When someone in rural Uganda is in a serious accident or develops a life threatening disease, there are no social services to which one can turn, no food banks, soup kitchens, free breakfasts or lunches for children, nothing like Medicare or Medicaid – no crowd sourcing or facebook fundraising.    Nothing.

Verena’s father recently awoke from a long coma following a horrific accident. He is paralyzed, probably with a broken back.  He can’t walk or sit down.  The mother is illiterate and can earn only a little money here or there.

The future does not look good. The mother may have no choice but to marry or live with another man in order to survive, abandoning her child.  In rural culture, one step away from old tribal practices, men will not usually permit a woman to bring children with them from a previous marriage.

Verena has no brothers or sisters. She is four years old.  We accepted her for free into “Baby” class – the first year of nursery school. She is happy and full of fun at school.  Her teachers say she is well spoken and likes attention when she is trying to explain something.  It is too soon to know for sure, but her teachers say she may have academic promise.   Verena does not understand that she is in a very difficult situation.  She needs someone to lean on – to be there for her in thick or thin…. And it is looking very, very thin.