The Rakai Orphans Hope Project is a non-profit organization (CBO) founded in September 2013 by a professional researcher named Joseph Rutaraka, who traveled to the Rakai district as a student of the Uganda Christian University doing research with Rakai Health Sciences Program (RHSP) on the impact of HIV / AIDS in rural communities. During the research study, he found that a large number of children were orphaned due to the death of their parents from HIV / AIDS; forced to take care of their family and unable to attend school.
The condition he saw touched him, as Joseph himself was orphaned due to the same illness that led his parents to death when he was still a child. Thanks to the help of an Italian family who in 1997 decided to support him remotely, Joseph managed to have the necessary help to grow, study and to graduate. Today Joseph and Silvia, his Italian supporter, who has become a real sister to him, are coordinators of the Rakai Orphans Hope Project together.
Joseph Rutaraka raised funds from university students and local communities in Uganda to start a program for the benefit of affected children and was later funded by supporters from countries such as Italy and the United States. The project provides access to health services, education, legal protection and consultancy. It is engaged as well in raising awareness about the spread of HIV and it is acting as a reference in the defense of human rights, fighting discrimination, providing access to health services and medicines, educating the community on disease control, prevention and hygiene practices.
Over the past 6 years ROHP has worked to improve the quality of life of rural communities in Rakai by providing quality and timely services on HIV / AIDS and providing a sponsorship program for children. To ensure the sustainability and ownership of our projects, we used a strategy to establish and empower local volunteer groups to take part in the project at the community level; we also worked with local authorities to make sure we get their support.
Our activities to empower these groups include training and orientation courses, the provision of standard operating procedures and information materials, regular follow-ups and ongoing support supervision. We have also worked to ensure a better network, collaboration and connection between the various services to effectively meet the needs of the community we serve. ROHP has been successful in creating family units between orphans and widows. We believe that for God, everything is possible and we expect to see many vulnerable children finding hope thanks also to the generous donations.