After many months of preparation and anticipation, three flights in 24 hours and another day’s travel by coach, I finally found myself in Rukungiri walking the red dusts of Uganda.
Rukungiri is a well spread out town with many, many tucked away villages in the surrounding district, full of people in worldly poverty but rich in gratitude. Children flock to say agandi (hello) and to touch the skin of the muzungu (white person). Where the families will speak for years to come about how the people from the west gave their time and money just to come to see them.
And in seeing these faces you hear of their lives.
How many have children with disabilities but no help.
How many children are orphaned and have siblings to care for but no help.
How grandmothers are left with grandchildren but no help.
Where young girls have to walk to bore holes to collect water early in the mornings and gain soul destroying attention from boys and men, but have no help.
Where there are plenty of schools but many families who can not afford to send their children to school and there is no help.
Teenage girls who drop out of school because they get pregnant or can’t keep up academically. For them there is no help.
Then I was introduced to men and women who are running amazing life changing projects, some of which Ian has already written about in his blog posts after his return from Rukungiri.
I would like to write about one project that has scarred my heart with it’s story of tragedy, and yet hope and beauty.
The Mosaic Vision Ministry is a Christian project founded by an American woman, Dr Shannon Irvine, and is run by local people from Rukungiri who share the same heart for this vision under the banner of Jesus. The project finds Orphans in the district and brings help and hope.
In Uganda to be orphaned means you have lost one parent and to be double orphaned means you have lost both parents. The most common cause of death is HIV/aids. Although some die of malaria and other causes. Some parents are still alive but have mental health issues or have left the area and abandoned their children.
The team is headed up by a wonderful, passionate woman called Catherine. She and her team seek out lost children who hide away in the dark corners of these villages; hungry, dirty and without love. An example of many situations is a child of 8 years old stepping into the parental role to look after, and somehow trying to provide for his siblings of 6, 4 and 2 years of age.
The team assesses the child’s/children’s situation and are immediately active in finding a surrogate mother to care for them. If a grandmother or aunt is unable to step into the role, then usually other widows are found in the area who are willing to home and love these children.
Where though, does the funding come from to allow these widows to care for these children? They need food and clothing, some need medical care and ideally all need schooling.
This is where we come in. Options for financial support are varied from sponsorship for individual orphans and/or widows on a monthly basis to one off donations to provide for school uniforms and mosquito nets, or towards a HIV / AIDS nutrition programme, clean water, emergencies, micro enterprise, agriculture and counselling centres.
I was welcomed into a home of a grandmother who now has ten grandchildren in her care. We took aid of clothes and hygiene care. We had bought them a goat, which they will sell for money or keep for Christmas. We built them an outside drying rack for their cooking utensils so that they were not left to dry in the filth of the yard floor. Four of the ten children wonderfully have sponsors already. What about the other six? What about all the other children and widows I didn’t meet? My heart yearns to help these precious people, to help bring change to their precious lives.
Therefore, at Schudio, we are now committed to encourage the schools we work with to raise money for Mosaic Vision Ministries. We want to encourage you to do something as simple or as creative as you feel able, to collect as much money as is possible for you.
Work with us to bring hope and to change the now, and the future of widows and orphans in Rukungiri. In doing so the teachers and children in our schools hearts will be made bigger and fuller and our hope as you get more involved, the understanding of need in the world will inspire you and your community to always be proactive in making a better world for everyone.
For more information on each of these needs click on link http://www.mosaicvision.org/ways-to-give/.
But if you would like to get on board with our work with Mosaic Vision and the other charities we support, contributing to this incredible work these charities do day to day, please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you.