The sun is rising for orphans in Uganda

When both her parents died of AIDS, 16-year-old Maureen found herself at the head of her household. She had three siblings aged between 12 and 15 to look after. They were struggling to get by, living on just one meal a day in a house on the brink of falling down. Luckily for Maureen and her siblings, things changed for the better when a community mapping exercise identified them as needing urgent support.

An organisation called SUNRISE OVC provided hands-on support to the community to develop and implement a plan to help the family. The community pulled together and renovated the children’s house and built a new latrine. Funds were also put towards sending the children to school. Maureen is overjoyed with the changes, and says, “Community members are our guardians.” She and her siblings now plan to grow bananas and beans to improve their daily diet and become more self-reliant.

In Uganda there are an estimated 1.2 million children who have been orphaned by AIDS. Yet services are currently reaching less than a quarter of these children.


SUNRISE-OVC stands for ‘Strengthening the Ugandan National Response for Implementation of Services for Orphans and Vulnerable Children’. It is funded by USAID and implemented by Alliance Uganda. SUNRISE-OVC works with local government and communities to improve services for orphans and vulnerable children in 80 districts across Uganda. It aims to reach over one million vulnerable children over 5 years.

Finding the children who need support

Thanks to SUNRISE, 72 out of the 80 districts where the project operates has map service coverage, which means communities can plan and respond to the needs of vulnerable children. The mapping exercise is conducted by the district’s local government with the technical support of SUNRISE and their partner ACORD. It aims to identify the most vulnerable children in the community, and find resources within their communities to improve their situation.

Maureen’s story demonstrates one part of the wider work SUNRISE is doing to strengthen support to vulnerable children across Uganda. By strengthening the capacity of local governments and communities the lives more than one million other children like Maureen will be improved. 

© Nell Freeman for the Alliance

In Uganda, an estimated 1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.