Grandmothers Are Shaping Uganda’s Future

(NC) Imagine a life where a saucepan is your most treasured resource, where having access to a single a garden hoe can make a world of difference to your family’s livelihood, where that family consists of several orphaned grandchildren, many of whom are HIV positive. And you, an elderly grandmother, are the lynchpin to their survival.

Recognizing the role of grandmothers in the wake of the AIDS crisis, the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in Uganda has responded with innovative programs that transcend their basic needs. Grandmothers and the children in their care have access to microloans, support groups, and primary schools for their grandchildren to attend.

53-year old Jetu lives with two orphaned grandchildren, and cooks in a kitchen that’s so close to collapsing, she’s afraid to prepare food in it. Nyaka is in the process of building her a new kitchen, and is supplying hoes for farming to Jetu and her local group of grandmothers. They also give her support and education on how to look after her grandchildren.

85-year old Christina has suffered life of unimaginable difficulty: 15 of her 16 children have died. She now lives alone, and suffers from psychological issues. However, Christina is still bright and strong. “Being part of the Nyaka granny group has given me a sense of belonging,” she says. “My mental health has greatly improved.”

Volnic is 66 years old, and has four grandchildren, ranging in age from three to 18 years old. Three of the children are orphaned, are all are HIV positive. “Nyaka tested the children for HIV,” Volnic explains. “I have now attended two training sessions on how to emotionally support them.”

With so many children in their care, grandmothers like Jetu and Volnic are unable to pay the tuition fees necessary to send them to school. Nyaka built a primary school especially for their grandchildren. And when they are ready to move on to higher education, Nyaka turns to their partner in the international community – Beautiful World Canada – for comprehensive scholarships that include everything from tuition to toothpaste. Seeing their grandchildren graduate is the ultimate dream many of these grandmothers never thought was possible.

Turyamureba cares for three grandchildren – including 12-year old Ambrose, who is an orphan. Turyamureba used Nyaka funding to buy agricultural hoes, and saucepans. Saucepans were often a rare resource to these grannies before Nyaka: they would use broken or leaky ones, or have to share between them. You can find Turyamureba’s beautiful handicrafts for sale through Nyaka at

Supporting these grandmothers means supporting their grandchildren, the local economy, and that community’s future. With over 7000 grandmothers and 1000 children under the Nyaka and Beautiful World Canada umbrella, that means a lot of lives are changed, and a lot of futures are looking far brighter. More information about Beautiful World Canada is available at


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