For orphaned children in Uganda, the reality of what is appears bleak—marriage at an early age, stealing to feed themselves, laboring for next to nothing because they don't possess skill sets for advanced labor, servitude within their extended family, homelessness, abandonment, abuse. There’s no chance to dream or hope. No way to think of what could be. There's just no room for those things.
Their routine is devastatingly simple: get through the day, cover their own back, and scrounge for the next meal or place to sleep. In a country where almost 50% of the population is under 14 years old (CIA Factbook) and there are 2.5 million orphans (UNICEF), that’s a LOT of futures lacking the space and ability to dream of what could be. The what is leads to a lost generation.
Insert into this mess: HOPE. Change. The ability to push back darkness, finally creating room for dreams. Real dreams.
Education opens doors. It grows and stretches minds, teaches students to examine what is in new ways, and gives wings to dreams of what could be. Then, it gives the tools to achieve those dreams. Education changes lives. As lives change, the world changes. Life moves from the given norm, the what is, to a new, beautiful place of what could be.
What could life be? What could I be?! A doctor, a pilot, a nurse, a teacher. The president, a journalist, a banker. Anything! No longer is the only option survival. When a child is educated, the options are endless.
But for many orphans, education is a pipe dream. They get the last of anything their family or community has to give. Money for school? Nonexistent. The chance for education? Dashed.
Insert into this hopelessness: education sponsorship. Dreams kindled. Hope birthed.
Martin is one of these statistics: orphaned at a young age and taken in by his sister. She already had 5 children of her own. They lived in one of the poorest areas of the entire country. Money for Martin’s education was not even a question—there was nothing. He finished primary school only because Uganda has free primary education. But after that, there was nothing else to do. He was finished. Education done. Dreams over.
Next step? Physical labor to hopefully make enough to feed himself each day. If that didn’t make enough, perhaps turning to desperate measures like stealing. There was nothing else on which to rely.
Until a door opened.
Martin was a phenomenal student in primary school. His scores qualified him for a sponsorship for secondary school, one that provided him an education at the best secondary school in his community. And he grabbed that chance. He joined secondary school and is thriving. He’s a solid midfielder on the football (soccer) team, a dedicated student, and a dear friend to all around. He is a strong, quiet leader full of kindness and courage. He has completed his first National Level exams with excellence.
And he dreams: of being a high school teacher one day. Of caring for others like him. Of loving his family and community well as he continues to move forward.
Martin is pushing back hopelessness. He dreams of what could be. He is a hope bringer. A change maker.
No longer is his only option to be scrappy enough to find work and food for the day. He has food every day at school, a safe place to study and play, and a hope and a dream for the future. He is a leader and gentleman. Not a thief or hopeless young man, but one who has been given the opportunity to dream of change. The opportunity to actually reach for it. To reach for what could be.
You change the future for orphans by supporting their education. This removes children from the generational cycle of poverty in their community, and student by student it changes their nation, and provides a new kind of hope for our world. Education of orphans builds change makers. It births hope bringers in places of darkness. It writes a new story.
You rewrite stories like Martin’s. His ending chapter used to read "hopeless," but someone graciously decided to rip out that chapter and insert a new one. One which now reads: Change. Dreams. A future.
Will you rewrite a child’s story with us? Will you give children like Martin the opportunity to dream of what could be? To empower hope, change, and new stories in a place that desperately needs just that?!
Want to sponsor a child?!?! Click here! -
Sarah Crane Christ School Bundibugyo Missionary