Sponsor Orphans at the Good Hope School Uganda
The Good Hope School Story
The Good Hope School is a special community school and orphanage located in a poor rural district of Southwestern Uganda. It was established by a young school teacher, and our friend, Innocent Tumuheki on his family’s land around 2007, with the support of the Peace Peddlers Foundation, headed by adventurer and entrepreneur Jamie Bianchini. Innocent’s vision was to provide accessible and affordable education to the children of the district and a loving home for local orphaned children whose parents had died (generally from AIDS).
The school offers Kindergarten - 7th Grade education and is a government-licensed primary school and registered non-profit charitable organization in Uganda. They employ 10 teachers and 5 support staff, including a live-in matron and patron for the children's full-time care. There are currently 136 children enrolled, of which 56 (41%) are orphans that live at the school.
A small International Advisory Group of volunteers from the USA and Australia, who have all personally spent time at the school over the years, work together to provide mentoring support to Innocent and his team, and to help fundraise for school maintenance and upgrade projects.
Orphans In Need
Extreme economic challenges hit the region in October 2019 when the nearby border with Rwanda closed due to escalated conflict between the two countries and remains closed to local trade even today. This sent the fragile rural economy into turmoil as most families rely on selling the goods they farm to markets across the border. Then with the onset of Covid-19 in 2020 the region’s economy ground to a halt. They have not recovered and the situation is getting worse due to crippling inflation and food shortages linked to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The modest support that the community used to provide to the orphans living at the school ended when these hard times set in and our friend Innocent has been feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders ever since just trying to keep the children fed and the broader school operating.
Orphan Sponsorship Program
In June 2020 the International Advisory Group commenced a project with Innocent to establish a project plan, budget and governance for a sponsorship initiative to connect fully and partially orphaned children with international sponsors. The aim was to financially provide for the orphans independently from the school’s troubled budget, at least for the next few years while the region and the school recovers.
Support with Purpose
Our main goal with the sponsorships is for each of the children to know they have a family or person out there in the world who is supporting them from afar and celebrating their accomplishments. During this tough time of uncertainty in Uganda, the sponsorship program is giving the kids and community hope. These children have been dealt a very tough hand in life and shouldn’t have to carry the additional anxiety of worrying that they’ll be turned out onto the streets or feel that they are a burden to the school or their community.
Summary of 2022 projects and accomplishments
If you'd like to see a 2-minute summary of what we accomplished last year then please check out the Sponsors 2022 School Highlights Video:
Life & Death Difference for Vulnerable Children
Due to the intensity of hardship caused by soaring inflation, schools and orphanages across Uganda have been closing at rates unprecedented outside of times of war. Abandoned children are finding their way to the cities to live on the streets and fight for survival. In July 2022, the Good Hope School took in 30 new children from a nearby orphanage that financially collapsed to save them from the street. However, the school can't afford to keep these children fed, housed, and schooled for much longer.
Clergy from the district capital (Kabale), who visit the villages, have reported a surge in desperate, hungry, cold and exhausted children huffing gasoline to numb their pain. Police have allegedly been rounding up mobs of these abandoned children from the streets and driving them far out into the jungle to leave them there in hopes that they won't find their way out and back to the city... This is the terrible and shocking reality facing these vulnerable children, some as young as 3 years old!
If we don't find sponsors for these new additions to the Good Hope School community then we fear they may end up facing some potentially terrible fates.
25 Remaining Orphans Need Sponsors to Survive
As of January 2022, we have coordinated sponsors for 32 children (the original 27 living at the school pre-pandemic + 5 via new sponsors from this campaign initiative).
We urgently need to find sponsors for 25 remaining children who are feeling particularly anxious, worried they'll be abandoned again, but this time to a much crueller fate on the street. Innocent tells us that each child prays daily their name will be called to tell them that they’ve been blessed with a sponsor of their own so that they'll be safe for another year.
Children In Need of Sponsors
Pictures and some background on the remaining children in need of sponsorship are below. More photos and information on the School’s Board of Trustees and International Advisory Group are available on request and included in the Sponsor Welcome Pack.
How Sponsorship Works
Your $0.90 cents per day sponsorship covers the child's food, clothing, bedding, accommodations, personal and school supplies, medical needs, and school fees.
All money contributed goes directly to the school for the exclusive benefit of the children. There are no paid program administrators or third parties involved.
Sharing a sponsorship between 2 or more people/families is also an option. If you have a friend or family member that you can share with then that'd be great, just let us know and we can loop them into the program updates. Or, if you need help being paired up with another party just let Hal know.
The 2023 fees are USD$110 per term ($330 for the year), less than $1 per day...
This can be paid in full upfront (preferred for administration purposes) or by term in instalments as follows:
Term 1 (Jan-April) – USD$110 by February 1st
Term 2 (May-Aug) – USD$110 by May 1st
Term 3 (Sept-Dec) – USD$110 by September 1st
We ask that you please commit to sponsoring a child for a 2-year minimum since they will be dependent on your generosity to maintain them. If you need to end your support at any time please just give us as much notice as possible so we can try to pair the child up with a new sponsor to minimise impacts on them.
Next Steps - How to Sponsor a Child
1) Please select which child (or children) you’d like to sponsor from the profiles above.
2) Click the 'Donate Now' button and enter the amount you can give at this time (i.e. $330 per child per year or $110 per term per child), followed by your payment method.
3) After the payment is submitted you'll be prompted to enter a comment.
**Please use this text box to enter the name(s) of the child/children you are sponsoring so that we can track who's been sponsored and remove their profiles accordingly.**
4) The GoFundMe platform will email you a payment receipt.
5) We will send you a follow-up 'thank you' message via the GoFundMe platform asking you to email us your contact details so that we can communicate directly with you in the future and send you the Sponsor welcome pack and a letter or drawing from your new sponsor child/children.
6) This GoFundMe page will remain live throughout 2023 for sponsors that need to make payments on a term-by-term basis. The sponsorship coordinators will send reminders to those sponsors ahead of each term.
Please email Hal through the GoFundMe contact page or phone/message with any questions (texts or WhatsApp are also fine). Hal's contact information is provided below.
Communicating with the Kids
Our preferred methods for communicating with the children are through WhatsApp and email. Messages are received and shared with the kids by the School’s Director, Innocent Tumuheki, and the school's Social Worker, Jennifer Kyarikunda (one of the earliest orphan graduates from the school who is now completing a Social Work Degree at the local Kabale University!).
Short WhatsApp videos are a great way for you to show the kids the environment around where you live, your family, your pets, etc! They love receiving messages of encouragement or even simple greetings and check-ins like asking them “How was your day?” You can also write letters and then take a picture of them to send by email or WhatsApp. More information on how to communicate with the children is provided in your sponsor welcome pack.
Other Ways To Help
Can't sponsor but want to help...
If you aren't able to sponsor a child at this time but would like to donate towards the cause then any amount would be greatly appreciated.
Spread the word
Please use the 'share campaign' feature (or directly share the above link) with your friends or family, along and encourage them to consider supporting a child.
If you’d like to check out some other pictures of the school and the joyful kids then please check out (and click 'like') on the school’s Facebook Page:
Thank you for your time, interest and consideration of support for the Good Hope School and these special kids who desperately need your help!
May your year ahead be full of blessings, happiness and good health!
Yours in service
Hal Dobbins and Jeanne Howell
[email redacted] - phone: +61438141032 (Hal - Australia)
[email redacted] - phone: +18587618500 (Jeanne - USA)
Video about How the School Started
This video (made in around 2014) tells the full story of the school's inception and is inspirational if you have the time and interest:
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