World Education is dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through education, and economic and social development programs.

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HIV Prevention Program Helps Struggling Family Get Back on Their Feet

A jovial Joyce (left) with her newborn goat that she received with the help of a community volunteer.
After her husband abandoned her several years ago, Joyce, a 42-year-old mother in Western Uganda, was left with no rights to the family's property and no financial support. Without an income, Joyce was unable to support her five children. As a result, her children had to drop out of school and contribute to the household income by finding work in other people's gardens. Joyce constantly worried that her daughters would be approached by older men looking for a young girl to marry or would be tempted by offers to trade sex for desperately needed money to meet their most basic needs.

When Joyce heard about World Education's Bantwana Initiative, her interest was immediately piqued. Joyce saw Bantwana as a good fit because the program focused on helping vulnerable families like hers access opportunities to learn practical skills. These training opportunities have the additional benefit of bringing adults in the community together to address barriers related to income-generating projects. Bantwana also helps parents honestly discuss—and respond to—the risks that children like Joyce's daughters face regarding HIV exposure and exploitation.

To ensure that the most vulnerable families are identified, Bantwana works closely with local councils charged with overseeing and monitoring services extended to families that live in their communities. After Joyce's family was identified by the local council, she was linked to a Bantwana-trained community volunteer that acts as a touchstone for parents like her. The volunteer visits Joyce monthly to help her identify priorities for the household and take action.

For example, Joyce's volunteer helped her plan for and successfully petition the local probation office for land. When the request was granted, Joyce received one acre of land to build a home and start a small farm. The volunteer also helped Joyce and her children learn about HIV prevention and supported them to go for HIV testing. Fortunately, Joyce and her children all tested negative.

Joyce also took advantage of Bantwana-supported skills training to learn how to raise, care for, and sell goats, as well as grow vegetables in ways that would produce greater yields.

With all of the support given, Joyce now considers her community volunteer a good friend.

Joyce is now breeding the goats to sell, and with the income she makes, she hopes to buy a new roof for her home. She also recently planted the seedlings for her farm. The community volunteer will continue to support her efforts as she improves her skills and stabilizes the income and food she needs to support the basic needs of her family.

"Now I own four goats, my younger children are back in school, and my two sons are able to find work following the training," says Joyce. "I finally can see my family's future looking bright."