Rita’s mother didn’t know where to turn when her husband passed away, leaving her to care for seven children in rural Uganda. The children went to a government school, but still had fees to pay in order to go to school. They worked hard, making coal from firewood and selling it in town to help out with the family needs. Eventually, Rita was sponsored and was able to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. Today, she is a certified teacher at Amazing Grace Primary School, one of Hope Africa International’s partnering schools in Uganda. Rita is giving back to the program and her country by serving as a teacher and supporting her mother, nieces and nephews through the income she is earning. Sponsorship is one of the best solutions to alleviating poverty as it addresses the educational, physical and spiritual needs of children who are the future!
It is a daily struggle for most families in rural Africa who depend on sustenance farming just to feed their children. This leaves little room for the “extras”, such as school fees, clothes, or medical care. In one girl’s situation, the “extra” was her Secondary (High School) School fees. After three years of Secondary School, her father could no longer pay for her fees, so she dropped out of school altogether. In the midst of her vulnerability, she found herself pregnant and alone, completely abandoned by the child’s father. She gave birth to a beautiful boy named Brighton.
With the additional mouth to feed, her already stressed parents became desperate. She also became desperate and gave in to the pressure of quickly marrying another man, hoping to relieve them. Tragically, the man rejected Brighton and forced her to give him up to the care of her parents.
Our hearts break when we hear of this kind of rejection, an all too common story for children in Eastern Uganda. Thankfully, Brighton’s grandparents love him deeply, but their ailing health prevents them from providing for his school fees. So, Brighton has been waiting (for over a year now) to be sponsored so he can receive a quality education, uniforms, medical care and the hope he is not forgotten.
We want to bring Brighton into our Hope Africa “Family” so he can reach his potential and follow his dream of becoming a doctor. Most importantly, we want to help Brighton to grow into the man, husband or father God created him to be. We believe this is how the cycle of poverty can be broken!
Most of our sponsored children have stories like Brighton’s, but are thriving in our program through the simple gift of sponsorship. They are excelling in school, growing in God’s love, and learning how to be leaders, all because someone extended love to them through sponsorship. Sponsorship does change the life of a child dramatically and you can be a part of this transformation!
Would you consider helping Brighton reach his potential? You can sponsor him today at www.hopeafricakids.com!
Imagine the pressure of trying to prove yourself over and over for something completely out of your control, something you must do in order to survive to the next day. In rural Uganda producing children, specifically sons, is often what defines women. If a woman cannot have children or if she only bears girls, she most likely will face rejection, abuse, and abandonment.
“You are worthless,” they said to her walking away and leaving her to care for her girls. Five of them thought she was responsible for the gender of the children they produced, failing to recognize they themselves created that gender. Five different men abandoned her and their collective ten daughters, leaving them to fend for themselves. Now, one child has passed away, and the three oldest daughters left their mother to seek whatever means necessary to care for themselves.
What happens, then, in the mind of these girls as they grow up knowing their fathers did not value them enough to stay with their mother? How can they learn in the depths of their souls that God created them, loves them and will never forsake them as a perfect Father?
Today, this woman and her six daughters struggle to survive simply because they are the “wrong” gender. They all live in a tiny rented room, each girl with barely enough to make it through each day. They sometimes go a day without eating, most days with only one meal. She waits despairingly, hoping for an answer. She waits for even just one daughter to be sponsored, so that her girl can have a better future than this.
Sponsorship gives girls opportunities they may otherwise never have, growing up in a hostile world. They are allowed to excel in the best schools, allowed to dream about their futures, encouraged by Hope Africa Staff who love them like their own children, taught what it means to be loved by God as their Father, and challenged to lead others as they grow older. Why wouldn’t we give them these opportunities to break this cycle of poverty and hurt?
UPDATE: Nine-year old Aisha is one of those six abandoned girls, who was waiting to be sponsored for over a year now. We rejoice that she was sponsored after we shared her story! What if now is the time for you to consider investing in a child’s life? We have more children, who like Aisha, have been waiting for a year!
Abandoned by her husband even after he was released from prison, she did not know where to turn or even how to make ends meet. What were her options as a single mother in rural Africa without an education or skills? The stigma of being alone must have been oppressive, but trying to find a way to pay rent was overwhelming.
This is a common issue for many women in Uganda who have been widowed or abandoned, leaving them helpless and sometimes even homeless. Her landlord had no mercy, after all, he had his own expenses to cover and probably many renters facing similar situations. It was not long before she and her children were evicted from their one-room rented home, alone and abandoned once more. The shame this little family faced as a result is difficult to comprehend.
But thankfully, God’s mercy came through their loving church who paid for a place for them to rent. While they finally had a place to live, there simply was not enough food to sustain them. When our Ugandan Hope Africa staff heard that this sponsored child’s family was suffering, they stepped in to provide food, demonstrating the love and compassion so greatly needed.
As we learn of these stories, we are reminded how extremely important sponsorship is in the lives of our children and their families. This child is being given opportunities he would never have without sponsorship…opportunities to reach his potential and to then impact his own family and his community. As he grows up in Hope Africa, he will most importantly learn what love truly looks like and how to show mercy and compassion to others in their deepest times of need.
“For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and the needy.” Psalms 72:12-13