Where We’re Headed
Happy Times has faced new challenges this past year and their needs have increased exponentially as a result of two main contributing factors.
First, an amendment to Uganda’s Children Act went into effect on June 2, 2016, which changed the adoption climate within Uganda. Under this new law, international adoption is to be considered a last option for an orphaned child. The law also requires adoptive families to foster their child in Uganda for one year prior to completing the adoption, which puts families in Uganda for about one and a half to two years. This, of course, has stopped most international adoptions in Uganda. There are still families adopting Ugandan Children, but not many. Most families simply cannot meet these new requirements. As a result, Happy Times has lost donations from adoptive families and has a continual inflow of children needing care without their previous outflow of children being adopted into families.
The second challenge is a drought that has affected not just Happy Times but all of Uganda. Ugandan farmers rely heavily on rain. With two failed rainy seasons, the price of food has doubled, and there is currently a famine in the land. This has led to increased costs to feed Happy Times’ ever-growing population and has prohibited many families whose children attend Happy Times Primary School from sending their children to school or paying their normal tuition to Happy Times.
Prior to beginning any projects at Happy Times, we’re raising funds to cover Happy Times’ operating costs for the first year. We need to stop the bleeding, so to speak, to buy us time to create more sustainable solutions.
The needs of Happy Times are many, but the greatest needs right now are food, secondary students’ tuition, and salaries to pay their staff members including teachers and caregivers. Ultimately, however, we need to raise $75,000 to cover their operating cost for this year, and we invite you to be part of the solution, to meet these children’s basic needs and keep them in school.
Phase One: Land and Agriculture
In this phase, we will purchase up to fifty acres of land for Happy Times to cultivate for food and to raise animals such as cows, pigs, goats, and poultry. This will provide a sustainable solution to their most basic need for food. The land will be irrigated to ensure we can produce food during failed rainy seasons. The food produced will feed not only the children of Happy Times, but the excess will be sold for profit to benefit Happy Times school and orphanage.
Phase Two: Medical Facility and Security
In this phase, we will construct, furnish, staff, and supply a medical facility that will serve the children of Happy Times and the surrounding community at an affordable cost. Wobulenzi is a small town about an hours drive from good medical care in the capital city of Kampala. We’ve heard several stories of children or others dying due to lack of medical care in the area, and we hope to change that. This medical facility will be a beacon of hope and security to the community. Those who are unable to pay for healthcare will not be turned away, and those who are able will be charged reasonable costs.
As Happy Times become increasingly supplied, we will need to construct a perimeter wall and increase security to protect the children of Happy Times and the supplies within.
Phase Three: Secondary School
In this phase, we will construct, furnish, staff, and supply a secondary school that will board and serve the secondary students of Happy Times and other children within the community at an affordable fee. Happy Times’ secondary students currently attend three different schools depending on the student’s individual circumstances. The nearest school is about one kilometer from Happy Times or a thirty minute walk. Another is three kilometers away, which takes students one hour by foot. When it rains, the children are often unable to attend school due to lack of transportation, and Happy Times is required to pay tuition for these students to other institutions which often poses a problem. In fact, the students were unable to start when their peers did last term due to Happy Times’ inability to pay their fees.
There is a need for a secondary school near the Happy Times property, not just for our Happy Times children but for other children in the community as well, and it is our goal to offer quality education at an affordable cost. The school will seek highly qualified teachers and staff who are committed to the success of our students and to preparing them for a profitable and successful future.