The International Help Uganda Grow (i.HUG) Foundation

week 47:  this week i'm gonna... put children on a path out of poverty

Faridah's village

Faridah's village

Faridah was a young girl living in a corrugated tin shack with her mother and sister outside Uganda's capital city, Kampala. Food was scarce and there was no running water or electricity. Her mother sold charcoal to earn money and the family's living space was so small they had to sleep on top of the charcoal at night.

In Uganda, 75% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. More than 50% of Ugandan children exist in absolute poverty, characterized by the severe deprivation of basic human needs (including food, water, sanitation facilities, health, and information)*. Many children do not attend school, or if they do, they struggle because they are hungry, sick, or lack other basic necessities. With classrooms often filled with 100 or more children, schools in Uganda are not able to support vulnerable children.

Faridah's situation made her fearful and apprehensive, and she rarely spoke. When she did use her voice, it was a faint whisper. Like many children living in poverty, Faridah was traumatized by her circumstances and suffered from low confidence and self-esteem. She never pictured herself attending school and could not imagine what her future held. She dreamed of maybe one day of selling phone cards or cleaning houses. 

Faridah with her schoolmates

Faridah with her schoolmates

In 2006, Faridah was identified by The i.HUG Foundation and was given the chance to attend primary school. This opportunity, coupled with the support she would receive from i.HUG, would change the course of her life forever.

* Source: UN Vital Statistics on Hunger


Established in 2006, The i.HUG Foundation’s mission is to increase access to education for vulnerable children in Uganda to accelerate their path out of poverty. i.HUG serves the severely impoverished area outside the capital city of Kampala and empowers children by providing them with the essential knowledge, services, and support needed to overcome extreme obstacles and realize their potential.

i.HUG's programs are unique and effective because they not only address children’s educational needs, but also their emotional and physical needs. i.HUG works with educators and families as part of a multi-faceted approach to helping the children they serve. 

i.HUG by the numbers:

  • In 2015-2016, approximately 2,500 children were served through i.HUG’s educational, medical, and other support programs. 
  • i.HUG’s health care services have reduced the incidence of malaria and fungal infections of its students by more than 90%.
  • i.HUG students suffer from lower rates of depression and achieve higher child-competence scores when compared with other students surveyed at local schools. 
  • i.HUG sponsored children have a 1% dropout rate compared to a national dropout rate of 57%.

Faridah with Joanna Breitstein, Founder of i.HUG

Faridah with Joanna Breitstein, Founder of i.HUG

Faridah thrived in the i.HUG program and started to develop a voice, both literally and figuratively. She is now extremely well-spoken and communicates confidently. You can also see much happiness in her, as she now has a vision for her life beyond the shack in which she grew up. But her journey highlights many of the struggles that Ugandan children face; one week before her high school graduation exam, Faridah came down with typhoid and malaria.

With help from an i.HUG-supported nurse and access to food and medicine, Faridah was able to take the test and pass. She became one of a few Ugandan girls to graduate from high school (less than 2% of youth complete secondary school, and even fewer are girls*). She went on to attend university in 2016, and is working to start her own business so she can earn income while attending school. She hopes to employ other i.HUG students and help them achieve similar success.

With the support and opportunities offered by i.HUG, Faridah has learned to use the power of her voice and the power of education to overcome many obstacles. She is now a confident woman who can look ahead with hope, imagining many possibilities for her future.

* Source: Uganda National Education Profile, 2014 Update

Photo courtesy of The i.HUG Foundation

Photo courtesy of The i.HUG Foundation

Notes for this week:

  • This month marks the 10th Anniversary for The i.HUG Foundation! We send them congratulations and thank you for their years of service.
  • Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor one month of Saturday and holiday programming for 6 students in Uganda.
  • For more information regarding The i.HUG Foundation, please check out their website.

this week i'm gonna donate to The i.HUG Foundation.

please share the givetwig awesomeness!