The incredible journey of Bless a Child Foundation began very unexpectedly. Brian Walusimbi, the founder and Executive Director, is a clown. In 2007 he was invited to do a children’s party at the paediatric wing of the Uganda Cancer Institute in Mulago national referral hospital. He saw very sick children with large tumors in overcrowded wards, and sharing sleeping mats with their caregivers on the hospital verandas. It was a sight that moved him to tears. Children were contracting malaria and other diseases because of living in the open, and many were dying from the toxicity of the cancer medication because of poor nutrition.
Most of the caregivers of the sick children ended up sleeping on the verandas of Mulago hospital as they waited for their next appointment because they could not afford to make the frequent back-and-forth trips from their villages.
Brian named the series of subsequent parties “Smile Again Parties” because this was the only time during the year that the children would not focus on their pain but have fun, smile, and be like normal children.
What began as an opportunity to make the children at Mulago hospital smile and laugh for a few hours turned into a life-long vision, to provide decent care and accommodation services for paediatric cancer patients as they went through the rigorous treatment. In March 2010, the Bless a Child Foundation Kampala home was opened to provide care and support services to children undergoing treatment for cancer.
Our work revolves around five core values abbreviated by the acronym “E.L.I.T.E”.Details
We recently opened up new homes in Mbarara and Kampala.Details
Our programs are the brainchild of our founder, Brian.Details
To find out more about BCF, contact us or visit our social-media pages.Details
Over the years, the vision has grown from just providing accommodation and meals for the children and their caregivers to many other support services. These include subsidized medical support, transportation to and from the hospital, transportation to and from their villages, bereavement support, counseling and psychosocial support services, parent support groups, bereavement support and a home-school that helps the children not to lose any school hours while they are on treatment. The school is run by a team of professional teachers and volunteers with various specializations. The school curriculum teaches subjects that include mathematics, English, science, social studies, arts and crafts, music and performance, photography and videography, computers and many others.
The Bless a Child Foundation homes provide all the care and support services to the children and their caregivers at no cost to them. This has been possible through the generous support of our partners, both individuals and corporate organizations.
Over the years we have seen children who have beaten cancer and are now survivors. They went back to their villages, resumed their education, and many are now young adults. During their school holidays they come back to BCF to volunteer and to also tell their stories of hope. This encourages the caregivers and gives them hope and confidence to cope with the treatment process. It also helps the children on treatment to know that it is possible to beat cancer.