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Hope as Red Chilli Donates Water Tank to Butabika Children’s Ward


By Franko Olong

“It felt so heartwarming when I entered through children’s ward gate. The excitement of the children as they greeted us and how they threw open the gate for us to enter,” Debbie Willis, the director of Red Chilli, recalled.

“Moving in the ward made me appreciate the work of the staff and think of what else could be done to support their work,” Debbie said. “When I saw the drums of water, I thought what can be done to ensure safe water.”

Like power cuts, water cuts are experienced everywhere and a stable water supply saves a lot.  On 15, April Red Chilli, in its bid to raise awareness about mental illness and support the local community, donated a 3000-litre water tank to the Butabika Hospital children’s ward.

“We need water all the time for the hygiene of the patients and the staff,” Medina Asibazuyo, the children’s ward in-charge, said.

“Whenever there is a water cut – and it can go for days sometimes – we suffer. We can’t clean, wash our hands, bathe the children and also complete our routine cleanings. This highly exposes us to infections. This tank is going to help us ensure that we have a steady availability of water in the ward so as to ensure hygiene.”

According to Red Chilli’s Debbie, having water means having one of the most basic human rights.

“Water is one of the most basic human rights that anybody can have. When someone can easily access clean water their health is secured,” she said.

Asibazuyo agreed with Debbie. “The tank will strengthen our efforts in fighting infections since we won’t have many days of water cuts in case there is any water cuts,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Red Chilli Director went on to explain that the move to donate the tank was meant to support the community, especially the children at the hospital, since they are a stone throw away. She also said it’s an effort to raise awareness about mental illnesses.

“Red Chilli would like to raise awareness about mental illnesses. The hospital only has a few children admitted. How many are in the community?” she wondered.

Red Chilli supports communities with water in the regions of Bweyaale and Kiryandongo especially those formerly displaced as a result of the LRA war through the Steve Willis Fund.  A sum of 34 boreholes have been sunk in these villages.

Hope as Red Chilli Donates Water Tank to Butabika Children's Ward
The water tank

“When my husband died in 2005, as a result of the LRA war, I wanted him to be remembered for something good, so I started the Steve Willis Fund. It is aimed at providing safe water for people affected by the LRA war,” Debbie said.

Wars are a cause of mental illnesses in a given population. Their impact is more devastating for children, resulting into trauma, depression and even behavioral problems. These mental health challenges, if not treated, can creep into adulthood causing more harm.

In addition to safe water for proper hygiene, good nutrition is also a key component when it comes to helping children with mental illnesses. The children’s ward also received a cooker from Friends of Butabika, UK, to boost the nutrition of the children.

Parents and communities with children with mental health challenges have hope. They can access quality services at Butabika Mental Hospital and regional hospitals.  Accessing early treatment gives the child about three times chance of recovery. This in turn improves their quality of living. Mental illness is treatable and manageable.

The donation came weeks after another organization, SoHope and its partners, donated sanitary towels and pants to the female inpatients. (See Details Here).

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