Deposit protection fund donates items worth Shs 20 million to St. Jude Orphanage

GULU – The Deposit Protection Fund of Uganda (DPFU), a government agency that works in partnership with the various commercial banks in the country has donated items worth Shs 20 million to St. Jude Orphanage in Gulu district.

The items which were handed over to Archbishop John Baptist Odama on Friday included; 50 mattresses, 50 bed sheets and a commercial washing machine to support the vulnerable children in the centre.

About 20 children are being accommodated and supported at the St. Jude orphanage home.

The records indicate that the center has more than 180 children, most of whom were abandoned on the roadside, hospital and rubbish pits and were brought for care.

The Centre Manager, Josephine Ogweta told theCooperator in an interview that the centre is financially constrained.

He revealed that many of the partners who were supporting the centre turned away after the death of Brother Elio Groce, the Director of the foundation who succumbed to Covid 19 in November 2020.

The Chairman Board of the Orphanage Fr. Lawrence Michael Komakech says the organization is struggling to identify potential donors and tracing those who were directly supporting them through the late Fr. Elio.

“It hasn’t been easy after his departure but we believe that another door will open for the continuity of the organization,” Fr. Lawrence told theCooperator.

Though he could not give a distinction on the financial crisis the organization is grappling with, he only noted that funding has drastically dwindled from more than Shs 100 million previously to less than Shs 70 million of the annual budgets.

He also revealed that the organization has acquired close to 300 hectares of land in Nwoya district at Koch Amar for food crop production to mitigate the crisis.

“We don’t know when the donors will come but the most important thing is that we have learnt and we need to sustain our operation through farming,” he added.

Fr. Lawrence further revealed that whereas most of the children are abandoned due to domestic issues, few are children born in captivity who could not trace their origins and were denied by their closest relatives.

Helen Akidi Ojok, a psychosocial worker in the organization revealed that about 20 children are between 15 to 18 years.

Akidi explained that the children at that age should have been integrated to the community but that it is impossible as parents have continued to deny them for resettlement and rehabilitation.

Her counterpart Grace Akello described the situation as unfortunate for the society to deny their own children space for integration and resettlement.

“Some of them were brought to this centre from day one but now they have grown up and they keep asking for who their parents are and their whereabouts yet we can’t offer answers,” Akello recounts.

Mrs. Julia Clare Oyet, the Chief Executive Officer of the Deposit Protection Fund of Uganda told theCooperator in an interview that the centre was identified based on its vulnerability as resources dwindled for their continuous operations.

“We were concerned about the impact of the last devastating armed conflict and we saw this centre from its vulnerability and we couldn’t deny supporting it with the little we could,” Oyet explained.

She revealed that the support is part of the Shs 50 million annual budgets of the Social and Corporate Responsibility (CSR) to the community.

She further explained that Shs 30 million has been allocated to Mbale district to improve water and sanitation in the district.

Archbishop John Baptist Odama commended the support and appealed to the development partners to invest in the orphanage through provision of care to those who are regarded as underprivileged in the society.

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