When Akite first joined the Child Sponsorship Program, her family did not know that they too would benefit. Akite’s father, Awany, was grateful to God for helping him with one of his four children.
We gave Akite school fees, medical care, a mosquito net, clothes, shoes, a blanket and a mattress. Awany knew he would have to continue struggling to provide for the other three children and his wife, but he underestimated how much the Child Sponsorship Program would help his entire family.
Awany has since received so much more than he had ever imagined. Today he looks back with a smile. It is hard for him to believe how far he has come. Even his community has benefited.
When the Adwari Child Development Center first opened, a 20-year insurgency in the northern part of Uganda had just ended. Everyone was still in fear.
Many had been tortured. They witnessed their loved ones die. Others were forced by the rebels to kill their loved ones. Property and crops were destroyed and the people were destitute.
The best thing that could have happened to this land was the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet Pastor Joseph, overseer of Corner Adwari Victory Outreach Church tells us that some people would not receive the gospel because they were too hurt. Some of them felt that if God really loved them, he would have rescued them and their loved ones. They were hopeless.
When we began a partnership with Corner Adwari Victory Outreach Church, most of the people were homeless and had no food. Many died from starvation.
Most of the survivors were still living in camps at the church and feared going back to their homes. Awany, who narrowly survived death, remembers that during this tough time there was a famine and our ministry distributed food to all the families of the registered children.
Awany received 45 kgs of beans and 50 kgs of maize flour each month for two months. He also received supplemental foods like eggs and milk for Akite, who was 4 years old at the time. Akite and her 2-year-old sister escaped death because of this intervention. Even as he received this food, Awany shared some of it with his starving neighbors.
He cannot imagine what he would have done without this assistance. At that time no one really planted crops because people thought that the rebels would come back any time.
Awany lost 84 heads of cattle to raiders and when he went back to his home, he found a shattered house. Awany had little comfort because he also lost three brothers to the war. He had to start from scratch.
A miracle happened when Akite got a sponsor. Akite’s sponsor sent her family a cash gift and Awany invested it in goats. Eventually these goats multiplied and he was able to provide for his family. One of his children often fell sick and he used the money he got from the business to treat her.
Many children in this area still go without clothes, but Awany was able to buy clothes for his children and also pay for their school fees. He was thankful for Akite’s sponsor.
Sometimes Akite’s sponsor sends personalized gifts for her, but many times she sends the entire family a gift. For each gift and letter that is sent by his daughter’s sponsor, Awany has ceremoniously recorded it in a book.
Perhaps the greatest gift they have received is the money Awany used to construct a new small brick house for the family. The house is almost complete and recently Awany bought 18 iron sheets to complete it. He is overjoyed. Awany and his family are blessed indeed; most of the people in their village live in grass-thatched huts of mud and wattle.
All parents of registered children receive different training at the child development center. One training that changed Awany’s life was that of sanitation and hygiene.
Awany confesses that before this training, he did not think that having a toilet was important. When his family needed to make toilet calls, they would simply do it in the bush or dig up small holes, use them, and later cover them with soil.
Most people in the village did the same. But when he received training on sanitation and hygiene, Awany resolved to build a toilet for his family.
Many people were affected with HIV/AIDS during the Lord’s Resistance Army war. Awany has benefited from the voluntary counseling and testing that the child development center arranged for all caregivers. He was found free of the virus and benefited from training on how to stay free from HIV/AIDS. Awany and his wife have also received training on nutrition and now their children are living a healthy life.
Awany also received seeds from the Compassion center to plant trees and they have since grown. He hopes to sell the wood some day and continue to generate income from the trees.
His wife, Amongi, planted a garden of ground nuts from the seeds they received from the child development center. They are grateful because now they do not have to worry about food. Their garden has since flourished.
The larger community has also benefited from the presence of our Child Sponsorship Program in Adwari. The center received Complementary Interventions funds for water and they built a borehole in the community.
Now the people in this area enjoy fresh and clean water. Before this borehole was constructed some families had to walk many miles to fetch water from ponds.
Awany is grateful to our ministry and the church, which have been a great support to him, his family and his village. The practical help that we offer to the caregivers has also gone a long way in helping people in this area receive the gospel of Christ.
Pastor Joseph says that since the Child Sponsorship Program started more people have joined his church and our presence is a blessing to all the families of registered children and to the community.