Visiting the homes of new children in our program can be shocking. Families who have had little if any intervention. Over time, after a child has been in our program, and the family visited on a regular basis, you see the SPARK of HOPE increasing, and in some cases a tiny seed of HOPE being planted. It is slow, careful work.
Some of you may remember the story of the Child Headed Household Laurie and I encountered on our last trip. The surviving mother is ‘around’ but mentally unstable. It is the oldest son who has taken on the responsibility of the family.
As a teenaged boy in rural Uganda, now 19 years old, this is not that uncommon, however, this family was called to our attention as one in great need. The young school aged child (far right) Solomon was accepted into our program and we began monitoring the family’s stability. This young man, called Estaliko, was earning school fees for himself and his next youngest sister by making mud bricks that can be sold locally for building. They also used their greatest asset, LAND, to grow their food like 85-90% of rural Ugandans.
This is their family land, so it’s important that they do not abandon it, as it is their greatest asset and their inheritance. In Uganda, land is everything, and often it is “up for grabs”.
Recently when our staff checked in on the family, they found that Estaliko had become overwhelmed, so additional support for this family was requested. THIS is the BEAUTY of our small organization. When we see a desperate need that is reasonably close to our mission, we seek out a way to help. A way that will provide a safety net, and the support they need to move forward within their context, and to thrive. This is also why General Donations are so essential to what we do. Situations like this come up ALL.THE.TIME.
Our Ugandan Staff on the ground in the village took careful inventory of the situation and formulated an initial plan.
- Seek out some medical attention in Soroti for the mom, who has been mentally unstable since the death of her husband. It is amazing what a little seed of HOPE can do.
- The 18 year old sister reportedly went to Soroti (35 minute drive) to work as house help. Staff is going to seek her out in that larger village to see if she is in a good place, and if there is a way to get her back into Secondary School, as she and Estaliko recently dropped out after failing to come up with school fees.
- Provide one time support for Estaliko and his family’s household (compound) to try to get them back on their feet….with the goal being independence (rather than dependance). They are in crisis, so this calls for intervention — when someone cannot help themselves. Estaliko would like to finish Secondary School, and our hope is that this support will empower him to do that.
Overtime, it is our HOPE, our prayer, that this family will become healthier. That they will move from surviving day after day, to being able to have the courage to HOPE for a better future and pursue it.