In northern Uganda, many of the children we serve are HIV positive, and nearly all of them have lost both of their parents to HIV/AIDS or the brutality of a civil war. They sleep alone or with a relative inside a mud hut with a thatched roof on a floor of pressed red clay that is as hard and cold as concrete. These children suffer constantly from malaria, and because of a complete lack of sanitation, the contaminated earth contributes to intestinal worm infestations. Giving a bed means these kids will be safe from the cold, malaria, biting insects, and intestinal worms (against all which an HIV+ child has very little defense). Giving a child a bed can literally save his or her life in conditions such as these.
But there are also other answers to this question. When a Sweet Sleep team travels to these remote villages to provide beds, we show the beneficiaries that they have great value and worth – a dignity that was stolen from them during the war. They receive hope for a better tomorrow. When a child is not fighting malaria, he or she can be found in school. When a child is well rested, he or she performs better in school. And when a child’s wound is able to heal, they are able to run, dance, and enjoy life.
The beds are rebuilding communities. The civil war took so much from these people: their freedom, their courage, their self-worth. By giving them something such as a bed, something considered reserved for only the ruling class of Uganda, we are showing them they are worthy of a better life – one worth rebuilding.