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Circular - March 2016
I have received a draft of the annual report now being prepared at Acheru, and reproduce the following extracts.
From Sam Mutumba, who served as our Field Director for many years, but now works primarily for Acheru, and chairs their Board.
"We thank above all our dear donors Africare, based in N Ireland, who have enabled us to achieve so much through financial, spiritual and physical support. The year 2015 has been marked by a number of achievements among which was the bore hole; this solved a problem of water shortage during the dry season because we have been entirely dependent on rain water.
We thank our dedicated staff in Mukono, and Minakulu in northern Uganda, for the work done. We thank our partner CoRSU for the great work done by offering free surgeries to our children, the good working relationship and encouragement.
I thank my fellow Board members for the continued dedication to the development of Acheru. I call everyone who has not come to the aid of this noble cause to join us in reducing disability and improving the quality of life of children living with disabilities. Such aid transforms their lives.
Joyce Kayaga Kalinda (administrator) writes:
"I am privileged to present our annual report for the year 2015. We continue reaching out to vulnerable children with physical and mental impairment from our unit at Kabembe in Mukono District, and from our Minakulu centre in Oyam District. Donors, staff, partners and parents have made this work a success, and I appreciate your co-operation. Join Acheru in the struggle to bring hope to children with disabilities all over Uganda."
Introduction:
The vision of Acheru, established 6 years ago and following on from Cherub, is to be the leading Christian based Rehabilitation Unit, enabling children with physical and mental disability to fully participate in the community. Our mission is to reduce the effects of impairment by assessing, correcting and referring children with physical and mental disabilities for consultation and surgery, and to follow up after treatment to enhance quality of life.
Surgery and Rehabilitation:
Club feet, post burns contractures, post injection paralysis, non/mal union, chronic osteomyelitis, severe genu varum/valgum, Blounts disease, keloids, cleft lip/palate, are some of the conditions presented by children which required surgery.
Some children can be fully rehabilitated at the unit in Kabembe on an inpatient or outpatient basis without surgery, and also on an outpatient basis at Minakulu without surgery, for conditions like club feet, fractures, post injection paralysis, ulcers and cerebral palsy.
Johnson, the clinical orthopaedic officer at Acheru, writes:
"What brings me joy is the everlasting smile on the faces of the child and the carer or parents when they leave Acheru fully healed. At the time of admission these people are really hopeless and some come after they have spent a lot of money on witch doctors."
Margaret, the matron, says:
"I see the way children come on admission in severe pain with their mothers without hope. After a few weeks on treatment their appearance is different and the parents are happy; this motivates me a lot. I feel God's healing power at work. I am also motivated at the way people's attitudes towards knowing God can change. I preach but also attend Bible story telling to children and carers; it is attended by parents and children with different religious backgrounds. Some change behaviour, others learn to read the Bible and others accept Christ as their personal saviour."
Community Based Rehabilitation:
The work of the CBR program continues, mostly in Mukono, Kayunga, Jinja, Buikwe and Mityana districts, providing follow up, monitoring progress, assessing the living environment and conditions of disabled children and their families and helping where possible. Work was done on community awareness, therapeutic equipment was constructed, and care givers were empowered with basic rehabilitation skills.
It's a time consuming process because of distances, but throughout the year there were 465 home visits. Additional training of parents/care givers was carried out through Acheru's partnerships with CoRSU and Motivation for Africa. Wheel chairs and Cerebral Palsy chairs were donated through this partnership.
Estates
Work continued on repairs and maintenance of buildings and grounds, work was done on gutters to improve rain water collection, and a workshop and autoclave room were built. A bore hole was drilled by Fields of Life. It's outside Acheru and shared with a school, presently fitted with a hand pump but with potential for a pumped supply to Acheru.
Education
Teaching continued for all levels to try to minimise disruption to children's education. Other activities included music, dance, drama, art, craft. There were games and sports including competitions with other organisations.
Through Acheru's partnership with the Uganda Studies Program of Uganda Christian University, Acheru has the help of three interns.
Messages from Board members:
Mugisha Augustine (formerly at Besaniya, now a teacher) writes:
"I am one of the beneficiaries of Africare, at Besaniya Children's Home. I remember the dedicated work done to see us grow and study, and make us meaningful in society. As a member of the Acheru Board I appreciate the work done at Kabembe. The testimonies of the children and their care givers are touching and immeasurable. When I visited Minakulu it was amazing, many children had hope of careers because they knew they would stand up and walk. They had a lot of enthusiasm about the future. Work at Acheru is amazing; children who would be hidden have now become living testimonies. As a result the demand for services is high both at Kabembe and Minakulu.
Lydia Kamya (senior social worker, with us from the beginning at Besaniya) writes:
"I have been a Board member of Besaniya for quite some time now. I want to thank God for all we have gone through and am pleased to continue being able to advise towards the development of Acheru. The progress made during these past years has been evidenced by the increase in the number of people that have benefited from Acheru each year. Many of them had lost hope and had no chance of any treatment: children were regarded as outcasts."
A message from an Acheru partner:
"The Uganda Studies Program (USP), a study abroad program through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, began working with the staff of Cherub/Acheru not long after USP's inception in 2004. Acheru and USP have gone through many changes since then, but the partnership has remained strong.
USP places North American undergraduate students at Acheru for cross-cultural practicum experiences. Students always come away from this exchange with a greater understanding of holistic rehabilitation services in Uganda. They are inspired by the sense of community that exists at Acheru, and are touched by the warmth of the Ugandans they meet along the way. Acheru has agreed to be one of the Global Health practicum locations for this new emphasis track. American university students from colleges of nursing, public health, exercise science, and pre-medicine programs study with USP at Uganda Christian University and complete 120 hours of practicum experience and oversight. This increased collaboration and partnership is only possible due to the excellent leadership and program effectiveness that Acheru has displayed for their patients, communities, and partnership programs."
I hope the above extracts give you some idea of the progress made by Acheru. They remain heavily dependent on Africare's support, but it is encouraging to see a small but significant increase in the financial contribution from parents and from other organisations. There has also been practical help from partners, and we hope these relationships continue to develop. I hope what you have read is an encouragement to all of you who have helped develop this work.
Please note that Hazel and I are still in South Africa, and are not due to return home till 20th April. I think some people have been trying unsuccessfully to phone me; the best way to reach us is by email, as Hazel is able to check them most days.
I've been privileged while here to be asked to speak about Acheru at a number of meetings, and have been encouraged by the enthusiastic response. We have also been able to meet missionaries and arrange to visit projects.
Brian Dorman
Acheru Staff
USP Students
We have experienced attempted fraud a number of times in the past, and now once again someone seems to have hacked into emails from Uganda. We had previously taken steps to ensure that our own financial dealings with Acheru are secure, and no longer dependent on communication by email, but if anyone receives an unexpected communication supposedly from someone at Acheru, particularly, a request for money, please contact us before doing anything.

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