Weema: When a dream becomes reality

Back in 2010, I found myself sitting next to a young man called Peter Sewakiryanga while on a plane returning from South Africa.

It was a chance meeting that really was ‘meant to be’ because the airline made an error and I was seated several rows apart from my wife, Anne. As a result of the airline’s mistake, Peter and his family have become part of our family.

By Dr Geoff Mitchell, DIAS Pioneer

It turns out Peter was a Ugandan Pastor and leader of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), a fledgling ministry tasked with stamping out child sacrifice in Uganda. Peter’s vision was to remove this practice through the power of love. His is a many-stranded approach: bring justice to the victims, care for the survivors and their families, and transform communities torn apart by this barbarism.

The epicenter of this scourge is a village called Kyampisi, an hour from Uganda’s capital. In 2008, Peter deliberately moved there. He was led to establish a church and a school. Health care was also lacking, and he had a vision to establish a clinic too.

A group from Oak Tree Community Church in Bundaberg helped the villagers to construct the shell of the Weema Clinic in 2012, and over the ensuing years, the building has taken shape from a shell to a fully completed building with running water and power. However, the funds to support permanent staffing of it with health professionals were not available. One-off clinics would bring people desperate for health care to Weema. We worked in one of these in 2015, and just based on word of mouth advertising, the clinic saw 200+ people in one day!

The building served as offices for KCM until August 2019. An anonymous donor has underwritten staffing costs for the next five years, and given a one-off donation to stock the clinic with essential resources. We are most grateful for this amazing generosity.

As a result, Weema Clinic is now open for business! The staff comprises three clinicians, one lab technician and one receptionist. A GP visits once a fortnight. The clinic mainly focuses on pregnancy and children. Just being there means expectant mothers have proper antenatal care, essential for reducing the risk of birth complications. Children get immunised and checked for illnesses. Health education is provided to the mothers. In addition, the clinic provides care for all comers.

Weema means ‘Sanctuary’, and the whole KCM campus in Kyampisi really is a sanctuary where people can now receive the love and respect they deserve. The village has been transformed and child sacrifice has been drastically reduced as a result. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the KCM journey, particularly through the Weema clinic.