Uwera’s foster mother, Atete, is a remarkable woman: she has saved Uwera’s life, not once but twice. Uwera was abandoned by the roadside as a baby but Atete heard her cries, took her home and cared for her.

When no trace of Uwera’s birth mother could be found, the authorities told Atete she must take Uwera to the local orphanage. Atete was heartbroken but she was determined to do all she could to keep Uwera safe. She bought clean feeding bottles for her and made sure she was vaccinated before she entered the institution. Conditions in the orphanage were terrible. Uwera spent every day in the same crowded room in complete silence. She was fed just once a day and slept on the floor. She spent days at a time in the same filthy nappy. At three and a half, Uwera was no bigger than a two-year-old. She couldn’t walk or even talk.

When Hope and Homes for Children closed the orphanage where Uwera lived, we discovered her link with Atete. Our specialist social workers approached Atete and her family to see if they would consider fostering Uwera. Atete was overjoyed at the idea. Once the necessary assessments and training had been carried out, Uwera and Atete were reunited. The strength of the bond between Uwera and her foster mother is clear: she smiles endlessly but stays clamped to Atete’s legs when strangers visit. Atete’s older children love to play with Uwera. They talk to her and sing to her. Her world is no longer silent.

Our work in Uganda and Rwanda shows that no child needs to grow up in the silence of an orphanage. Every child can and should grow up in the with the love and protection of a family.

Fiona & Patience

Fiona is a loving single mother who faces an impossible choice. Her daughter, Patience, is 14 and has multiple disabilities which mean she can’t walk, stand or sit unsupported. Read more