My first 10 days in Uganda were spent with a team from The Archibald Project, an organisation that uses media to document real examples of orphan care, which inspires and moves people into action. Because they exist fewer children will be called ‘orphan’. (Read more about them here)
The Archibald Project led our team of creative’s across the ocean and into a small village in the west of Uganda, to a town near the Rwenzori Mountains and the Congo border called Bundibugyo, so that we could meet, listen, document, and communicate the amazing work that Christ School is doing in the area. The week included spending time getting to know the beautiful people that make up Christ School in Bundibugyo and, specifically, to work alongside the OVC Program (Orphan and Vulnerable Children). Many of the students shared with us their heart breaking testimonies of how they had lost one or both of their parents. But all of those same students had incredible stories of how they are now sponsored, how they are able to attend this school and not only dream big about what they want to be when they grow up, but to learn the skills to put these dreams into action. There are 260 students in total at Christ School and 60 of these are sponsored through the OVC program. It is Christ School’s dream to grow the program by 15 more students per year. That means 15 more sponsorships to allow these children a chance at a new life.
I have seen over the last few weeks, how important education is. When we asked the children what they would be doing if they weren’t in school, the responses were hard to hear: getting married and having children at ages as young as 13, being abandoned by extended family members who cannot afford to keep them, or beginning to steal from others simply because they couldn’t afford to live and had no other option. But now that they are in school they have a completely different mindset. One student Brenda summed it up perfectly saying “I want to focus on and finish school before I have children so I can provide for them.”
Christ School is helping to raise a generation of people striving to bring their town out of poverty, out of crime, and raise parents who can take care of their children and not be forced to put them in orphanages or abandon them because they have no other option.
Education changes everything for these kids.
It sounds dramatic to us, but an education is the difference between life and death for most of these children. And the opportunity to get involved and to walk alongside Christ School can happen right now! Together we can make a difference though educating ourselves and others about orphan care, by praying for and telling the stories of these children, or by volunteering our time and/or money.