Bless a Child Foundation Annual Report 2016

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FOREWORD As I write this I have many memories of 2016 that cannot be captured in this report or else we would not have enough space for them all. I have seen children walk through our doors in pain, fighting for their lives with despair written all over their little faces. I have watched them recover, smile again, some learn to walk, talk and play again in an environment where they are looked at as normal despite their tumors or illness. I have watched children fight for their lives until the last day when they pass on, but supported, cared for, pain-free and knowing that they are loved unconditionally. I have also seen parents coming in with absolutely no hope or strength left to keep on, but yet they keep trying, giving all they have as they pray for a better tomorrow. I have watched them find a place of rest, a home away from home at Akiba, close to other parents going through the same challenges. They encourage each other, share meals together, dreams and hope is restored as they live at Akiba without a worry about what they will eat or where they will sleep, because all our services are provided to them at no cost.

In this report is our little testimony of what the LORD has done and can do if we allow to partner with Him. I believe this is just the beginning of many more great years of miracles, wonders and amazing exploits. I can never end this without thanking our partners, friends and volunteers, we could never have done this without your generous love and support. THANK YOU! 2017, here we come!

Brian Walusimbi, Executive Director,

2016 was a great year for us. We celebrated 6 years of the Akiba Home being open since 2010. What started as a little dream, a tiny seed, has blossomed now into a new home in Gulu where we are helping the children suffering with cancer in the northern part of Uganda.




Foreword Introduction Who we Are Why we Exist Where we Operate

14 16 18

How we Operate Our Team Our Partners Achievements Objective 1: Health Care Objective 2: Education Objective 3: Psychosocial support Objective 4: Advocacy/Awareness Stories of Hope The Story of Nalukwago Taubah The Story of Matthew Hyuha

33 34

Annual Barclays BCF Fundraising Dinner Looking Ahead Financials Income & Expenditure Independent Auditor’s Report to the Directors Statement of Financial Position Statement of Comprehensive Income


Objective 5: Expansion of our Services



WHO WE ARE Bless a Child Foundation (BCF) is a Non-profit organisation that provides care and support services to children aged 0-12 years suffering from cancer and related infections. BCF was founded in response to the unique needs of pediatric cancer patients in Uganda; especially those needs occasioned by inequitable access to healthcare. BCF has, since March 2007, continued to provide care and psychosocial support services to children suffering from cancer and related infections.




We exist to ensure that children undergoing treatment for cancer are treated with care and dignity. We strive to provide access to improved childhood cancer treatment services to ensure better outcomes such as increased remission, reduced abandonment and specialized care for the terminally ill.

Our work is guided by five core values: Excellence: We strive for honour in all the services we offer.

Love: We nurture all our patients with respect and dignity.

Integrity: We value transparency, honesty and accountability.

Empowerment: We uphold the need to equip beneficiary families with information and skills needed to cope with cancer and its effects.

Time: We believe that early detection and treatment saves lives.




BCF is duly registered with the mandate to operate countrywide. We are subscribed members of the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC), the Uganda Cancer Society (UCS), and Childhood Cancer International (CCI). BCF operates within Uganda, extending its services to all children who are undergoing treatment for cancer regardless of their sex, origin, nationality or religious orientation. In response to the most pressing needs of the children, BCF runs an Akiba Home (a recovery home) in Kampala since 2010 and another in Gulu since 2015. Our homes are located strategically near national hospitals that provide medical care and support for children receiving treatment for cancer.

From our experience, given the high cost of cancer treatment, it is often rural families and the poor that need the most support as they seek treatment for their children. It is for this reason that BCF exists and continues to make its services more accessible to all families battling with cancer.




BCF is making progress towards achieving its vision by expanding access to treatment for children suffering from cancer and providing support to their families during the course of treatment. BCF works closely with national hospitals that offer cancer treatment to establish approaches that improve prescribed treatment procedures and increase access to treatment for all children suffering from cancer in Uganda. We ensure that, as much as possible, all children at the Akiba Homes access proper diagnosis and the treatment required. The children under our care are supported to retain a sense of normalcy through tailored schooling and recreational activities while they undergo treatment. We offer psychosocial support to the children and their caregivers to enable them access holistic solutions to the challenges they face. We believe that in so doing, we enhance the quality of care given to the children for better treatment outcomes. Through a committed Team and with the support of our partners and various stakeholders, BCF has managed to mobilize support for over 1,200 children suffering from cancer for the past 10 years. BCF has provided consistent and reliable support to them and enabling them to access treatment. Most of the beneficiaries of BCF were referred by other families with children who have cancer and because of the long term nature of cancer treatment, BCF is now family to them.



OUR TEAM At BCF we maintain a lean staff team and leverage our volunteer base to deliver quality services to the children and their families at the lowest administrative cost possible. Our team comprises of individuals with diverse backgrounds and talents, united by a common passion for improving the lives of children suffering with cancer. Our model of operation also enables us to cut down on staff costs by having each child admitted with a caregiver. We believe that the emotional support provided by a relative or next of kin is the best and most intimate support the child can receive. The social bonding between the caregivers during basic community chores and free time helps them to carry on by learning and supporting each other during the course of treatment of their children.



OUR PARTNERS All our achievements are attributable to our donors and partners who have selflessly given towards our vision. Our vision exceeds our resources by far and we could never hope to achieve it without their committed support. In 2016, our local and international partners teamed with us to support over 300 children. Together with the children in our care who are undergoing treatment for cancer, kindly accept our sincere thanks. “Mwebale nnyo�.



ACHIEVEMENTS We have many successes to celebrate about 2016 as well as areas for growth to share. Through all the seasons of 2016, we stuck together no matter what, celebrating and braving it all as a family with all our stakeholders, especially our children. Here is a glimpse of how we performed against our 2016 objectives: Objective 1: HEALTHCARE


We set out to facilitate medical treatment and care for 100 children under our care who are undergoing treatment for cancer by 31 December 2016.

ACHIEVEMENTS • 153 of our children received various forms of subsidized medical support in 2016.

It was all hands-on-deck for us at BCF with all staff and caregivers creatively helping the children to cope with the side effects of their treatment. We worked more closely with our partners, particularly Uganda Cancer Institute and Hospice Africa Uganda to ensure that all the children under our care had access to sufficient morphine to manage pain. We also engaged the services of a professional nutritionist to formulate menus and diets that were most suitable for children with post-chemotherapy side effects.

• 20 of our children were supported to undergo prescribed surgical procedures at various hospitals.

15 Children under our care declared cancer free in 2016.



Weekly average number of children that reported improvement in their overall physical condition.

Children who succumbed to the disease

Some of the highlights of 2016 are listed here below:


Objective 2: EDUCATION We set out to deliver tailored education to 270 children of school-going age undergoing treatment in 2016. At BCF, we believe that the diagnosis of cancer should not be the end of a child’s life and we strive to foster normalcy for our children throughout their journey with cancer. We run a homeschooling education program to ensure that our brave children keep up with their school work while they are undergoing treatment. In 2016, we hired a full time teacher for the homeschool to streamline our curriculum and draw up lesson plans which complement our holistic development model for children suffering from cancer. The Homeschool received a donation of a television (TV) which has enhanced the educational experience of our children.


ACHIEVEMENTS The specific achievements of the education program in 2016 include: • 285 children aged 4 to 16 years benefited from our home schooling program. • 5 of our brave children were assisted financially to complete Primary Seven and sit for their Primary Leaving Examinations. They are now enrolled in various post-primary school programs in the country. • We restocked our library with over 160 children’s books and other scholastic materials .


Objective 3: PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT We set out to offer psychosocial support services to 300 children and their caregivers in 2016. We collaborated with various professionals, cancer survivors, parents of children who have survived cancer and those who have not, and other resourceful people to add value to support-group dialogues. During these talks, caregivers are provided with support materials that teach them how to better take care of their children and how to cope with the complexities of treating cancer. ACHIEVEMENTS • 312 children received accommodation, meals, psychosocial support, palliative care and education at no cost at our Akiba Homes in 2016. • We facilitated weekly talks and support group dialogues with caregivers of the children under our care. • Caregivers and children of age were trained in making jewelry as a way to help them boost their income when they go back home.


In 2016, we set out to increase awareness on childhood cancers as well as advocate for more commitment from government of Uganda towards prevention and cure of cancer. We hosted community-based awareness-raising activities including public dialogues, conducted cancer awareness school tours/camps, hosted radio talk-shows and developed and distributed information, education and communication materials to raise awareness on cancer prevention and early detection. ACHIEVEMENTS • We held 10 radio and TV talk shows on cancer awareness during the year.

• We visited 5 primary schools and spoke to the children to raise awareness about the early warning signs of cancer. • We distributed books about the early warning signs of cancer to over 100 people in the community around BCF during the World Cancer Day and International Childhood Cancer day celebrations in February 2016. • We were recognized by Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) for our new and child-friendly way to teach childhood cancer awareness ( • Our social media following grew to over 15,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.






NORTHERN UGANDA In 2016 we set out to expand our services to the Northern region of Uganda. We continued to offer care services to families of children undergoing treatment for cancer at Lacor Hospital in Gulu.


ACHIEVEMENTS • In 2016, our Akiba Home in Gulu hosted 60 families. • We built a fully equipped state-of-the-art children’s playground at Lacor hospital. We believe that play therapy plays a vital role for children undergoing treatment for cancer. • We hosted a “Smile Again Party” in Gulu Referrral Hospital attended by 250 children with their parents in the Children’s ward. • We actively engaged the local community leaders in Gulu from Local Council I to Local Council III to sensitize them about the work that we do.



STORIES OF HOPE The Story of Nalukwago Taubah

Nalukwago Taubah was born to Ms. Ndagire Irene and Mr. Haruna on 12 September 2009 with all the hopes and energy of a child. Unfortunately, in 2012 three year-old Taubah started having abnormal excessive sweating day and night, a condition which was shortly followed by the swelling of the abdomen. Convinced by relatives and friends that Taubah’s troubles were caused by witchcraft, Irene sought traditional medicine but in vain; there was a rapid increase in pain and size of the swelling. Eventually,

Taubah was taken to a health facility where through the systems, referred to Mulago Hospital where it was confirmed that Taubah had Wilm’s tumor -a type of cancer which grows on the kidney. She was immediately started on cancer treatment which she positively responded to and the tumor was successfully surgically removed in June, 2013. Taubah is still undergoing routine medical reviews and she has come to call BCF home. Having journeyed with Taubah since 2013, we have watched her struggle until the point where she regained her energy and enthusiasm. We all received Taubah’s most recent prognosis with great jubilation! Taubah is now in school and doing very well; picking up from the classes she had at BCF. There is hope for a healthier and a happier future for Taubah. We thank our partners and donors for making all this possible.

In October 2016, the doctors declared that Taubah was in remission and was given the much coveted one-year break until her next review. It was a day of great celebration! The pride in her mother’s eyes and the joy in Taubah’s own eyes was a remarkable reminder of why we do what we do here at BCF.


Celebrating Matthew Hyuha Born on 13th November, 2011, Matthew grew up as a normal child until January 2015 when something that began as a small swelling on his rib area changed the course of his life completely. “In January 2015, a swelling was noticed on Matthew’s rib area,” – Matthew’s father (Robert Hyuha). Due to the steady and rapid increase in size of the swelling, Robert was advised to consult traditional healers which he did and instead of improvement, the situation only worsened. Desperate for his son, Robert took Mathew to a clinic where he was referred to Mbale Hospital and finally to Mulago National Referral Hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. Matthew stayed at Akiba Home during the full course of his treatment at Mulago. Mathew underwent a thorough treatment plan of chemotherapy, surgery in September 2015 and radiotherapy and, according to his doctors, he seemed to have a positive and encouraging response to treatment. At BCF, we were thrilled about the reports and the amazing transformation in Matthew’s physical appearance. Robert too was excited about his son’s improvement.


Mathew (L) with Kamada

At BCF we were determined to walk with Matthew until the very end and Robert received counseling to cope with the turn of events and decided to take Matthew home. He called us on 29th December 2016 to say, “Sorry for the loss of your dear friend Matthew�. He knew how much Matthew was loved and cared for at BCF; and we were all happy to see that Matthew spent his final days in a dignified way.

Mathew continued to get support from BCF for his medical bills, meals, accommodation, psychosocial support and we were all grateful for the renewed hope for Matthew. All was well until August 2016 when a doctor’s regular review revealed a relapse. Because of the diligence with which Matthew had taken on his treatment, the doctors decided to put him back on chemotherapy hoping to reverse the relapse. After two more doses of chemotherapy, there was nothing more the doctors could do for Matthew and they referred him for palliative care. It was a devastating time for all of us and much more so for Robert and Matthew.




NNER 2016 Barclays Bank Uganda raised UGX 80 Million in support of the fight against childhood cancer at the annual Barclays Bless A Child Fundraising DInner held at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on October 21, 2016. The managing director Barclays Bank Uganda, Mr Rakesh Jha, said the initiative is intended to express support to the organisation for their efforts in supporting needy children suffering from cancer. “We are here as a bank to stand in solidarity with all people suffering from cancer in Uganda. This is an important cause to us & it is more hurtful when you see children suffering.

He said this is also a way of giving back to the community to show that they are not only concerned with banking but the lives of the people in society as well. The Guest of Honor - the District Governor of Rotary District 911 for Uganda and Tanzania, Steve Mwanje noted in his speech that “Humanity requires us to care about other people. Nobody in the World should die when we can make a change” Through a mock raffle draw organised by Billion Lotto, Shs40m was raised in cash and Barclays Bank doubled it to Shs80m which will be donated to Bless a Child Foundation. Mr Abhinav Singh won an air ticket to South Africa.

In the past seven years Barclays Bank has injected more than Shs300 million in the fight against cancer. Tonight we are here to express our solidarity with the young people who are suffering from cancer,” he added.



LOOKING AHEAD As we reflect on our experience of 2016, we project certain opportunities for growth in 2017.

2. We are looking to set up another home in Kampala to be able to serve the growing number of children coming to our doors at Akiba Kampala. A second home will improve the quality of service to our children and also improve accessibility to cancer treatment for more children in Uganda in spite of their socioeconomic circumstances. 3. We have identified the need for a home in Mbale where cancer treatment has been made available. We hope to be open there by 2018 and shall make necessary plans to do so through the course of 2017.

4. The radiotherapy crisis in Uganda has been quite the challenge, preventing children from completing their highly needed treatment in 2016. We shall continue collaborating with the Government of Uganda and Aga Khan teaching hospital in Nairobi to send the children there for treatment until the new radiotherapy machine is installed and becomes available in 2017. 5. Additionally, we shall: i. Make our homes more child-friendly with exciting new programmes for our children. ii. Improve our home-schooling programme iii. Strengthen our medical support programme iv. Strengthen our psychosocial support programmes particularly counselling, patient and family support groups and bereavement support se

1. The growth we have undertaken to deepen and expand the scope of our services will demand a diverse and sound human resource. In 2017, we shall continue to fill key staff positions to help us keep up with our projected growth.



Independent Auditor’s Report to the Directors of Bless a Child Foundation Auditor’s Opinion: In our opinion, the financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of the organization as at 31st Dec 2016, and of the surplus and cash flows of the year then ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, and comply with the Companies Act, CAP 110.

Report on Other Legal Requirements. The Companies Act requires that in carrying out our audit, we consider and report to you the following matters. We confirm that: We have obtained all the information and explanations, which to the best of our knowledge and belief were necessary for the purposes of the audit. In our opinion, proper books of accounts have been kept by

agreement with the books of account.

the Company, so far as appears from our examination of those books, and the Financial Statements are in

35 Thonna Associates P.O. Box 27818 Kampala, Uganda.

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION FOR THE PERIOD ENDED 31.12.2016 Notes 2016 SHS INTANGIBLE ASSETS NON CURRENT ASSETS 3 87,465,125 87,465,125 CURRENT ASSETS Prepayments 2,572,280 Other Receivables 1,000,000 Cash at hand 5 122,016,740 TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS 125,589,020 EQUITY AND LIABILITIES CURRENT LIABILITIES Creditors and accruals 100,000 TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES 100,000 NET CURRENT ASSETS/LIABILITIES 125,489,020 TOTAL ASSETS 212,954,145 CAPITAL AND RESERVES Restricted Fund 30,018,095 General Fund 95,470,925 Capital Fund 87,465,125 TOTAL EQUITY AND LIABILITES 212,954,145 The financial statements on pages 9 to 16 were approved by the board of directors on 5th December 2016 and signed on its behalf by







HAPPY 2017

BLESS A CHILD FOUNDATION Plot 140, Sir Apollo Kagwa Road Makerere Kikoni PO Box 36152 Kampala Tel: + 256 200 905 945 Email: