Center for Hospice Care and Hospice Foundation hosted the Okuyamba Fest on October 27, 2022. The Okuyamba Fest, whose name derives from the Luganda word meaning ‘to help,' serves as a celebration and fundraiser for their partnership with the Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU). The event provided food, beverages, and a silent auction of Ugandan crafts, and featured a dance performance from the local dance group, Uzima.
“Okuyamba Fest is a celebration of the partnership between Center for Hospice Care and the Hospice Foundation and the Palliative Care Association of Uganda,” said Cyndy Searfoss, director of education and collaborative partners for the Center of Hospice Care.
Center for Hospice Care has been partnered with PCAU under a twinning model which was set up by Global Partners in Care in 2008.
“We do exchange visits back and forth with our staff. We go to Uganda, and staff from PCAU comes here to the U.S.,” Searfoss said. “We hold the Okuyamba fest so that they can meet with supporters in the community and talk about their work.”
The connections can then go a long way for everyone involved.
“One of the things that I think has become evident through all of this work is that organizations are organizations, but it’s the people within the organizations that make it tick,” Searfoss said. “Having people here and sharing a meal with them, and talking outside of a Zoom call or an email is so important to making sure the relationship stays strong.”
A silent auction of Ugandan crafts took place at the Okuyamba fest, in which all of the funds raised will go towards purchasing a new vehicle for PCAU. The fundraising goal is set at $85,000, which will include the cost of the vehicle, insurance, and servicing the vehicle for the first year, as well as the license plates fees and registration cost.
“The vehicle that we have right now was donated to us by the United States Agency for International Development back in 2010, so it has been overused and is no longer efficient,” Mark Mwesiga, country director of the Palliative Care Association of Uganda said. “The fundraiser tonight will help us raise money for a new vehicle for PCAU to use. Our work is that we move from the center of the country out into the rural districts, which can be an eight-hour drive up country.”
Uganda has over 6,000 health facilities but only has palliative care in about 300 hospitals across the country. Having a new, reliable means of transportation can help PCAU and the community significantly by allowing PCAU to provide on-site training for facility staff members.
Center for Hospice Care also helped start a program with PCAU called the “Road to Hope” program in 2012, which helps support children in Uganda who are caring for their dying parents. The program provides financial support for the children until they enter the work force.
“The Road to Hope program has about 60 children on it right now,” Mike Wargo, chief operating officer for the Hospice Foundation said. “The needs are running around $50,000 a year to have about 60 children in the program. That takes care of their education, room and board, uniforms, and food.”
Wargo mentioned that by taking care of the children who are placed in a position where they have to take care of their dying parents, it is a great relief to the parents to know that their children are being taken care of.
“I hope we can continue to do what we are doing,” Wargo said. “We continue to have our partners here and raise funds for programs that they believe are most important and the highest priority they have. We’re here to try to support the needs that they have, and shine a spotlight on it and bring together the supporters who can help them raise the funds necessary to get the job done.
For more information about Global Partners in Care, visit www.globalpartnersincare.org.
For more information about the Palliative Care Association of Uganda, visit www.pcauganda.org.
For more information about the Hospice Foundation, visit www.foundationforhospice.org.
For more information about Center for Hospice Care, visit www.cfhcare.org.