By Our Reporter
WAKISO, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA]
Scores of children drawn from war-torn Luwero Triangle have sought refuge at a new orphanage, in Kayanja Kiruhura, thanks to the efforts of Pastor Noar Kamanzi of Upward Church in Namasuba, Wakiso.
The psychological effect of orphanhood remains a huge challenge in most Africa countries ravaged by war and diseases. Studies on orphaned children have not examined the psychological impact.
Adopting parents and schools have not provided the emotional support these children often need. Most adopting parents lack information on the problem and are therefore unable to offer emotional support; and schoolteachers do not know how to identify psychological and social problems and consequently fail to offer individual and group attention.
The concept that Pastor Kamanzi uses for supporting over 80 children in the Kayanja school sounds different. Kamanzi utilizes the locus of control to show the relationship between the environment and individuals’ assessment of their ability to deal with it and to adjust behavior.
Most orphans risk powerful cumulative and often negative effects as a result of parents’ death, thus becoming vulnerable and predisposed to physical and psychological risks. The children were capable of distinguishing between their quality of life when their parents were alive and well, when they became sick, and when they eventually died.
Most children lost hope when it became clear that their parents were sick, they also felt sad and helpless. When they were adopted, many of them felt angry and depressed. Children living with Pastor Kamanzi show a great sign of happiness in the schools constructed in Kiruhura and Mbarara districts.
These children are now more externally oriented than those who lived with their widowed mothers, back in Luwero.
Teachers, and helpers in these schools have been retrained in diagnosing psycho-social problems and given skills to deal with them. The guardians have received short courses in community development, and in problem identification and counselling.
Kamanzi who has spread his Upward churches in scores of other African countries such as Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and South Sudan, has more plans of scaling up across Africa. “We have planted several churches in Uganda, but that aside, we are also supporting scores of refugees from the DRC with relief items,” said Kamanzi.
Batwa Empowerment in Burundi
Pastor Kamanzi has also spread his wings outside Uganda, in Burundi, where he has been empowering the marginalized Batwa people in this mountainous nation. ‘We felt they (Batwa) were being marginalized, we came in as a church and supported them with structures to live in and relief items like food.
Pastor Kamanzi is optimistic his vision of supporting scores of orphaned and vulnerable children will spread across the the entire continent soon.