Uganda New Hope Childrens Home

The beginning of our journey in Uganda. Helping those who need it the most in remote part of the world. How our Christianity brought together two pastors in different continents and started something special.

THE BEGINNING

Over 15 years ago, when I was pastoring a church in the UK, I lead a team that helped to establish 3 children’s homes in India. It was an incredible experience to play a part in changing so many lives back then. For the past few years I have not been directly involved in charity/mission work however continued to support and help finance different projects.

About 2 years ago I became connected with an amazing pastor in Uganda (more about him later) and after chatting for over 6 months realised that I wanted to do more so started to financially support him on a regular basis.

Over the next 18 months our friendship grew and had the sense of wanting to “go and see” that there was the possibility of doing more. The trip planned for February 2023 and a small team of 3 headed out from Malaga in Spain to Kampala Uganda with 6 23kg cases filled with donated clothes and toys. Looking back we were quite unprepared for what awaited us.

Being honest I wanted to go and see if what I had been told was genuine and to see for myself the situation.

Coming out of the airport we were met by our friend Michael and his wife Evelyn, it was like meeting an old friends however this was the first time we met. Immediately there was a sense that this trip was going to be special. Loading ourselves and our cases into a rather old 4×4 that had a lot of miles in its history we started a 3.5 hour journey to the village.

The journey to Lukindu

The roads..Well they were good, better than expected, however this didn’t last … and the driving a little chaotic to say the least. Arriving in the town where we were staying we unpacked and headed out to the village Bukaleba. This is where the roads, well tracks got very challenging with massive holes and then finally to a very rough dirt track. Some of the sights on the way were both entertaining and also heartbreaking, the further out we got the more the poverty increased. The dust and the smoke from all of the fires along the roadside where the rubbish is burnt was quite a challenge.

Michaels story

Michael has quite a story and will get him to tell you all about it in a later blog. In brief he is a man with a huge heart of compassion for the poor, both young and old, in his community. He and his family were thrown out of the house they had built by his father when he converted from Islam to Christianity not long ago and found himself homeless with a family of 7 children. Three of the children are their own and four are adopted because they were abandoned and he couldn’t see them homeless on the streets. Michael is a local Christian pastor and has given his life to serving the poor, whilst being poor himself, in his community. He is often found taking bags of food to old ladies who have no income and are left looking after grandchildren after the parents have left. The heart of love and generosity shows his faith in action. Just walking around the village with him seeing the hopeless situations and desperate conditions is enough to provoke one to action. More about Micheal later…

Arriving at Michales Home

Michael lives in a 4 room house. The kitchen, living room and two bedrooms… all for 9 people. Our first shock came when we realised that although there was a three tier bunk bed in the children’s room there were no mattresses so the children had to sleep on the concrete floor on a straw mat. This of course decided our first priority to get buy mattresses for the children. We were made so welcome at their home and ate a meal lovingly prepared by Evelyn and Michales sister. There is no running water in the house, just water from a well outside and no electricity. So many little dark faces peering in the doors and windows, so excited that a small crowd gathered full of excitement. We opened one of our cases where we had brought colouring books and crayons and soon about 25 children were excitedly drawing and colouring…. A first experience for many.

Visiting the local village for the first time

Driving about 20 minutes from Michale’s house we arrived in the village of Lukindu. Up a very bumpy road, though a pine forrest and up the hill into a big clearing. We were shocked at what we saw.

A few years ago the Ugandan Government took all the land around the village away and gave it to over to a company planting trees. This land was where they used to grow their food and take the produce to the market to make a living. Once this was taken away there was no way to feed themselves or make money. Because the village is a long way from the local town it is almost impossible to get there even if they had money to buy food. I can’t describe the desperateness or hopelessness on the faces of the people. It was mostly old grandmas and children as any who could leave for the city have already done so leaving their children behind.

We walked around the village seeing little mud huts with straw roofs, many of which were in such bad condition that when it rains they have to sleep standing up in the corner where the roof is ok. Inside were grandmas looking after very young children with virtually nothing to feed them with.

We made a start by building one grandma a new hut to live in. Her hut was the worst there and she had nothing. We brought the wood and the metal sheeting for the roof and arrived in the morning to make the difference for one. Of course immediately we drew a crowd of excited children and for the first time in my life I helped to build a little hut in the middle of Africa, what an experience. Digging holes in the hard dirt for the poles to fit into with a large knife was a challenge but as the day went on the hut started to take shape. Again we will tell this full story later.

Lots more to come in future blogs about this abandoned village full of people.

OUR VISION

So bringing our first blog to a close and with a daunting but exciting mission in front of us, what can we do to help? How can we make a difference when the need is so great?

Over the ten days we were there we laughed and cried and talked about what we can do. How can we live the lives we do when we have seen this. Can we walk away and do nothing with these images and emotions burned into our hearts?

After many journeys in the 4×4, and many meals together with Michael and his family we agreed that we have to do something. The “something” that we felt God was leading us to buy a lovely piece of land on which we want to build a children’s home and school for 35 children. This was not what we had thought we would be doing.

Upon arriving back in Spain and the UK we set about organising the finance to purchase the land, which amazingly is very close to Michaels house, and currently full of crops that are being looked after for a harvest later this year. How this land was found was a miracle in itself as it was not really for sale and how the owner heard that we were looking we will never know. Anyway the end of the story first, we purchased the land and it is currently being registered in the name of New Hope Ministries in Uganda.

Michael has been hard at work with a qualified architect to design the building and we now have a set of drawings that has been passed by the local authorities for construction. We are hoping to build a three storey property that will provide school accommodation on the ground floor, bedrooms for the children on the second floor, and on the top floor we have accommodation for the carers of the children and a space for expansion, when it happens not if it happens!!

We are hoping to progress with this project in 3 stages. The first is to put in the services including running water and electricity and to put the foundations and concrete slab for the building. Stage 2 will be to build the property to the 2nd floor and the final stage is to complete the property. We are hoping to start the project early in 2024.

OUR NEED

We need to raise 80000 Euros for the whole project and then ongoing monthly sponsorship for each of the 35 children. The first stage will cost around 25000 Euros, the second stage the same and the final stage about 30000 Euros.

We are looking for people who would join us in this mission to help change the lives of these children by giving them a future and a hope, an education and a safe home to live in. Would you consider joining us?

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