The Widows and Orphans Support Organization (WOSO) was founded in October of 2012, in Katovu Uganda, located in a rural district in southwestern Uganda. The major goal of the organization is to mitigate household poverty among the vulnerable children and widows in the rural communities in this region. Lwengo district is in the dry corridor and thus suffers serious droughts affecting access to food and income generating activities. This region has also been hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic which has left many children orphaned and families struggling to meet basic needs.
WOSO was established by individuals who grew up in or have lived for many years in Katovu Village, and who understand the importance of education as a means of mitigating poverty. The project was organized to empower community members to work together on projects to improve the well-being of the community. Many of the individuals who are board or staff members at WOSO were themselves orphans who were supported in school by Compassion International, and because of this support, they were able to obtain university degree. WOSO staff thus have a strong commitment to help other vulnerable children and their families to acquire education, health care and income generating opportunities, and WOSO staff workhard to ensure community members are involved in every project of the organization.
As a result of WOSO's commitment to community empowerment through education, health initiatives and income generating activities, WOSO has been able to develop three programs over the last five years. In 2013, WOSO started a sponsorship program for community recommended critically vulnerable children in a local private primary school. Today 65 children are enrolled in this program, and already, 6 of these children have moved into WOSO's secondary school. In 2014 WOSO added micro-credit loan groups for women who wanted to start small businesses to generate income for their families. Today there are 10 groups comprised of 70 women in this program, and 28 women who have already graduated from it. And, in 2015, WOSO, at the request of community members, built and opened Shepherd High School to meet the desperate need for a secondary school in this region. Currently there are 338 adolescents in grades 1 through 4 (with 251 boarders at the school). WOSO's future goal is that by 2020 Shepherd High will be able to offer a full secondary school curriculum (with the last two years of high school) so that students can obtain a high school diploma. WOSO is also planning to add a school clinic to meet the basic health needs of students and staff. WOSO remains committed to assisting vulnerable members of the community by providing access to education and health care and trough local community involvement