The average age of a Ugandan citizen is 15 years old. That makes Uganda the youngest nation on earth, on top of being one of the poorest. Over 2.5 million children in the country are orphans due to lack of medical care, tribal unrest, HIV/AIDS, lack of clean water and proper nutrition, etc. Thanks to British colonization and the likes of Idi Amin and Joseph Kony, Uganda has been almost constantly at war until the past two decades. Today, Uganda is home to approximately sixty different tribes that have been in the area for thousands of years. The culture in Uganda is still very tribal in some ways and some tribes continue to practice child sacrifice, female genital mutilation, and ritual killings. The majority of people and the government in Uganda condone polygamy, which is why HIV/AIDS has been so prevalent in the country. With little government resources and virtually no social services, the children are left to fend for themselves in the streets and villages. It is a situation beyond our comprehension here in the first world. However, there is a bright future for this young East-African nation.
Hands Of Love is an orphanage and school dedicated to helping Uganda’s orphaned and impoverished children. Hands Of Love was founded about ten years ago by a poor Ugandan pastor, Elijah Sebuchu, who had grown up in an extremely poor polygamous family. He and his wife, Ruth, began the first orphanage with their entire $10 fortune on some land that Elijah had inherited in a rural part of eastern Uganda. Within two weeks after building seven mud huts on the property, Elijah and Ruth were caring for over 200 children. Years later, after making contacts in Germany, England, and America, Hands Of Love is now quickly growing into a force for good in Uganda. Hands Of Love now has two orphanages, one in the outskirts of Kampala, the largest city, and another in Namadhi, which is where the original mud huts were. More than 1,400 kids are cared for through Hands of Love with the help of many generous people all over the world. Hands Of Love is also one of the best schools in East Africa. They offer what is equivalent to a K-12 education and last year had the 6th best National Exam scores in all of Uganda. Through their child sponsorship program, Hands Of Love provides the children with all of their basic needs as well as an education, extra-curricular activities, and a loving family to support them. However, the children who are not yet sponsored, which is currently about half of all of the children at the orphanage, do not get these same benefits due to the lack of funds and resources. They are still cared for as sufficiently as possible and receive at least one meal per day of porridge, a shared bed, and basic primary education.
Thankfully, last year Hands Of Love partnered with Convoy Of Hope, another great charity, in order to provide the non-sponsored children with the same nutrition that the sponsored children receive. Every year, Convoy of Hope sends the orphanage two forty-foot containers of nutrient enriched rice that they call Manna to feed our non-sponsored children. This allows the non-sponsored children at both orphanages to receive two meals per day, which provides them with the nutrition that their bodies need in order to grow healthily. However, each container costs us $19,000 to ship from the U.S. to Uganda. The $38,000 that Hands Of Love USA must collect annually in order to ship the two containers is quite a burden for this growing organization. However, through this crowd-funding project, you can help feed these children by helping to ship a container to the orphanage in Namadhi. Hands Of Love USA has already collected close to $8,000 of the $19,000 we need to ship one to the Namadhi location through many generous donations from people like you. As of early July, the staff at Hands Of Love Namadhi had only one third of their last shipment of Manna Packs. The remaining third will last the children roughly three months and the time the container takes to ship from the US is about four weeks. Please consider donating in order to provide these children with the nutrition that they need. Any extra money collected through this project will go toward shipping costs for future food shipments.
Ever since I visited Uganda for ten days earlier this summer and spent time with the children and staff at Hands Of Love I could not get them off my mind. What I saw during my stay truly changed the way I view life and made me want to make a difference for these children. These kids have all faced extreme hardship and have next to nothing, but they are still incredibly grateful for what they have. Though many people have wronged them in atrocious ways; they still smile when they are greeted. They may be barefoot and their clothes may be torn, but these kids are still filled with joy and laughter. Every one of these kids is truly amazing and deserves your love and support. I encourage you to give in any way you can whether it be through this project, child sponsorship, or by sending gifts. There is something that we can all learn from these amazing boys and girls in Uganda. If you have any questions about Hands Of Love you can visit our website at www.handsofloveusa.org. Thank you so much.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...” –James 1:27
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