether it be lack of resources or corruption, the poor, and in particular children, lack access to the courts and the legal system.