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Volunteers visit HIV/AIDS orphanage in northern Uganda
05 December 2002

Uganda: In Buto village, an elderly woman named Maria spends her days and nights nurturing 30 orphaned children all infected with HIV/AIDS.

To celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD), the United Nations Volunteer programme (UNV) in Uganda, in collaboration with other volunteer organizations in the country, visited the local orphanage to provide support to Maria and brighten the spirits of the children. The orphanage, which rarely receives assistance or support, is located in northern Uganda in a region of the country where rebel activity has intensified in recent months. The group also traveled to a refugee camp in Lira to visit displaced persons.

The theme for IVD 2002, "Volunteerism in building peace and reconciliation", was set by a UNV-initiated task force, a group made up of a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government ministries formed to work on volunteerism policy. It was felt that volunteers throughout Uganda needed to come together in a show of support for the people suffering in the north.

Volunteer organizations such as the Uganda Scouts Association, People With Disabilities - Uganda, the Ministry of Volunteerism and UNV participated in the IVD activities. Despite 5 December being a national holiday in Uganda, large numbers of volunteers came out for the event.