The 2012 December holidays started quite in style for little Vivian and her mother Jane. Graduation from nursery was worth celebrating, not only for the school achievement but also for the social welfare they had acquired through the year.
Jane had struggled for a while trying to balance time between her work and giving proper care to her baby. She earned a meagre income as a Cleaner/messenger at the Kampala, Buganda Road Court and she could not afford any regular day care services.
According to Catherine Kitongo, the Director of Miles2Smiles, little Vivian was brought to her care when she was eight months old. She had a very weak immune system and was very sickly. Her mother had been keeping her with the neighbours who had agreed to help her babysit while she went to fend for the family.
Little did she know that the people she was entrusting with her child were actually taking it as a burden behind her back. For all the days Vivian was being left with them, they would leave her in a basin full of cold water just so she could stay asleep all day and not bother them. Despite the
fact that Jane would leave them with a meal to feed her child, they were not feeding her. Soon Little Vivian’s health kept getting worse and Jane had to spend most of the time and earnings seeking medication for her at a local clinic near her home.
At the regular clinic, she soon befriended a nurse who had been very helpful through her visits. The nurse had identified that most of little Vivian’s illnesses were nutrition related. Jane also shared with her the struggle she was facing of having to raise income and take care of her child. She needed to work but had nowhere to leave Vivian. Her neighbours had proved to be unhelpful. The nurse then told her about the small but lovely day care kindergarten commonly referred to as Miles2Smile. This nurse had already experienced the great care at the Miles2Smiles as she was already taking her child there.
She told her how Miles2Smiles was helping many single, low income earning mothers keep their babies while they continued their business in order to earn a livelihood. At Miles2Smiles, the children were fed, bathed, played and when a little older get to learn a few things like other children in early childhood learning institutions. Jane immediately went to talk to Catherine to help her with Vivian. And that’s when little Vivian’s story began to change.
Strømme Foundation East Africa, through the Education Intervention partners with community based organizations like Miles2Smiles to reach out to the less advantaged that would otherwise have no chance at good early childhood development. Through this initiative we hope to bridge the gaps in education especially in the rural areas. Every little boy and girl at Miles2Smiles is well looked after, well fed and nurtured to become a confident child.
It’s been six years since Vivian’s mother learned of Miles2Smiles, a discovery that she talks of with such joy. Her precious girl is now six years old, healthy, happy and with a hope for a future. She graduated from kindergarten at the end of 2012. She is so excited about school and very keen on learning new things. We have no doubt she’s going to continue excelling as she moves on to primary school.
Strømme Foundation’s Livelihood improvement goal is also met through the Community Managed Microfinance intervention (CMMF). Like many of the mothers at Miles to Smile, Vivian’s mother, Jane is an active member of the CMMF Scheme that Miles2Smiles runs. She says the scheme has helped her save and responsibly plan for her earnings which has helped her support her family and pay school fees for her child in primary education.