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  • Writer's picturegina de la chesnaye

Notes from the Field

Beloved friends, family, colleagues and supporters, I hope this message finds everyone living with ease, peace of mind and clarity of purpose. We are very happy to share that we have been highlighted in Yoga Love Magazine!

Since my last update The Nachan Project has supported the mental and physical health of the Karamojong community living in the slums of Kampala through continued:

  • Mindfulness Based practices for trauma and resiliency

  • Public health advocacy

  • Collaboration with UNICEF’s Child Protection Services

  • Emergency medical care

  • Psycho-social support

Agnes supervising emergency malnutrition care.
Agnes supervising emergency malnutrition care.
Mary (Karamojong woman) practicing Eagle pose.
Mary practicing Eagle pose.

Two of our social worker staff have recently completed the Street Business School Training - a train-the-trainer methodology that teaches women how to become local entrepreneurs. We are very honored and proud to have been offered scholarships to attend the training and to partner with Street Business School as we move forward in offering skills for the women to have agency over their own lives and break the cycles of poverty.

Congratulations to Tricia and Susan! 🎉

Welcome also to Charles Omuudu for joining as a member of our Board! We are lucky to have Charles join us. He is the District Health Educator for Moroto District, Karamoja and as a member of the Karamojong community is invaluable to Nachan for his lived wisdom and public health experience.

Program Director Allan Katteba and staff member Agnes meeting with Charles Omuudu in Katwe.
Program Director Allan Katteba and staff member Agnes meeting with Charles Omuudu in Katwe.

Tragically, however, we have lost two of our members to intimate partner violence aka domestic violence. I asked Allan Katteba, our Program Director, to please share his experience and thoughts especially as I have never seen Allan weep, not until now.

A Note from Allan, Nachan’s Program Director:

During my over 8 years of working with the homeless families living in the streets and slums of Uganda the month of June was the most horrible. Seeing two women lose their lives in one month - leaving behind 6 children and most heartbreakingly losing their lives unnecessarily in the hands of their so-called husbands - I ask myself where is love? What’s the use of a family if we are killing each other?

Nachan raised funds to pay for the burial of one woman, Angelina. Overhearing voices of hate and discrimination against our Karamojong sisters and brothers from the people passing by our truck as we came back from the public cemetery was heartbreaking on top of the heartbreak of the women losing a sister. The children losing a mother. I remember Angelina telling me - 'My mother and father were killed in their house during a cattle raid. After the enemies had driven off our animals, my brother tried to follow up with the cows and was killed. Because my husband, mother, father and brother were killed I thought I would be next, so I fled to Kampala. After reaching the city, the following morning my two nieces were arrested while begging. I thought Kampala was a good place, but it is almost like home - where it’s a living hell.'

Seeing myself privileged because I come from a stable, better region… I have been to good schools, I have a voice - but then seeing others taken as animals because of where they come from - how am I supposed to do away with this guilt?!”

What is Nachan doing? Advocating for fair justice and equal human rights, mental health, education and putting up workable interventions and livelihood programs to empower these families out of the situations they go through because of poverty. It is important to remember that gender based violence, intimate partner violence, or any violence are both symptoms of and factors in intergenerational trauma. Right now, the community continues to struggle for basic needs such as food. Food insecurity increases conflict, dysregulation and mental health issues as well as puts the children at increased risk of trafficking as they are on the streets begging. If we can raise $10,000 we can provide quarterly food support for 1,000+ people for a year. How can YOU can help? Please donate if you can. Please share if you can. Please continue to live mindful lives of compassionate action in any way possible.

May all Beings be Free from pain and suffering and may each one of us do something about it


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