The Potter’s Village is a project overseen by the Church of Uganda in Kisoro. It was founded by the Rev. Canon Jenny Green, who was a youth pastor in the Diocese of Muhabura and a CMS mission partner, who had a vision to reach out to destitute children in the community.
Using her experience and inspirational leadership, in 2007 she set up Potter’s Village which is now well established with a Ugandan team of staff and carers. Potter's Village is going from strength to strength because of fantastic support from the UK and a truly wonderful team in Kisoro.
Kisoro is a very poor area, struggling with the consequences of AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and refugees from the Congo. Sixteen women in Uganda die every day as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. Sometimes teenage girls are the victims of rape and find themselves destitute when they become pregnant. These factors can all result in babies being abandoned.
Despite the Ugandan practice of extended families taking responsibility for orphaned children, many are unable to care successfully for orphaned babies. There are also many very young street children with no form of care.
A Board of Directors has been drawn from the Children’s Ministry Management Committee of the Diocese of Muhabura, together with other church and community leaders. The Board includes members of the diocesan Board of Education, members of local government and a representative of the Magistrate and Probation Services, (legally responsible for abandoned children). This Board oversees the work in Uganda.
The Potter’s Village exists to rescue babies who have no other chance of survival. Up to 18 babies can be given a home on the site. Babies will be given optimum provision to thrive with one-to-one care, within a family environment.
The following health and welfare needs are catered for:
Potter's Village has a fully functioning Children’s Medical Centre, which opened in 2012 with Outpatient and Immunisation Clinics, Inpatient Wards, Special Care Nursery for premature babies, and a diagnostic Laboratory, all over seen by neonatal paediatrician Dr Nicci Maxwell.
In 2014, Potter’s Village started providing Nutritional Rehab, and also instruction for parents and guardians about good nutrition and cooking in the dedicated Education Kitchen.
2017 saw the development of the next phase for Potter’s Village, an Antenatal Unit. The building work for this was completed by October 2017 and is now taking patients.
Part of the original vision for Potter’s Village was that facilities should be provided for disabled children and for the last two years a Ugandan OT has been holding a clinic every 3 months. In 2019 the original vision come to fruition with the opening of the Rehab Centre for Children with Disabilities where regular clinics are over seen by children’s physiotherapist Janie Robson.
Provision of medical care and health education for the local community is part of the vision. The Medical Centre, Nutritional Rehab and Rehab for Children with Disabilities intend to expand the work into the community in the future.
Potter’s Village seeks to provide a home where God’s love is lived out within a Christian context.
The staff - babycarers, compound workers, office staff and sub-contractors - are all employed from the local community, providing employment and training.
Support provided for children is long-term. When they are between six months and one year old they are either re-settled into their extended family, fostered in the local community, or occasionally moved to another children's home for long-term care.
Potter’s Village is integral to the local community and is inter-denominational. Children in the care of the Crisis Centre will be brought up with Christian values and hear Christian teaching unless they come from another religious background.
Where possible Potter’s Village seeks to be self-sufficient, growing its own fruit, vegetables and trees, and keeping some livestock. Potter's Village now has goats, pigs and cows.
Sonia gives us some insight into daily life at Potter's Village.