Improving Lives for Children in Detention

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Improving Lives for Children in Detention
Kampiringisa National Rehabilitation Centre, Mpigi District, Uganda

Sustain for Life, along with partner Send a Cow Uganda, worked to deliver an innovative, multi-faceted project to improve the lives and future prospects of children who are detained at Kampiringisa National Rehabilitation Centre. Kampiringisa is Uganda’s only juvenile detention centre for children aged 12-18. The centre was also a temporary home to children younger than 12, including those who lack proper birth certificates or those that have been rounded up off the streets of Kampala. Street children, including babies and toddlers, are often looked after by much older offenders, potentially putting them at serious risk.

When we first visited Kampiringisa in 2011, we found the conditions for the children unacceptable. The multiple buildings on the complex were poorly maintained and most had peeling paint, broken windows and no light bulbs. The toilets were overflowing and non-functioning. The kitchen was covered in black sludge and unable to be used. There was no running water as the water pump broke many years ago and had not been replaced. The mattresses and bedding were dirty and often used by two or more children at a time. Hygiene standards were very poor and many children appeared to be ill. Despite residing on a 300+ acre piece of fertile arable agricultural land owned by the government, the children were not eating enough nutritious food to keep them healthy.

Sustain for Life and our partners aimed to improve the lives of the children at Kampiringisa by:

  • Developing and farming the land around the centre to provide nutritious food
  • Teaching children about sustainable organic agriculture, giving them a valuable skill to improve their livelihood prospects and acceptance back in their communities upon release
  • Improving well-being and increasing self-confidence through psychosocial support, peer groups, counselling and improvements to sanitation and hygiene
  • Teaching children valuable life-skills, including being aware of their human rights