Musoke and his younger brother are 12 and 11 years of age respectively. They lost their mother to HIV/AIDS in October 2009. Their father passed away much earlier when they were about 3/4 years old. The boys do not have anything except the pair of clothes they wear. No food, no clothes, no footwear, no mattress – nothing!
When their mother passed away, greedy relatives stormed their one roomed home to grab their property, which is a common trend in Uganda. The orphaned brothers resorted to joining extended family in their home village. Unfortunately their relatives subjected them to child labor and did not bother to further their education. To escape from the harsh treatment they received, they returned to Bombo. To survive, the boys became known petty thieves. They also sold scrap to get something to eat whenever there was no left over food at the military base.
At the Bombo Medical Mission, Musoke came to receive treatment for his hernia at the church. Dr. Dapo picked interest in the boys and introduced them to pastor Alex. Since then the boys have found a home at the church they used to shy away from because of their thieving habits. They are already feeling loved and valued, which has already transformed them significantly.
For Musoke and Sekakwa (a.k.aSeewa) to find sustainable and complete hope in a better lifestyle and education they will need regular support.
It is 31st January. The Christmas holidays are over. Donela school is buzzing with activity as the learners return, excited to be back to what has become the best primary school in Bombo. Apart from the loving teachers, the good meals, the hope-giving Christian activities, and the playground equipment, there are fresh developments to see and look forward to.
Through the generous giving of God-loving saints, we are now putting up the second floor! The six classrooms of the first floor are now ready for use. That means we can admit over 135 more children- How exciting! We are particularly excited for the orphans, HIV+ children, and disadvantaged that will find fresh hope and better lifestyles here at Donela. The number of children at the school is doubling this year due to the extra room available.
Kindergarten and grades 1 to 2 do not study in the afternoon. Grade 3 to 6 will move into their classrooms in the afternoon to enable work on the second floor to go on.
More room at Donela Wobulenzi and Donela Kakooge:
Donela Wobulenzi offers day care and Kindergarten services. This year we have added grade 1. We also have seven fresh recruits into the school, and more are registering gradually. In anticipation of continued growth, we have put up a temporary structure on the rented premises. This structure will cater for increased numbers and more grades as the years go by. It is also used for church activity in the evenings after school is ended and for services on Sunday.
Donela Kakooge also has also extended from Kindergarten to grade 1. They have 30 fresh entrants this year. We are in the process of putting up a temporary structure to accommodate the growing numbers. If there is ever a centre where quality yet affordable education is required, it is in Kakooge. If it was not for the poverty that engulfs Kakooge, many more children would have come.
When the school admits fresh children, it gives them written interviews as a diagnosis on what grade they should be in. We found that most of the freshly admitted children find Donela standards higher than the schools they were in previously. As a result, we give them diagnostic written interviews to determine what grade they can fit into. The results show that about 40% of the children need to go either one or grades below the grade they were in previously. With better learning conditions these children will excel and attain better results that will offer a brighter future. This results into a caliber of children that will be equipped and charismatic enough to transform their community.
One look at Namuddu Justine, and you see a dying woman. Justine is an HIV+ widow with four children. Right now she is bed-ridden. The fact that she could sit and talk at the time of our visit is a miracle. She is obviously too sick to work so there is no income for her and the children. What strikes about Justine’s condition is not so much the fact that she is dying. It is the basic things she needs to avoid her death. We could say Justine is dying of HIV/AIDS, but right now she is dying from lack of food, basic medication, simple hygiene requirements like soap, enough to drink, and a little money that can transport her to a hospital where treatment for HIV/AIDS will be offered free of charge. All Justin needs is a chance to live.
A lady named Harriet is a Life With Hope client at Kakooge. She helps to look after Justine. Harriet knows from her experience that there is hope for Justine. Thanks to partners who make it possible for Harriet to not only receive hope, but pass it on to somebody else. Life With Hope has found sponsorship for Justine too. She will now be offered a fresh lease to life. On regaining her health and strength, Justine will learn how to make paper bead necklaces which will earn her an income that will put her on her own two feet.
Just like the ladies below, Justine will find hope in the beads business. You can support by buying the beads at http://www.nakateproject.com/
Donela Orange Nursery and Primary School is much more than just another school among millions or even gazillions. It is a school with a heartbeat. This heartbeat aches to love a neglected child, heal a hurt, restore a life, give a future, and by so doing transform a community. This is God’s heartbeat. He has made it our heartbeat, and so far, He has enabled us to make significant progress. We have hit a snag right now – we need room. Lack of a building is standing in the way of a meal in a hungry stomach, love to a trauma hardened child, and a job that would give a future to an entire family. These to us are as major as the much needed quality education from Donela that will enable these children change their life and family situations. So far, we have slain Goliath (made major progress) as you will read below. However, we now need the entire army of Israel to chase after the Philistines in order to win the entire battle. In plain language, we need people to partner with us in completing an 18 classroom storied block.
By donating towards the building you are giving chances to many, who in turn will change their circumstances, and consequently, will change the community. Below are the life change miracles you will be creating:
Quality education for the disadvantaged:
What Uganda Government schools are struggling to provide is affordable (almost free) education. So far, their efforts are lacking in many ways –teacher student ratio is 1 to 100. Children are too hungry to concentrate in class, no desks, no chairs, hardly any teaching materials and books, overworked and underpaid teachers, poor quality education, many failures, and a high dropout rate. Right now, there is no way a child undergoing school in such circumstances can be assured of a bright future. Private schools on the other hand are too expensive and are for the wealthy few that can afford them, leaving the vast majority to languish in their poverty. Uganda National Bureau of Statistics reveals that 35% of the vast poor families have no formal education at all. Less than 10% of poor families even make it to High school! And we are talking about a formal education – let alone a quality education!
Donela Orange Nursery and Primary School in Bombo is out to make a difference. Children from very poor families leave their mud-huts or one roomed dilapidated homes to attend a quality school, where there is a teacher student ratio of 1 to 45. This child will sit on his/her own chair, and will have a desk. This child will access good books. This child will sit next to someone from a well to do home, and will have a chance to compete favorably with them. This child will even access a computer and learn to use it!! This child will speak the prestigious English language, known to be spoken by the few elites. Our aim is for this child to gain a wider world view, intelligence, and charisma, to break the cycle of poverty experienced in their society and circumstances.
Meals for the hungry:
Our target children at Donela are assured of a healthy meal and cup of porridge every school day. This cannot be taken for granted because most of them live on one scanty meal a day. A well cooked meal in good quantity is a special treat. A cup of milk porridge and a snack to go with it is an extra blessing. These children get healthy when they come to school.
Nice clothes and shoes:
At Donela, the children who are otherwise dressed in rugs, have a descent school uniform and shoes to go with it. One would just have to look at the way similar children in other schools look on their way to school to appreciate this fact.
These children are from traumatic backgrounds. One or both parents died to HIV/AIDS, or they are leading child headed homes, or mummy is very sick and could die any time, or they are in extended families where they get beaten, verbally abused, with lots of child labor to top it up. A hug, the words “I love you”, the words “You are valued” mean a lot to these children. These children come to Donela sick, reserved, hardened, and dead to emotion because of the trauma they have to live with. It is so fulfilling to see them soften, socialize, and run up to us for a hug! What a difference a little love can make!
Hope in God:
Donela has vibrant spiritual curriculums that the children not only love. Their hope is renewed in the process. They are taught of a God that loves them no matter what, a God that has a hope and future for them, a God that understands their circumstances, and a God that changes our lives positively. They are empowered with God’s word to take on their world with all its challenges.
Jobs for survival:
Most teachers at Donela were at a loss before the opportunity to teach was opened to them. In spite of families to feed and themselves to fend for, they had no opportunity to work. Those that worked did so in schools that overloaded them but did not pay in time if they did pay at all. Donela provides very user friendly working conditions and a fair enough pay that will definitely come, and will come in time too.
Apart from the teachers, are the cleaners, and cooks. Some of these are HIV+. After restoring their lives by providing food and medicine, they are now strong enough to work and have found jobs at Donela very rewarding in restoring their hope and purpose. Even the casual workers consist of young men that were idle and needing some money to live one day at a time. One of the casual workers, a young man unable to further his education from Junior High due to financial constraints, helped pay part of his younger sister’s tuition from the little he was earning as a casual laborer building Donela school.
Who are “The Miraculous”??
“The Miraculous” is a 9-member worship team from Bombo Pentecostal Church that has sang together for almost a year now. Each singer in this group has a profound story that goes with their lives, which is what makes the songs they sing come alive. The worship music resonates with a love and hunger for the God that saved and transformed their lives and situations miraculously. You can peak into their life stories by reading their profiles further below.
What inspired “The Miraculous” into being??
Early in the year of 2010, there was an outcry for spiritual revival among churches in Uganda and in the UK. The spontaneous desire to see God’s hand move a fresh in people’s lives and communities was so divine, that many churches in Uganda called for periods of prayer and fasting for this cause. Bombo Pentecostal Church (BPC) was no exception. As Alex Ojera – the pastor of BPC – waited upon the Lord in eager anticipation, a miracle began to happen. Songs kept being dropped into his spirit time and time again. Often, he could not even pray. Every attempt to do so resulted into a song being dropped into his spirit. This happened again and again until 18 songs were written. Of these 18, ‘The Miraculous’ have recorded 8 songs in an album entitled “Time For Refreshing”. How these songs were written by one who has never been into singing or making music is a miracle in itself. How a church as humble and remote as Bombo was able to qualify for studio recording is a miracle in itself. How the studio rates were very largely subsidized in our favor is a miracle in itself. How God has worked in the individual lives of the singers is a miracle in itself. How beautifully the songs turned out, and how powerful they are in drawing people back to God, is a miracle in itself. Thus, “The Miraculous.”
How helpful is the “Time for Refreshing” album?
So far, all proceeds of the ‘Time For Refreshing’ album have been sunk into a school building that will offer quality education for disadvantaged children in the Bombo community. The purpose for this school, named “Donela Orange Nursery and Primary School”, is to raise a Godly generation that will be charismatic and well equipped to transform their lives, their families’ lives, and consequently their community. The school gives the poverty stricken, abused, orphaned village child an opportunity to make it in life. It also gives these children a chance to have a cup of porridge in the morning and a healthy plate of lunch. This is a great privilege because many of them get to eat a scanty meal only once a day. At Donela they also get to be loved, valued, and lead into a more fulfilling life found in the hope that only God can give. All these children need to transform their lives is a chance – and Donela School offers that chance. The Miraculous is proud to be able to contribute to the completion of this school. The two hundred million shillings needed to bring the school to perfect completion is being met bit by bit. The Miraculous is part of the little bits that are causing progress.
What are the Singers’ profiles??
The singers are themselves from humble backgrounds with little exposure.
Jennifer Batiyo and Maggie Vusiya: Are sisters. They lost their father during their childhood. Live with a single mother who earns too little to fend for the 6 children and several other dependants that she looks after. Bombo Pentecostal Church sourced for Jennifer a scholarship at a Christian university, and pastor Alex helps out with Maggie’s tuition. How well this family is doing is a miracle.
Paul Kitamirike (aka Kite): Lead singer of most songs and choir director at Bombo Pentecostal Church. He lost his mother to HIV/AIDS. She was taken from him at a tender age of 5 years. He then lived with an uncle and aunt who both died to HIV/AIDS. Shortly after that, he moved in with his elder sister who abandoned him because she was too overwhelmed with dependants already. Kite is now under church care. Bombo Pentecostal Church through Life With Hope pays his tuition and meets his needs. This transformation is a miracle to Paul.
Milly Akello: Completing her first year in Senior High. She lost her mother while she was still a child. Her father is a soldier who is pre-occupied with his work duties, and is currently not available to the family. 18 year-old Milly heads the home and bears the parental responsibility over her younger brother. The God for whom she sings is her hope and strength.
Sarah Achen: Sarah, a soprano singer, is the youngest of the singers doing her third year of Junior High. Her father is a soldier and active member of Bombo Pentecostal Church.
Emma Opesen: After High School, Opesen pursued a diploma in Information Technology. Thereafter, he did what many of his peers do at this point when preferred options fail to come through – He joined the army. He works in the IT Tech department in the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces.
Geoffrey Kasozi: Is completing his first year in Senior High. He has to contribute significantly to the family’s survival by regularly digging in the family garden. “The Miraculous” is a great opportunity for him to explore his talent and get more exposure.
Caesar olap: Caesar hails from a humble background in Lira, Northern part of Uganda. His growth was characterized by war experiences that included him and his family regularly running away from the “Lord’s Resistance Army”, in which rebel leader Kony abducted, maimed, and killed many innocent adults and children. With the help of an NGO he was able to complete High school and excel well enough to get into University where he graduated in Fine Art. He is now a head teacher in Donela day care and nursery school.
Millie Ojera: Pastors’ wife. She left her credible job in one of Uganda’s best local banks in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala to join her husband in full time church work in Bombo. God has graciously provided for her family through support from Align Ministries. Pastor Alex and she have seen God do exceedingly abundantly above what they would have ever imagined through Bombo Pentecostal Church.
Performances done and yet to be done??
So far, “The Miraculous” have performed at their home base in Bombo, and at Holy Spirit Restoration Church in Kampala. They are currently singing at the 20,000 member Watoto church by doing an item at six of their eight Watoto Church’s Sunday service centres, including Watoto Gulu. Thereafter, ‘The Miraculous’ will sing at different churches scattered around Kampala city, will travel to Nairobi in January, and hopefully, hold mini-concerts in California USA this December of 2010. Modalities for the travels to the US are still being worked out.
How can you be a part??
- Buy the audio CDs at 10,000 Uganda shillings each.
- Create awareness for “The Miraculous” by telling others, and visiting our music on http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Miraculous-Choir/133836843323218?v=app_2405167945&ref=sgm and http://www.reverbnation.com/themiraculouschoir
- Follow our performance itinerary and invite others to our live performances.
- Directly support our cause by contributing financially towards Donela building, or sponsor a disadvantaged child’s termly tuition.
- Contribute financially or otherwise towards any of the following:
i. The making of a music video.
ü. Raising air tickets for some of the singers to travel to the States to do fundraising tour concerts.
üi. Any other way as you feel led to help.
Muwonge Godfrey is now 15 years old. By the time Life With Hope took him on a year ago, he lived with an uncle who was already struggling to raise his large family of 7 children. With support from Life With Hope, Godfrey’s condition improved significantly. However, the food, clothing, and medical bills LWH took care of would get to Godfrey in trickles, because his uncles large family all shared in it. He still fell sick very often. He still had no desire and saw no reason to return to school, saying that he is going to die anyways. He’s on ARV’s which require regular and proper feeding but would stay without eating till 4pm when the rest of the family returns from the garden. His face always brightened up whenever Pastor Yasin invited him to his home. Pastor Yasin is the highlight of Godfrey’s life. In him Godfrey finds love, acceptance, and hope. In his extended family however, Godfrey feels like a burden and a leftover.
Recently Godfrey fell sick, and LWH saw to it that he got admit
ted into a hospital where we paid all his medical bills and visited him regularly. Seeing Godfrey bed ridden, weak, and sick touched pastor Yasin’s heart. He decided to take full responsibility for Godfrey, by taking him on as his own son. Pastor Yasin requested the family if he can take him on. Godfrey’s family, including his dad who had rejected him, did so happily and in good faith. Godfrey would henceforth live with pastor Yasin, who through LWH will meet all of his material, academic, spiritual, and emotional needs.
On hearing this news, Godfrey gained strength from nowhere, broke into a smile, and even got off his sick bed and walked around the hospital in excitement. Muwonge is now very, very happy, and has asked pastor Yasin if he can go back to school now, with new clothes too! Thanks LWH and God bless you.