About Our Charity
Welcome to Improving Chances, a non-denominational registered charity which supports mothers and children in Fort Portal and surrounding districts in rural Western Uganda, where 1 in 200 women dies needlessly in childbirth because they cannot reach adequate medical care, and where children damaged at birth or after, from illness or accident, find it hard to access basic health care, therapy and education.
When women have problems in pregnancy or labour and need hospital care, they must somehow get to one of the government hospitals in a distant town centre, or to Virika Hospital in Fort Portal. They rely on friends and neighbours to carry them, often many miles, to the main Kampala to Fort Portal road, where they wait - and wait - for public transport. Inevitably, some die before they get to hospital. Others die in childbirth or soon afterwards. All too often their babies die too, or are born with severe disabilities.
Improving Chances was formed to help these mothers and children by supporting health and education projects initiated within their local communities in this area of Uganda.
Our first aim was to raise £50,000 in three years, all of which would go directly to the projects, the charity accruing no expenses or overheads. The two projects were:
the growth of maternity services at the St Therese of Lisieux Health Unit in the Kyenjojo district where mothers have to travel long distances along dirt tracks to get help in labour. We planned to fund the building of a lying-in ward and delivery suite.
the development of the Good Shepherd School for children with disabilities and special educational needs in Fort Portal, where there are many children at home in their villages, unable to get to school or benefit from the simplest education.
We have achieved our first aim. We have raised more than £50,000, seen the completion of the maternity ward, and supported the Good Shepherd School in establishing a service (the Outreach Project) for a small group of profoundly disabled children.
Our aim is now to enable the school to continue to provide the Outreach Project, and to develop its expertise and the services available for this marginalised group of children further.