Bakoko gives hope to HIV-positive children
Posted Wednesday, January 16 2013 at 02:55
Light at the end of the tunnel. Some of the children are dumped at the foundation offices after their parents realise that they are HIV-positive.
She might have fled the country and still lives at large, but former minster Zoe Bakoko Bakoru’s legacy still lives in the memory of the orphaned and HIV-positive children whom she is giving an education in Arua.
One of these children is 19-year-old Dickens Anguni (not real name) who was born with HIV/Aids and was allegedly dumped by his parents.
Anguni suffered a lot of teasing and bullying from friends at home and school as he grew up. But after he was picked by authorities of Bakoko Bakoru Foundation, he found a bright future. This was through the support he acquired from the foundation. He has now completed his A-levels and wants to become a veterinary doctor.
“I had never thought of getting an education because of the way people mistreated and stigmatised me on learning that I wasHIV- positive. The only justice I can do to myself and the foundation is to achieve my dreams. This Bakoko family has really helped me through thick and thin though I’m positive,” Anguni says.
Ms Bakoru started the foundation in the 1980s and funded it using largely, her salary while she was the nursing tutor of Arua School of Comprehensive Nursing. It thrived mostly during her stint as Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development in the early 2000s.
Before she fled the country after the 2006 elections, she established a nursery school, Oprah Jayden Nursery and Primary School for the financially handicapped children.
“Some of these children’s parents died and so they just came to us, while others were dumped at our doorsteps by their parents when they realised that they (children) were HIV-positive,” says Ms Faith Cecilia, daughter to Ms Bakoru, now the CEO of the organisation.
Today the school has over 50 disadvantaged children. “When the children are brought here, some of them as young as six months, we don’t tell them about their HIV status until they are old enough to understand their predicament,” explains Cecilia.
In addition to helping the HIV/Aids infected children, BBF now intends to establish a disability-friendly environment for the handicapped children.