A Received Dream…Danton Were

A Received Dream…Danton Were
By Denis Wandera

For a boy who comes from a typical large African family with no means to support his education ambition, seeing his life now changed and his dreams rejuvenated is so humbling.
With eight children born to parents who hardly made it into a school classroom, education wasn’t something that Danton Were’s family considered so highly to offer to their children. Yet more than anything, education still remains as the number one investment that anyone can ever put in the life of a child living in a third world country Uganda.
It unlocks their mind! It inspires them to dream possibilities! It spurs them to make decisions that will affect generations after them! And more than anything else, one educated child in Uganda, revolutionizes their family to start thinking long-term for their nation.
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“No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure,” Emma Goldman.

That’s the very core foundation that BU is premised on. To meet the spiritual, medical and education needs of children like Danton. It’s amazing to see how in just few years into his sponsorship, his dreams have started blossoming like morning flower petals.
From a sit-alone boy, Danton has found a new family of friends in BU, his education is taken care of and his future is secured. Now he dreams that someday, he would be a social worker; specialized in children and women rights.

Danton’s mom, who also doubles as a beneficiary of BU women micro-loan speaks so highly of her son whom she refers to as the most “promising” of her eight children.
“Sponsorship has changed his dreams. I’ve a lot of hopes that someday he will change his family tree,” Edith said, with a lot of optimism in her voice.

One day at a time, one child at a time, no matter our age or social standing in society, if we feel compelled to reach out to where we cannot physically reach, one sure way is through prayers, love and sponsorship of the “least of society.”

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, then you haven’t slept with a mosquito in the same room,” African proverb.

What’s needed is an army of us who understand this and commit to action. It takes a plan and a daily resolve to be that kind of person. For as long as we’re breathing, we all have a contribution to make in the world…it’s not just for our own satisfaction to see lives changed, It’s a Kingdom business!

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The Storm Before The Rainbow….

The Story of Kubyabwe Elizabeth by Denis Wandera

Every child dreams of being born in a world where his/her parents would love them and teach them to follow “the right ways.” A world perhaps where they would grow to be a source of joy to their family and experience their love and affirmation. This was the kind of environment that Elizabeth desired to be born and raised into. But her hopes were nipped in the bud when, at one month old, she lost her dad under mysterious circumstances. That was a big blow to her mother who had just brought her sixth bundle of joy into the world.

Elizabeth’s mom narrates a wrecking ordeal of her husband slipping into coma a week after delivery! He developed acute cough and cold. Attempts by doctors to save his life were futile! Three weeks later, he lost the battle of life.In the community where Elizabeth was born, orphans often find it hard to “take their place” in society because of the harsh cultural realities. The extended families often grab property from them and leave the widow with barely anything to hang on.

For every storm, there’s a rainbow. Great entrepreneurial minds are tested in times of scarcity. Elizabeth’s mom did not wait to lurch in self-pity for her fallen husband yet she had six children to take care of. She hatched a business idea of making pancakes and sold to school children for breakfast

On a good day, she made a turnover of three dollars. She saved one dollar everyday which helped her send Elizabeth’s siblings to school. Because of little resources, they studied in turns, often skipping some semesters because she couldn’t bear the brunt of tuition on her own.
Our hopes for the future give us momentum. They keep us moving forward through the inevitable hard times, the discouragement, and the despair.

Remaining positive and motivated when her burden felt unbearable was undoubtedly difficult. She encountered challenges that initially seemed insurmountable. While she waited for a solution, faith was all she had to hang on to, and sometimes simply trusting that there would be an answer got her through those darkest moments

The family received a boost when BU registered Elizabeth into the program. “It was a sigh of relief!” Her mom said. “I never dreamed my daughter would go to a good school.” She added, referring to York academy in Bugiri town where Elizabeth attends middle school. Everything in the family changed from despair to HOPE through Elizabeth’s sponsorship. It’s amazing how a sponsor’s prayers, letters, and support from a cross a different time-zone can transform the life of one child and her family.

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Ultimately this is BU’s sole commitment! To love “them” and give them a purpose in life then present them with the gospel of Christ that permeates their hearts. In turn, they act as catalysts in their own families, which transcends into their communities and soon, the ripple spreads to all spheres of their nation.

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From A Shattered Background to Glorious Days

An In Depth Story of Auma Judith by Denis Wandera

Judith 2016On about an acre piece of land, lies a deserted home akin to a war zone where guns have gone silent. Two dilapidated huts and a semi-permanent house stand aloof on different corners. No signs of domestic animals  like goats, cows, and chicken which are a common treasure in most African village homesteads. What’s left is a fresh air of wind blowing from a Eucalyptus trees in the home yard. This is a place that not so long ago, Judith Auma called home.
Judith's family home 2016
It was all rosy for the family and life was as normal as day follows night until five years later, divorce of her parents struck! With a very weak government laws on domestic relations, Judith’s mom left with all her four siblings, leaving her dad behind who now lives alone in the home. Mr. Wilberforce speaks with fond memories of a happy family he once held together. He desired that his children would someday be a pillar in society and break the yoke of illiteracy in his family lineage. His hopes are now vested in Judith.
Judith and father 2016In a country where most village folks survive on less than a dollar per day, and no government free education, when the family budget is hard to meet, girls are usually the first victim to drop out of school and get married off. No effort in children ministry is more enduring or more stabilizing in our Christian faith than outreach to children. Perhaps Judith would be a victim of such circumstances if she hadn’t been rescued through Beyond Uganda. Our role is to provide a conducive  environment so that every opportunity to grow and thrive can be fulfilled through every child that crosses our path. They start to see possibilities through their eyes, their ambitions are put into new perspectives, and eventually they start to aspire to conquer new horizons that otherwise would have eluded them.
walking with dad 2016Judith is on steady path at school and hopes someday she would be a human rights lawyer and focus her energy on uplifting the plight of a girl child in her community. Societal change can start at the very bottom with the life of one child. She aspires to make a better marriage and change her family tree as she believes that on certain occasions, God uses children instead of adults to accomplish strategic things in his kingdom.
Judith has dreams like any other child and now sees the hope to attain those dreams but she can’t do it alone. Beyond Uganda partners with 10 sponsors for each of our kids to ensure their immediate needs of food, clothing, shelter and school fees are met but also a future fund for University, life skills training and housing as she transitions to adulthood. Judith still needs 7 sponsors to ensure her future needs are met, would you consider being a part of Judith’s story and investing $20 a month to change her life and future? A simple click can change a life…
http://store.beyonduganda.org/product-p/nfajms.htm

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A Story of a Tattered Spirit – Veronica Nyachwo

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 A story of a tattered spirit – By Denis Wandera

 They say life is a story, and so here is Veronica’s version! You wouldn’t know what it means to be born to teenage parents and raised by an estranged mother until you were in Veronica’s shoes. She portrays a child whose dreams once hung by a thread, whose chances were once flushed down the drainage of hopelessness, and deeply scarred by exploitation and abandonment.

 

It is a tale of being born into the world as a result of a casual sexual relationship between two high school teenagers. Her mom and dad then were at fifteen and seventeen years respectively. The incident would later turn out to haunt them for the unexpected decision they had made and it spread to their innocent baby, Veronica. Not ready to bear the consequences of pregnancy and responsibilities of a father, he disappeared leaving Veronica’s mom behind with a two month pregnancy. She was caught in the web of life to carry out an abortion and stay in school or sacrifice her education to sit at home and wait to deliver. Eventually she settled for the latter.

 

As they say, life is full choices, but for every choice, a decision has to be made and for every decision, a price has to be paid. Well, the price that Veronica’s mom had to pay carried a huge currency on the life of little Veronica. Left in the hands of a single teenage mother struggling to overcome the trauma of losing an education to a man she thought ‘loved’ her, clueless on parenting, and worst of all lost dignity in society, life became a double tragedy.

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When Veronica was one year old, her mom moved from the village to Bugiri town in search for a “job.” Before long she met another man and moved in with him. He was kind enough to let her move in with her daughter, Veronica. She conceived four kids in the second marriage and the future seemed bright. But before long, the once a promising marriage turned sour! The husband started being abusive to his wife and kids, stopped providing, and sometimes would not return home. Soon he called it quits and abandoned the family in the house for another woman.

 

These horrible experiences of Veronica’s have deeply wounded her spirit. She often longed to meet her dad someday hoping her circumstances could change. That door opened two years ago, at twelve years, for the first time, she got to meet her dad who abandoned her mom at two months pregnancy. It was a scene of mixed feelings. Veronica was torn between embracing her father despite the ugly past he inposed on her mom or shun him. Her mother now struggles to raise the five kids in a single bedroom house in the slums of Bugiri. Her daily ‘job’ is to work on people’s gardens where she earns averagely two dollars a day to spend on food and house rent.

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So much has changed when veronica found hope in the BU program. Her mother says it has helped Veronica to change her attitude towards her painful past to accept her current situation. It restored her esteem with a descent education which she couldn’t afford before. She’s optimistic that her daughter would use her personal experience of teenage misfortune to draw lessons and remain focused to her goals. In Veronica’s community, poverty breeds desperation among teenage girls, who are then often easy prey…lured into sexual relationships by promises of little luxuries that lead to a downward spiral of unplanned children and hopelessness in society.

 

“My mom’s life story has taught me what matters most in life, and I use it to try to shape the culture of my present life.” Veronica says. She aspires to be a role model to her siblings; have a family someday where love, respect, and communication would thrive.

With the awful past, Veronica’s family is striving to comprehend that joy shouldn’t be dictated by their circumstances in life. It’s a decision, a very brave one, about how they’ve to respond to life daily. It’s paradoxical that the wealthy tend to be joyful when things go their way and good things are happening in their lives. For the poor like Veronica’s homestead, such good fortune and good things almost never come. Yet laughter and smiles abound. The greatest weapon among the poor such as these is their ability to be truly joyfully and grateful.

 

There’s something magical in the heavenly realm that happens when the wealthy and the poor get together, each ends up meeting the desperate needs of the other. Ironically, one tends to die in need, and the other in greed. But when Jesus brings us together, the genuine needs of both are mysteriously and wonderfully satisfied. In God’s amazing economy, the rich and the poor need each other. We are all called to be Christ’s hands, Christ’s feet and Christ’s voice. We do not have the option of ignoring poverty. Even a simple cup of cold water given in His name, he said, is like a gift directly to Him. Who would skip that opportunity!!!? To invest in Veronica’s life today and make a difference in her life and future, click here: http://store.beyonduganda.org/product-p/nfnv1ms.htm. Your small sacrifice can truly change a life!

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Evil Overcome – By Dennis Wandera

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I was invited on a retreat from my church in Kampala with other young adults to have a weekend of fun, fellowship and growth. Imagine my surprise when I heard the history of our camp that we would be spending time at. I just had to share.

Great testimony here from the Austria/German couple that set out for a ministry called Vision for Africa. This prayer campsite is right on a hill near the Nile River. It was a home of evil sacrifices where witch doctors would sacrifice blood every month. The natives had “cursed” this place with a dry spell of two years with no rain. But God called them to come here and set up an altar for Him in the middle of the jungle. People laughed at crazy muzungus. Every morning they found sacrifices as they went on constructing the alter and place God called them to build. Today the former lead witch doctor confessed Christ and is pastoring a church. The forces of evil have been overcome. Community transformed. Hundreds flock here to spend quite time with God!!! A truly amazing weekend of growing closer to God and other believers.

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Susan Akol – A Life Rescued from Obscurity by Dennis Wandera

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susans familysusan and mary close Susan with her family in front of their village home

About two miles past the market across the highway from the Beyond Uganda office in Bugiri town lies a desperate slum. A terribly dark place with grass thatched huts as a common scene. No bathrooms and toilets in the vicinity, a clear testament that residents here deposit their waste in the nearby bush as seen from buzzing flies all around.

The old generation spends much of the day drinking alcohol. An epidemic of malaria, typhoid, and starvation sweeps into the shacks, stealing the children, one at a time. There is altogether too little money, too little vaccine, too little hope. Basically no role models and mentors for the young generation to look up to; the rule of the day is, “to whom it may concern.” This forms a community where Susan Akol was rescued from three years ago into BU.

Her mother emerges from a tiny mud-spattered hut which houses the couple and five siblings. She zigzags to balance on ground, clearly a sign of hangover from the previous night of a drinking binge. The husband had left the previous evening to drink with his buddies and not returned yet by ten in the morning. Susan, who had spent some time without coming home when BU relocated her to a boarding school, looked inconsolable by the appalling situation in her home and neighborhood. The centre can no longer hold in this homestead and things have fallen apart, to say the least!

Her mother in ragged clothes, still tipsy with alcohol, wields a rod to beat a kid. Susan stood there silently for an awkward length of time, tears blurring her vision, emotions engulfed her spirit; arguably reminding her of the horrible conditions she had been rescued from a few years ago. Susan perhaps could have ended up like her four siblings who died at infancy due to hunger at home. We do not know what somebody’s potential could turn out, but a child’s life lost is a potential lost. The family has never seen a piece of meat on their plate since last Christmas which was bought from a Christmas gift sent by Susan’s sponsor. To imagine a slice of bread and coffee for breakfast in this home tantamounts to ‘luxury’

The family had just spent three days in the previous month “sleeping” in the cold under a tree around their yard for failure to pay their landlord accumulated house rent for six months that summed to twelve dollars. Each month they have to part with two dollars for their hut rent.

Seated under a mango tree, Susan reaches to carry her little sibling of one year on her lap. With a malnourished physique, swollen cheeks and protruding belly – so small, so sick with a withered body! She wore no diapers. The state of despair at home, coupled with parents battering themselves daily had forced Susan to spend nights in classrooms at the neighbor school before BU evacuated her to the Children’s Home.

Despite the horrors of poverty and devastations at home, Susan had a childhood conviction that someday things would change for better, at least for her life. She started escaping from home on Sunday to attend Bugiri Baptist Church with her best friend Paulina, also in the BU sponsored program. Her parents had waved a red flag for her not go to church. It’s through church that an opportunity beckoned for her into BU’s “Not-Forgotten” children’s program.

“A new dawn had come!” Susan says. “When I got a better place to sleep, given good food, and new friends in BU, my life changed drastically.” Susan speaks with a beaming smile about a life time opportunity that had just opened. More still, she felt elated with encouraging letters from her sponsor.

The ‘small’ gesture of love and support from Susan’s sponsor and the core child discipleship program of BU ministry has shaped her life and dreams to become an educationalist someday. Susan believes that education is the main key to unlock someone’s potential. We cannot change a community and a nation with majority ignorant citizens. Knowledge is power! Their mindset and beliefs have to be unlocked first. This is the daunting future task at Susan’s hands.

She hopes to extend education services to her illiterate community and inspire young dreams. The beautiful thing on her side of the world is that an educated child becomes a multiplier of learning, creating a ripple effect. They ultimately change the churches in which they worship. Changed churches produce changed communities. In time, changed communities will change nations and eventually the world. It all begins with the young blood such as Susan Akol.

Her future concept is well inscribed in Henry Ford’s school of thought when he said, “The only thing you can give a man without hurting him is an opportunity.” He knew that no amount of handouts or doing good things on a person’s behalf gets to the heart of the matter, which is the inner, destructive message of “Just give up.” An opportunity, on the other hand, cuts to the very core by saying, “I believe in you! You can do it. Don’t you dare give up!”

As Christians, what children has God placed in your life on a regular basis? Whom He has entrusted to your care and influence? All it took for Susan’s dreams to change was a commitment from her sponsor to invest in her life and followed with words of “you can do it, I love you, I’m proud of you, God approves of you!” Every child needs to have at least one person who would love him of her unconditionally. What a wonderful world it would be if every child was loved, protected and nourished by the adults in his or her life.

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The community bathroom for Susan’s home

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The bed that will be shared by the mother and all the children

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The kitchen in Susan’s hut home

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The inside of Susan’s hut home with all their belongings

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Heartland Worship Center Gets A Well

We are nearing completion of the 3rd clean water well dug in this year of 2015!!! What an amazing accomplishment. And even more amazing is this was the spontaneous idea and effort of one Sunday School Class from Heartland Worship Center in Paducah, KY. This class, mostly made of retirement age men and women, decided not only to hear Dennis Wandera speak in their classroom but to step up to do more. The class understood that clean water is something they take for gran it and that not everyone has access to clean water. In fact, just drinking clean water is only a fraction of the problem…Consider this:

  • 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water. 37% of those people live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 1 in 9 people world wide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.
  • 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases.
  • In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
  • Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease.
  • Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys to be the family member responsible for fetching water.
  • Over half of the developing world’s primary schools don’t have access to water and sanitation facilities. Without toilets, girls often drop out at puberty.
  • Less than one in three people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a proper toilet.
  • 84% of the people who don’t have access to improved water, live in rural areas, where they live principally through subsistence agriculture.
  • The average container for water collection in Africa, the jerry can, weighs over 40 lbs when full.
  • Almost two-thirds, 64% of households rely on women to get the family’s water when there is no water source in the home.
  • Globally we use 70% of our water sources for agriculture and irrigation, and only 10% on domestic uses.
  • Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.
  • According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3 and $34!
  • By investing in clean water alone, young children around the world can gain more than 413 million days of health!
  • The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; the same as an entire year’s labor in all of France!
  • Research has shown that for every 10% increase in women’s literacy, a country’s whole economy can grow by up to 0.3%.
    Can you see how access to clean water can change a family forever!!!! So celebrate the actions of a few this year to change these numbers and reverse the problem. Here are some pictures from the three wells dug in 2015.

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  • Pictured above from left to right: 1st well dug in the village area of Dennis Wandera and family where a well was started over 30 years ago but caved in and was never attempted again. This community currently walks approx. 3-4 miles one way to retrieve water daily but now they walk steps to clean water for lilfe! , 2nd well dug in front of the BU Children’s Home so not only does it serve BU but almost 900 others in surrounding families in the community, and last but not least is the 3rd well at the community of Heartland Worship Center Uganda. This community walks almost 1 hour to the closest form of water which is probably the dirtiest you could imagine. This is crisp, clean water that will serve over 1,000 men, women and children everyday!

“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

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The Story of Grace !

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This long journey has had an amazing journey through the people of God to bring about His Glory for one little boy. Grace is the second born to the in country director of Beyond Uganda. He was born with a small growth on his belly button but over the last 5 years has grown to the huge growth you see in the pictures. The lack of funds and lack of clean, safe medical attention has kept two loving parents in prayer for their son with no other options. God heard those prayers and spoke to the heart of a woman in Paducah (Sarah Housman) that whispered to a doctor friend (Karen Banister) that just happened to have jury duty with the U.S. director of Beyond Uganda and before we knew it she had contacted a surgical friend in Kenya that happened to be in Uganda. Grace and his family traveled to Kampala on April 15th for surgery and was discharged successfully on April 21st. with a new start on life. We are so thankful for the obedience of each of these people to listen to what God asked of them, no matter how big or how small, and trust that He would use them as part of a bigger picture. We will keep you updated on this amazing story and this precious little boys life. Thank you to all of you that have been part of this journey with us. Glory to God in the Highest!!!

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A Day in the Life of BU “Kids Mother” ~ By Dennis Wandera

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She is the face working tirelessly behind the scenes to practically nurture the little souls housed at Beyond Uganda Children’s Home. Specioza Aboth, has gone beyond her routine of an 8am-5pm job as matron, to having vulnerable children as an inseparable part of her life. Her work and heart for the children is invaluable – today we share with you a day in the life of this extraordinary woman. To Aunt Spacey, as she is fondly known by the children, making a decision to come here two years ago was bitter-sweet. Bitter because as an estranged wife with her husband, she was leaving behind her six children, and sweet because she was set to answer the clarion call of being part of something beautiful that God is doing daily in the lives and dreams that were but curtailed by the chains of poverty. She gave up her business, home, and her life so that she could join BU ministry in the radical walk of living out our faith in away beyond mere words. Orphanages are the only places that could leave one empty and full at the same time [Isaiah 49:15-16]. This is what is being witnessed of the 42 years old single mother. Though you may spend a few days in an orphanage in your lifetime, the children who live there for much of theirs will carry your love and introduction to His love with them as long as they live. Even more still, you will carry the blessing of being a blessing with you everyday of your life Each child in this home has a touching story, a delicate past on how they ended up here. Tales of neglect, loss of parents and abuse have become part of their life story. Listening to them is heartbreaking, you suffer in their place! Amidst all these agony, Specioza chose to lay down her life as a mother and a tower of hope so that these children can have happy moments like any other child. “Christian orphanages are far a favorite place to serve among those who are called according to His purpose.” She says. No better place one can ever find with a cultural diversity than here where children from different ethnic tribes and family backgrounds meet to speak a singular language – the one of love and sharing dreams and ambitions. By five in the morning, she’s up and making sure every kid gets ready for devotion and the 6:30am school van. Specioza ensures each one is aboard before saying a prayer to flag off their day. She then returns home to do house chores before heading to BU office for staff devotion and help out on any voluntary assignments at hand. At 4pm, she gets back home to make sure the kids find evening tea upon their return from school at 5pm. The girls here have a benefit of learning kitchen chores from her as the boys collect water and clean the compound. At dinner time, Specioza is listening to stories from the children on how their day has been. It gets more fun as others share the comical stories from their teachers and classmates. Evening devotion would then wrap up the day before they retire to bed. Although most kids still struggle reading the Bible in English, Specioza helps to guide them.  Occasionally she visits them at school with BU staffer in-charge of children’s welfare to ascertain their study environment. Otherwise described as a selfless, exemplary, and a rare gem that gives equal opportunities to each child, she comes as a servant to many. “She doesn’t just stop at telling us what to do; she goes her way to demonstrate how to do it.” Says Anthony Masaba one of the older kids at the orphanage Her inspiration to excel at her job is drawn from the desire to shape a crop of citizens raised on a strong Christian foundation that upholds values and equipped with hands-on skills to live a rewarding adult life even long after they have left the orphanage. “In here lies the potential of great future husbands and wives that shall revolutionize the marriage institution in their nation and change their family tree” Specioza predicts. All they need is the willingness to listen, the patience to understand, the strength to support, and the heart to care then they would come from hopelessness to a life of hope and ambition, from taking what life gives them to being proactive working tirelessly to beat poverty. Watching these little giants in their slumber gets you imagining the kind of dreams they have, whether they’re any different from those of children living in a traditional home setting or whether that matters anyway. It is love and care that really matters to them and for someone to tell them that all is well. At BU, we understand that family is crucial in the development of a child. We give them a chance to have a normal life despite having lost their parents or having been rejected by their families. This gesture of kindness does not only apply to our obedience to respond to the Great Commission but also resonates well with the echoes voiced by U2 band lead singer and child advocate, Bono who aptly put, “God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.

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From Darkness to Hope – By Dennis Wandera

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Paulina is that young girl you will meet among the Beyond Uganda children and easily notice her by her towering height. Strikingly beautiful with a smile that melts your heart right away; her cheerful face perhaps comes as medicine to a soul that has been wounded by the deplorable circumstances under which she was raised. Paulina Agan belongs to the Karimojong tribe, mainly occupying the north-eastern districts of Uganda, traditionally known for cattle keeping and their unique cultural lifestyle. In 2005, when the war-lord Joseph Kony’s LRA insurgency was at fever pitch in northern Uganda, the rebels stretched and ambushed several homes in the Karimojong areas, raiding their only treasured possession at gun point – the cows. Paulina’s homestead was no exception.

Her family trekked three hundred miles east, to find ‘refugee’ in Bugiri.  Although Bugiri seemed more “secure,” the economic situation, coupled with past horrible experience of guerilla invasion, reigned so heavily on the family. Paulina’s dad found a job as security guard in a primary school where he was given a tiny mud hut for accommodation with his wife and seven children. With just one mattress, the couple shared it as kids settled for disposed boxes and sacks from school food store as “bed sheets.” With a leaking roof, when it rained, for this family, it poured often forcing them to find shelter in the middle of the nights in the classrooms.

Well, her family had just found a ‘home’ but the thrust to feed waited. As her dad Joseph Omaido, returned home in wee hours of the morning to hang his bow and arrow, his wife would prepare to walk miles to the butchers to find odd jobs that would earn her one dollar in ten hours. Paulina and her siblings, they too like wild donkeys in a desert, went looking for husks in rice grinding machines to bring home as food. The family’s condition attracted ridicule from society; children were scorned and labeled outcasts in the community. To Paulina’s dad, poverty in his home is not simply about not having enough money, or going without luxuries. “It’s about struggling to get through each day, never knowing how they would survive for a week.” He says. It’s about constantly making sacrifices about living in a state of worry verging on perpetual fear. His children being haunted by the prospect of being stigmatized, humiliated and bullied in society. It may seem extreme, but it is just one true example of the daily complications and humiliations that children living in poverty in Bugiri area continue to face daily.

The devastating realities of poverty in this home overcame Paulina’s older sister, thwarting her dreams of studies and married at 15 years. Paulina, now 14 years, looks back into the turbulent days and imagines perhaps she wouldn’t be any different if God’s grace had not helped her through Beyond Uganda. From overcoming hardships to a good meal and an education, the investment that Paulina’s sponsors are making in her life is slowly shaping her dream of becoming a politician. The formerly impoverished girl has an eye for the Bugiri Woman legislative assembly seat in future.  But what inspires her to dare the murky political waters that many would otherwise have dreaded. It’s her zeal to serve and be a voice to the voiceless. “I am disappointed that leaders in Uganda hardly think and plan for the next generation, the children who are the most vulnerable in society. I would like to be a famed political lobbyist for this someday” She speaks with activism.

Her promising leadership clout is already being felt among her peers. She’s the female president for BU sponsored girls. At York Academy where she goes, during the recent school elections, Paulina edged other three contenders with a landslide to clinch the coveted seat for house captain. “Given necessary support, Paulina is a promising servant leader who is going to stand for the right Christian values. I have seen her exhibit leadership among her peers at both church and school,” Says Joyce Awori, Paulina’s mentor.

That is what happens when God puts love on our heart to transform one child at a time. When they are part of a close-knit group, they feel safe and know that they are not abandoned. They enjoy life in the shadows of taller people who genuinely care about what happens to them. In the end, they begin looking past their backgrounds and dare to dream. The poor, the weak, the small and the young all receive the benefit of common concern – to dare achieve what seemed impossible.

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