(Names changed to protect identity)
Meet Petra, a beacon of hope for children in need of foster care in Uganda. She has opened her heart and home to provide love, support, and a sense of belonging to children needing family-based alternative care.
Her journey with foster care began in 2019 when a church announcement was made appealing to the community to open their homes for children in institutions, including orphanages. Petra registered her interest in learning more about fostering, and over the following months, she went through a series of foster care training from Child’s i Foundation where she learned how to take care of, nurture and mentor the children. After successfully completing the training, she was approved by the District Alternative Care panel to be a foster carer.
Eager to begin her journey as a foster carer, she faced several delays due to the pandemic. Still, she remained hopeful and within a few months, she welcomed two children into her life and home.
Feeling fulfilled caring for the children, Petra was surprised when she was approached about caring for a third child.
“One day, I received a call from Pauline, a social worker with Child’s i. She told me a one-year-old, Teddy needed a family and asked if I could care for her along with the other children. I immediately accepted her,” says Petra.
Soon after Petra welcomed Teddy, she noticed potential medical concerns.
“She could not walk or sit up, and I saw wounds on her forehead. I decided to take her to the hospital.”
The doctor explained that Teddy has epilepsy and Down syndrome, and possibly autism as well. The doctor gave her epilepsy medication, and soon she stabilised and could engage in movements.
While Petra was not expecting to care for a child with a disability, she says the training she received and her desire to care for children was all she needed.
“It has been a privilege to care for Teddy. All one needs is to love the child…It’s important to take care of children with disabilities without any discrimination. They need love, and they need a family.”
The other children in Petra’s care welcomed Teddy warmly and connected well with her. They play together, allowing her to develop fine motor skills and other movements by mimicking their play.
Petra also quickly points out that foster care takes support and commitment from the wider community.
“My mother has supported me. She accepted us. Church members are always encouraging and praying for me, and the social worker has encouraged me and continuously monitored how we are doing. The community nurse, Fridah, has always attended all hospital appointments and advises on nutrition and other health related opinions,” she says.
Since moving to Petra’s home, Teddy has been thriving and reaching new milestones daily.
Through our partnership with Child’s i Foundation, we are proud to support foster carers like Petra, who make a real difference for children needing alternative family-based care.
Petra’s story is a testament to the transformative power of love and the difference one can make by offering children a chance to thrive in a safe and nurturing environment.
She encourages other community members to follow her lead. “I appeal to people to accept children with disabilities because they need a family, love and parents to have a sense of belonging.”
Learn more about our partnership with Child’s i Foundation here.