Illiteracy is common in the Rwenzori region. While universal primary education is a government policy, parents must still contribute in large part to the cost of their children’s education. Some communities don’t take education seriously, and orphans are greatly at risk to not having relatives who will pay their school fees.
Superstitious belief systems, witchdoctors and witchcraft are common within the Rwenzori region. Child witch hunting is driven and justified by some religious groups. Accused children are expelled or trafficked, and in some instances are killed in acts of ritual sacrifice as people are duped to believe that performing rituals can attract good fortune.
Lack of shelter is a great obstacle and some orphans can be found living on streets. Those who have relatives to live with can still find themselves in a very run down circumstances. In many cases the children are not given the right to the properties left by their parents, as other relatives take the assets. Whether on the streets or without adequate care with relatives, they are at risk of addiction to drugs and narcotics at a very tender age due to lack of parental care and guidance.
Insufficient food and malnutrition is common among Rwenzori orphans, as some only live on leftover foods thrown in dustbins. Kwashiorkor and marasmus are diseases that arise due to an severe deficiency of nutrients and starvation.
Child labor is common among orphans in the Rwenzori region; some have been made to work in sand and quarry mining, working as house boys and house girls at such a tender age.
Sexual violence victims are common among orphans. Some have been sexually abused even in orphanage homes, convents, seminaries, schools, etc.
Civil wars and rebel insurgencies that have been prevalent in the Rwenzori region have had children and women as first victims. Some orphans have in the past been captured and incorporated into Christian rebel armies and trained as child soldiers.
Child trafficking is also common where some orphans have been sold as slaves to the western and Arab markets for child labor and sex tourism.
Denial of basic human rights to girls due to traditional norms where girls are treated unfairly when it comes to eating certain nutritious foods or even going to school. Female genital mutilation is still performed in some communities.
Indoctrination of children by religious groups as a condition of their care and education is common, with learning prayer sometimes given higher priority than basic schooling. Their minds are corrupted by brainwashing to create unnatural fear and supernatural-based hope in their lives. This is very dangerous as it limits their level of thinking and their right to think for themselves. While we appreciate that religious groups have opened orphanages and schools for the children, we firmly believe that children should not be indoctrinated in what to think, but instead should be taught how to think using reason and the scientific method. Schools should be free from dogma and indoctrination in order to turn out children ready to understand well our country, our cultures, our history and our future. We want them to be the kind of children ready to use their brains to try solving some of the challenges facing humanity.