Partners In Hope: Assisting Child Caregivers in Uganda is a Joint Mission

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Stranded in Sub-Saharan Africa, orphaned by an AIDS epidemic, thousands of children are left on their own, needing a shepherd to save them. The Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) meets many child caregivers as they work to make palliative care accessible to those who are dying throughout the country; as US partners of PCAU’s work, Center for Hospice Care/Hospice Foundation have a new initiative called The Road to Hope, which provides ongoing support for children who have lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS or cancer.

George Bazaire, now eight years old, cared for his dying father as a five-year-old. He is enrolled in the Road to Hope program.

George Bazaire was the inspiration for the Road to Hope program and the first child caregiver to be supported. He is shown with Roberta Spencer, a volunteer liaison.

Visit an African country and one of the first things you'll notice is that there are children everywhere. Their voices fill the air as they laugh or recite their lessons in a sing-song fashion. They love having their pictures taken and meeting visitors. But many have few reasons to laugh and education is nearly impossible to obtain.

In Uganda, as is the case throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, more and more children are being orphaned as a result of losing one or both parents to HIV/AIDS and cancer. With no bread winner to support them, they often are forced to drop out of school and look for casual jobs such as selling ground nuts on the streets in urban areas or begging for money in order to survive.

In the US, five-year-olds are mastering how to tie their shoes, going to kindergarten, learning to read. In the village of Kakumiro, Uganda, five-year-old George Bazaire was caring for his dying father in their one-room mud home. When his father died George went to live with his mother, who was unable to care for his basic needs and education.

George's situation was the impetus for The Road to Hope program. Thanks to Roberta Spencer, a volunteer liaison for the PCAU/CHC/HF partnership, George was able to be enrolled as a day student in Kakumiro Boys School and set foot on the road to hope.

Now eight years old, George attends school regularly and his basic needs of food, uniforms and supplies are covered by The Road to Hope donations. His progress is monitored on a regular basis by PCAU staff and volunteers. He will continue to receive support and encouragement from those associated with the program on an official basis through his 18th year.

The program is the inspiration behind a feature-length documentary currently in production. The film will tell George's story, as well as others, through the lens of caring and supportive people who have emerged, often as unintentional shepherds, to offer love, guidance and support as the children seek to rebuild their lives.

To learn more about the program and the film, visit

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Cyndy Searfoss
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