What you need to know:
- The cleric also said introducing the children to prayer and reading the Bible has strengthened their spiritual life.
A hospitality and rehabilitation centre for street children in Kigezi Sub-region has equipped hundreds of youth with technical skills.
Divine Mercy Hospitality and Rehabilitation Centre was established in 2020 by an Italian organisation in partnership with the spiritual director of Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Kabale Diocese, the Rev Fr Innocent Young Buregyeya.
Addressing journalists in Kabale Town at the weekend, the Rev Fr Buregyeya said the centre was started with support from his Italian friends under their Rosa Rossa Foundation after conducting a survey that showed that domestic violence and poverty are the key factors that drive children from their homes .
“We have so far enroled about 120 street children at our centre in Nyangande Village, Mwanjari ward, southern division, Kabale Municipality, where they are being trained in brick making, carpentry, tailoring, welding, hospitality, spiritual nourishment, and plans are underway to enrol them on literacy classes,” Fr Buregyeya said.
In 2020, police registered many cases of domestic violence in Kanungu, Rukungiri, Kisoro, and Kabale districts.
According to the propabtion office in Kabale, more than 2,000 children were abused in the district
It attributed the cases to the Covid-19-induced lockdown, poverty, domestic violence and lack of social support .
Ms Monica Muhumuza, the district senior probation and social welfare officer, said then that her office registered 2,463 cases of critical child abuse, of which 1,867 were teenage pregnancies.
Rev Fr Buregyeya also took journalists on a tour of other projects in Kekubo in Kabale Town where plans are underway to construct a head office, and Rushaki in Bubare Town Council, where a modern technical institute will be built to absorb graduates of the rehabilitation centre.
The cleric also said introducing the children to prayer and reading the Bible has strengthened their spiritual life.
However, Fr Buregyeya cited lack of enough funds to facilitate their work.
He also said they have started skilling single mothers to make liquid soap, candles and handicrafts so that they can be able to earn a living.
The district police commander, Mr Abel Ruganza, and the town mayor, Mr Sentaro Byamugisha, said the centre has helped them fight crime by transforming criminals.
“In the recent past, we have arrested these street youths because they were a threat to the community as they were involved in several criminal acts such as stealing property while others were found smoking substances. After being charged and released on a caution, they returned to committing a similar offence because they had no other alternative . But with this rehabilitation centre, they gain practical skills that can help them earn a living,” Mr Ruganza said.