The Children's Project was set up in 1992, when the North Kigezi Diocese obtained a grant from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) to help orphaned children. The Diocese invited Pat Gilmer, a missionary with the CMS, who had previously worked with leprosy sufferers, to set up a Project to find and assist the growing number of orphaned children in the area.
This began with a survey to identify orphans – 25,000 thousand were registered. The initial grant enabled the Diocese to pay school fees for these children for the first three years. The chilli project was set up to help families to continue to pay school fees for orphans after the initial funding finished. (Nowadays primary schooling is free in Uganda)
During that first survey of orphaned children in 1992 Pat and her team were amazed by the sheer number of children with disabilities whom they encountered.
So, in 1995 the team carried out their first survey specifically to register children with disabilities. Most of these children had not had any medical help prior to this. Their needs were totally unmet, and in many cases their parents did not know how to care for them.
Since then the Project has developed into a community based programme for disabled and orphaned children and their families.
Each year, there are surveys of children with disabilities, to keep records up to date and to learn of new children. Since 1995 the Project has registered nearly 9,000 children with disabilities.
In regular visits to the UK, Pat Gilmer sought funding from churches and other donors in the UK and Ireland.
When she was due to retire, Pat asked Becky Thorn to set up a UK charitable trust to continue to channel funds to the Project. By April 2006,the Trust was able to pick up the job of communicating the Project's work and needs, and in turn pass donations to the Project in Uganda.