Together with numerous friends and supporters, social worker Remmie and her friend Barbara, who worked as a nurse, founded the Purpose Uganda BabiesHome in March 2009. For Remmie it was a dream come true, although at an earlier time than she had planned. She had seen so many abandoned and neglected children in her life and wanted to help. Remmie was planning to eventually open her own orphanage. The unexpected request of a woman suffering from aids, who asked Remmie to take care of her baby, marked the beginning of the BabiesHome-Project. In cooperation with Barbara, she opened her house and heart for abandoned and orphaned children.
In May 2009 four young German women spend between six months and a year as volunteers in Entebbe and met Remmie during a bus ride to the hospital. Remmie was riding the bus with two sick children and they started a conversation, after they decide to help Remmie out. They spend a lot of time at the orphanage and fell in love with the children and the project itself. As the family grew quickly, had to move into a bigger house and health care and basic needs of the babies had to be financed, the women agreed that they wanted to support Remmie and her project beyond their stay in Uganda. Back in Germany they founded a support group, which eventually grew into the German organization Abaana Uganda e.V.. The project has found more and more enthusiastic supporters over the years in Uganda, Germany and beyond.
Since the rather modest beginnings of Purpose Uganda BabiesHome a lot of things have changed, both in the home itself and in the lives of its founders. Barbara became a mother and left the BabiesHome for personal reasons and Remmie herself also has a wonderful daughter. Remmie is still the director of the BabiesHome, but got herself some help by hiring a home manager, who is managing the day-to-day activities.
Since August 2010, Purpose Uganda BabiesHome is registered as an Ugandan NGO. In February 2010 all orphanages were requested by the NGO board under the Ministry of Internal Affairs to register again. Since then Purpose Uganda BabiesHome has been in the re-registration process to renew the NGO status.
The main intention of Purpose Uganda BabiesHome is to provide abandoned and orphaned children with a (temporary) home. Most of the children living at the BabiesHome were in bad health due to their neglectful family situations. The first priority is to improve their health status and ensure their future well-being by giving them the love and affection they had usually been deprived of before. Once the basic needs of the children are secured, they are able to enter pre-school or, in case of the older children, attend primary school.
Nevertheless, an orphanage is never a sufficient alternative to a real family. Purpose Uganda BabiesHome is therefore trying to reintegrate children into their families, if they have suitable family members to take care of them, or is looking for foster or adoptive parents.
Purpose Uganda BabiesHome would not be running without their wonderful staff of aunties, who take care of the children and perform all kinds of housework-related duties. Security is provided by two guards. The BabiesHome is managed by a home manager and Remmie, who is the director. A social worker is organising community outreach projects and takes care of the administrative work. A number of volunteers, both from Uganda and abroad are helping out from time to time.
At the moment Purpose Uganda BabiesHome is exclusively funded by donations. The goal of the project is to become self-sufficient by creating a number of income generating properties. Purpose Uganda BabiesHome is constantly seeking ways to reduce monthly spending by using big rain water tanks, financing part of the rent by income generated through a guesthouse and by using energy friendly stoves for cooking. After having received a large donation by a German organization, a parcel of land was bought in October 2013, which is meant to provide a future home for the children.
Because school fees are very high in Uganda and don’t necessarily ensure a good education, Purpose Uganda BabiesHome opened its own pre-school at the end of 2012. Since February 2013 children of the project are taught by a private teaching staff. In May 2013 the first children, mainly from the direct neighbourhood in Bunono entered Purpose Uganda Pre-School. Their fees will allow the pre-school to become financially independent and to ensure a high quality education.
Tenants in Uganda are very poorly protected by existing property and renting laws. Insecurities regarding rental prices, as well as eviction notices are therefore high. Purpose Uganda BabiesHome is currently located on a rented property and is looking to relocate to self-owned property. A first step towards that goal was made in October 2013, when a parcel of land (3,5 acres) was bought with the financial assistance of German donors. Currently the land is used to grow vegetables and fruits. The vision is to start building a house on the land and to further expand farming activities and buying livestock. Any produce will be first used for consumption at Purpose Uganda BabiesHome and any remaining products will be sold for profit.
In 2010 Purpose Uganda BabiesHome started renting another building on the neighbouring compound, which is used as a guesthouse by both short-term visitors and long-term volunteers. The guesthouse in an income generating activity, because only two people staying at the guesthouse already ensure that the monthly rent of the whole project is met.