By ROTOM Staff
“It takes a village” illustrates one of the most powerful aspects of human growth and development. In one way or another, we all have some kind of village surrounding us where we seek support and community. In Uganda, some of our frail seniors are left to fend for themselves emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Fortunately, ROTOM’s Senior Friendship Program specifically makes it a goal to meet needy seniors where they are at, and be that senior’s support. What sets a ROTOM friendship apart is that it is not temporary or an impersonal solution. ROTOM huddles around the needy and by doing so, gives them hope and a fighting chance. The friendship program provides not only monetary support but is already set-up and ready to go! When you become a senior friend, you become a part of that village!
For seniors to escape the cycle of poverty, isolation, despair and disease, they need a team of people who care, support, and empower them. Health care is virtually non-existent in Uganda. ROTOM’s phenomenal Village Volunteers help bridge the gap with its experienced medical staff – helping our frail seniors get the support they require. Having a community surrounding our seniors so they can seek support empowers them in many ways. Did you know that the Christian definition of “the sanctity of human life” includes the unborn, the disabled, the homeless, and seniors? When you support a ROTOM senior, you’ve become a member of the team. So are those ROTOM village volunteers who are our hands and feet in the communities we support. Jesus made it clear that we, as His vessels are His hands and feet and need to help others.
ROTOM village volunteers play a crucial role in ensuring that these seniors receive the care they need through the different programs. Our volunteers are seniors themselves and receive support as well. They became ROTOM village volunteers by choice because they wanted to give back, help improve their quality of life so they can now read and write while the staff help translate in English. In addition, each senior volunteer oversees 8 to 12 seniors, and they live in the same community relating with them regularly. In essence our village volunteers make sure that our seniors are visited at least twice a month.
Amidst the surge of both the 1st and 2nd waves of COVID-19 in Uganda, ROTOM village volunteers like Margaret Magoba, a 67-year-old, played a vital role in ensuring that seniors kept healthy and safe in their homes. Because of these volunteer efforts, seniors had full-access to support in our ROTOM Health Centers. In total, there were 60 non-medical, community volunteers trained on how to use digital blood pressure machines and how to assess basic and common health problems affecting seniors. Each of them had their blood pressure measured weekly by a ROTOM village volunteer, who also monitored how the affected seniors’ took their prescribed medicines.
To aid in this pandemic crisis, village volunteers received smartphones – creating accessibility to audio and video calls with our team’s doctors and nurses during their home visits. This enabled us the convenience of tele-health assessments that helped serve immobile seniors. As part of extra curricular activities, we have organized fellowship gatherings the seniors’ get to enjoy like bible study, singing and worshipping, hot nutritious meals, and life skills’ trainings. There are currently 25 Fellowship Centers in total (2 at ROTOM VOC’s and 23 meet at the churches). We have seniors in 50 different villages; with an average of 20 seniors in each village. During Covid-19 these gatherings have been suspended but replaced with smaller group events inside the seniors’ homes, with aspiration to open up again this year.
“I have been a ROTOM village volunteer for the past 5 years and have greatly enjoyed my role because I get to connect and serve our seniors. They have become part of my family.”
During the 1st wave of COVID-19 in March of 2021, I had an opportunity to be trained on how to take blood pressure readings, using a digital blood pressure machine where I checked our seniors’ blood pressure while making regular home visits.
I have been able to work with the ROTOM staff to solve some of the problems that our seniors face. Together we are making a huge difference in the lives of our seniors and communities,” She concludes.
Margaret and more than 80 ROTOM village volunteers are everyday heroes who live out the call to our supported seniors. They are an amazing and dedicated team, caring for vulnerable seniors and children left in their care! Together, we are making a daily impact through caring for their needs and enabling older persons to live dignified and fulfilled lives in Africa.
For more information about the ROTOM Senior Friendship Program, please visit this link, click here.