Help us fight child abuse in schools

Help us fight child abuse in schools

The threat of abuse is very real for pupils in many Ugandan schools. You can help by getting your church to pray for our child protection work.

Imagine a classroom with 100 or more primary age schoolchildren in it. Put aside how crammed it might be and concentrate on this: more than two thirds of the children in front of you have been sexually abused by a male teacher, according to a Unicef survey. The percentage of children who have been caned is even higher, yet their abusers get away with the abuse, free to inflict suffering on a child in a place every child should feel safe: school.

The survey on the prevalence of abuse in Ugandan schools shows that people are aware of the abuse – but it still continues. Do not think it is going completely unchallenged though. Ugandan officials are making strides. And, with your support, BMS World Mission lawyer Linda Darby is working tirelessly in Gulu, northern Uganda, to change attitudes towards child protection in schools.

BMS mission worker Linda Darby guides teachers in child protection policy work
Linda Darby’s mission to tackle abuse in schools begins with training future nursery teachers about child protection.

Backed by local government, Linda has so far taken 21 schools through training on how abuse can be identified, reported and prevented. And the message of protecting children from sexual and physical abuse is not restricted to the school environment. Community leaders also attend the training, alongside the school’s senior staff – and ends with a school developing a child protection policy. With your prayers, we hope even more schools in Gulu will develop more effective child protection approaches.

“At first, people can be defensive, but as we explain the types of abuse, especially sexual, they realise it is happening and they are more open to listening,” says Linda. “This work is important because it is helping children thrive in school, and that will improve their circumstances in life.”

A BMS project worker helps teachers identify signs of child abuse
We’re helping teachers and community leaders in Gulu, Uganda, identify signs of child abuse.

The work Linda does in Uganda couldn’t happen without your prayer support. We encourage you and your church to please pray today for:

1. More local trainers to come forward to help Linda in her work. Pray for the right people, with the right skills, and with huge hearts to protect children from harm.

2. Energy, wisdom and strength for Linda in her work. Pray that she knows the encouragement of your prayers when she talks to schools about why child protection policies must be developed and put into practice.

3. The children who are being abused. Please pray for the abuse to stop, and that the children sense God’s love for them in their lives.

4. The adults who commit abuse. Pray that they understand the darkness of their actions and are guided towards a new life in which they never hurt a child again.

Through your prayers today, we believe that even more schools in Gulu will take child protection more seriously. We know it’s possible. You can play your part today in protecting children you will never meet.

Please pray.

If you’re praying for this Click here
icon

A tale of two villages

A tale of two villages:

providing clean water in Uganda

Disease, infection and chronic pain. All a result of drinking dirty water. For millions of people, unsafe water is all they have to drink. But thanks to your giving, boreholes in northern Uganda are providing clean water for hundreds of people, preventing illness and transforming communities.

Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours walking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water. Everyone deserves access to clean water, but the problem is so large, it can seem difficult to know what to do, or how to fix it. When faced with an issue like this, the best way to tackle it is to start small, working in village after village, providing safe water and preventing disease until one day, everyone has access. And that’s exactly what BMS is doing.

Child pumping water out a water pump in northern Uganda
Thanks to you, this borehole is providing clean water to the community in Abwoch.

In Abwoch and Pajaa, two villages in the north of Uganda, people didn’t have access to a safe supply of water. The main borehole in Abwoch was contaminated, and in Pajaa the nearest clean source was a half an hour’s walk away – most families had to make two to five trips per day, spending up to five hours fetching the water they needed. Disease was rife, all because of bacteria in the water.

But thanks to your support, this is no longer the case. BMS has drilled a borehole in Abwoch, and another in Pajaa, providing over 350 people with clean water, free from bacteria and infection.

A BMS-supported team ran tests on three local water sources: stream water, an existing borehole, and a borehole that they built. As you can see, the stream water and the existing borehole are full of bacteria, but the well they built is completely clean.

BMS environmental consultant Tim Darby gathered local leaders, church leaders and community members together in each village. They decided where the borehole would be built, and agreed to provide sand and gravel as resources to help construct it. The communities also agreed to provide accommodation, food, and water for the team drilling the hole and building the water pump.

In the space of seven days, the two boreholes were built, providing clean water for hundreds. A fence was built around each water pump, preventing animals from contaminating the supply.

The villagers were then taught hygiene skills, and elected a committee to help with maintenance and to ensure the water remained clean.

Both boreholes are free from bacteria, providing safe drinking water for the hundreds of people who use them. Charles Opiro, part of the borehole committee in Pajaa, says that people have not been sick from water-related diseases since the new water pump was built, as now they don’t have to drink water taken from puddles or dirty lakes.

A team learning how to use the village drill to dig a borehole.
Digging a borehole is exhausting work.

Having clean water is helping Pajaa community in other ways too. The boreholes are providing new economic opportunities for the community. Charles used the clean water to make bricks during the dry season, which he then sold to fund the school fees for his younger siblings. He’s also seen more women participate in the economy – his neighbour took her goods to sell at the market because she no longer had to spend such a long time collecting water.

Tim Darby, with his wife Linda and their two children, Annabelle and Elsa.
Tim Darby and his wife Linda, a BMS lawyer, live in Gulu in northern Uganda with their three children, Joshua, Annabelle and Elsa.

Your support for our work in Uganda is providing safe water to hundreds, preventing disease and saving lives. It’s transforming the way villages in northern Uganda operate. And the project has barely begun. “I just want to say thank you,” Tim says to our generous supporters. “You’ve enabled so many people to access clean water already. We’re so grateful.”

You can give now to support work like this around the world. Just click the big red button.

Inspired to give? Click Here
icon