Emma Kock was studying social work at Lund University in Sweden, in January 2010 she got an opportunity to travel to Uganda for an internship program with her classmate Therese Henriksson. They were working with a project assisting street children in Kabale and were part of a process getting a group of boys to leave life on the street and instead come and stay at the shelter the organization provided. Emma and Therese developed very strong bonds with the children and were very affected by their plight, so they decided to raise funds for their upkeep and studies among family and friends in Sweden. After five months in Uganda they travelled back home, convinced that the lives of the children had been improved and with plans of continued support.
As months passed they kept in touch with both children and staff members in Kabale who all confirmed everything was fine. At the same time they were about to write their bachelor thesis which Emma decided to do in Uganda. Partly to do research and learn more about street children and their situation, but of course to be able to meet the children again as well.
She returned in October, almost six months after leaving, with high expectations.
Expectations that were to be ruined when she met the boys again and realized that everything was definitely not ok. Exactly what was wrong she didn’t know initially but after regaining their confidence the boys started to reveal what was going on at the organization when no one was seeing.
They lived under constant threats, terrified of the director of the organization who subjected them to severe mistreatment and abuse. The children were kicked and beaten, using both fists, sticks and iron bars. Some had got their eyes sprayed with insecticide and he would often lock them inside, denying them food although Emma and Therese had paid more than enough for them to get satisfied.
Emma contacted the social authorities in Uganda, filing a complaint against the organization and their director and was quickly given a court order instructing the children to be shifted with immediate effect. But where would they go? There was no other organization which would or could admit such a large number of children at once.
That’s when she decided to register her own and has since then spent most of her time in Uganda.
The name “Emma & Therese Children’s Project” was initiated by the children who regarded Emma and Therese as a team after their internship. Therese has, however, been clear since the start that she cannot physically be in Uganda, her role is mainly symbolic.
Around the same period the project was founded, Emma also started the blog “Våra skitungar” in order to easily be able to update those who had donated money for the kids what was transpiring. Within a few days the story of the children had spread and support started coming in from all over Sweden.
Read the blog from the start HERE.