Safer Waters for Central Uganda

Many Western groups have come to Luwero, Uganda, and made great promises of help and change — never to return. Safe Water Nexus hopes to bring the aid that others have promised. “We are a religious organization — but what we really want to do is help them stand back up and move on with their lives,” says director Matt Chambers. Assessing water needs in hopes of creating safe water sources is among their priorities. At present, people walk several miles to reach the only accessible source, a contaminated bore hole. Safe Water Nexus also focuses on education and health.

Village boys carrying water home after a long trek to the local source

The organization is partnering with Gaba Community Church of Kampala, which heads an all-children village for orphans in Uganda. Through its partnership with the local church, Chambers says, Safe Water Nexus is developing a relationship of trust and commitment with the Luwero people. “We don’t want to make them look American. They’re Ugandan and have a rich, textured culture. We want them to look like them,” says Chambers.

Water source in Luwero. People will actually walk several miles one way to get this contaminated water - people, along with livestock will also use this source for bathing or going to the bathroom

Safe Water Nexus adopted Namasulu Primary School, which is home to fifty children. The school is a promising start, but it lacks supplies; poorer students often can’t even afford lunch. While visiting last February, Chambers saw a list of the school’s goals from 2007. Provide lunch and uniforms for students; add doors to classrooms; strengthen the crumbling foundation; finish the syllabus. The list continues.

By the time Chambers visited, the school had finished its syllabus of culturally relevant classes in English and Luganda. Safe Water Nexus plans to help the school attain the resources necessary to implement its syllabus. “We would love to help achieve that list for them. It seems very attainable,” he says. Safe Water Nexus is in the process of writing TV and radio shows to teach basic hygiene, family skills, and general education.

Health care is also scarce in Luwero. From the jungle to street markets, Chambers visited people to learn about their health needs. On one expedition into the jungle, he met a woman named April beside her banana leaf hut. Through the sale of products from breadfruit trees, she and her son had saved enough to purchase a mosquito net. However, their home becomes uninhabitable when it rains. April’s toilet overflows and floods her home because they don’t have the means to create a lid for their toilet. Situations like these inspired Safe Water Nexus to bring aid to people living outside the village.

Baby "Luwero" - the infant found by a neighbor alone in her home days after her parents died of Malaria.

“There’s no roads or trails, you just walk until you find someone. If they get sick there’s no one to check up on them,” Chambers says. Safe Water Nexus will work with doctors in Kampala to hold walking clinics that serve those unable to come to the village. “We’re going to take teams through to help foster healthy living practices,” Chambers explains.

When he visited Bethany Village in February, Chambers promised to return soon. True to his promise, Safe Water Nexus scheduled a twelve-day trip with 22 volunteers this December. The volunteers will work to improve education, health and water access.

Local children from Luwero Triangle...many are orphans

It’s a mission built on faith. Inspired by the Bible, Chambers looks to the book of Hebrews 10.24: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” He hopes to not only connect people in Luwero with more safe water sources but also to create “safe waters” for the children of Uganda — places where they can grow and learn and know their lives have value.

Safe Water Nexus

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