Angels of Hope

Free medical clinics for orphaned children in Uganda

Give the Gift of Education

Since the creation of Angels of Hope in 2002, I have learned that medicine does not only come in a bottle, and that food is not the only way to satisfy a child's cravings. Growing and protecting their little bodies is only one of our responsibilities, in a world where survival does only apply to the fittest. The most terrible conditions have been a way of life for millions of people living in villages throughout Uganda and East Africa for generation and, most likely, this will not change dramatically for many more to come. But there is something we can do to work toward that change for a people who never had the choice how they wanted to live. We can educate them.

Angels of Hope is doing something about that and we are doing it the only way we can,.one child at a time. In 2002, two friends and I agreed to give $125 apiece, three times a year to help fund three children through school. Our commitment to each other was to educate them until they were ready for university. Last year two of our first three students graduated, which left two slots open for several more lucky children to have that opportunity. In return, both of our December graduates have come to our Mattuga clinic and volunteered their time to assist with patients and learn medical techniques from our full-time nurse/midwife Anet. One of these graduates, Philip, has expressed interest in medicine, however he now must work to keep his family togehter. Someday, we hope to find a way to help him enter university to pursue his dream.

When I was in Uganda in January of '05, I met with a young man who had been corresponding with me for some time. He wants to go to technical school to become an accountant. Though we have not been in a position to help him further his education, we have taken one of his 5 siblings, Freidhaus, and placed her in a boarding school not far from relatives in the eastern part of Uganda. She is 12 years old and, if she keeps her grades up, she too will become one of AOH graduates who will have an opportunity for a better life for herself, her family and her community. We will continue to find a way to help Emmu fulfill his dream to become an accountant.

Our second child is a young boy named Emmanuel. He is the son of a very gracious man named Joseph, who has spent the last three years of his life with four of his eight children living in one small room, in an office building in Kampala making meager wages. He and his family are victims of the fighting in the north of Uganda, where rebels have fought the military for control of the country. His wife has the four oldest children with her in Soroti and has spent years running from their village at early evening, the time when the rebels attack these small villages and steal the children for recruitment into their army. To insure these children will not try to escape to return to their families, the parents are killed in front of their children, leaving them alone, knowing there is no where else to go and forced to kill as part of this rebel plan. These children may be anywhere from 8 to 18. In one split second their lives can change from one of innocence to killer rebel.

When Joseph went home in summer of '04, he found that most of his village had been destroyed. His family had been forced to relocate to a safer village and live with many others in a small compound for protection. His dream was to pick up his life once again, and reunite his family back to the village they used to call home. Last January I met with Joseph and we placed one of his children in boarding school located several hours from his family in the north. Here he will receive a good education, be fed, clothed and protected, and quite frankly, be one less mouth for Joseph to feed. At the time, Joseph had 2 children who desperately wanted to attend school, this son, and a daughter. Unfortunatley we could not place both of his children. I did tell him that his daughter should not give up hope. I promised her that I would keep looking and find a person who would give her the "gift" as well. All year she kept asking her father if someone had been found to help her go to school. All year we looked and finally, just before Christmas, a donor came into our lives. I only wish I could have been there to see the light in her eyes shine when her father told her that her dream had come true. This is not just an education it's a new life. It's a place where she will be safe.. It's also an opportunity that will teach both she and her brother the importance of giving back to their community, perhaps by giving someone else an opportunity like they were.

Our oldest child is Ronald. Ronald is about 16 and he is one of our original scholarship recipients. We have been taking care of his education for more than 4 years now, and he is working his way toward graduating in 2007.. Ronald is one of three children raised by Agnes. I met Agnes in 2002, my first year in Uganda. It was disturbing to me at the time, because I wasn't prepared for how they were forced to live.. They were squatters, living in a small, two-room shack that had been used as an animal shelter by the owner. With no where to go, Agnes asked the owner if they might be able to use this shelter for her family to live in. The owner agreed and in return she was to tend a garden which would provide fresh vegetables for his family.

When my daughter and I were invited to her home as her guests, she had found some old carpet to place over the dirt floor of the one room she used for their living space. All four of them lived in this small room. There was no hot water, no electricity, no bathroom, and yet their home was immaculately clean. Agnes served tea from a small fire built outside of their door and we sat by candlelight. The only sound I could hear was that of the chickens in the next room, her only means of income to keep her family alive. My daughter became friends with the children that year and works with them each time we go to Uganda as volunteers for AoH. I remain friends with Agnes as well.

Since January we have added 2 more donors and so we are 6. In February we will be 7. We have selected an 11 year old girl who has just started her first month of private school near her mother and her 3 sisters. Next month a young boy will have that same experience.

It's important to understand that these are young people with unique skills, needs and desires just like each of us. I know we cannot change what has been this way for centuries, but we can and do give hope to some. They are the caregivers of the future. I want to make a difference in this beautiful country they call home and where the lives of these kids \ul wil\ulnone l be improved by whatever we can do to help.

Please join me in helping to educate these children. They deserve at least that chance. Who knows, one day maybe one of these students will discover a cure that will change the world, or maybe they will return to their village and teach what they have learned to bring their family and neighbors out of dire poverty.

We have children of all ages just waiting to be told that they have a sponsor. The cost is approximately $375 a year to send a child to boarding school. This price includes everything: food, clothing, and an excellent education. Given the conditions in the villages, we have found that boarding school is the best choice. There is generally no electricity in the villages, schools are often too far away to get to, and often there is not enough for everyone in the family to eat.We require reports directly from the school giving us updates on each student\rquote s development. All of these children are thriving. There are three quarters to a year and school is year round. The children wear uniforms and they are taught proper hygiene, study methods and self -confidence as well.

I hope you might consider helping us educate these children. Your donation is tax deductible, but more importantly, you have given hope to a child who only wants a chance. If you are not able to sponsor a child on your own, consider making a donation you can afford and we will make sure that a child will receive an education from your generosity The benefits are endless-to you and to them.

For more information on this program, please contact Fay at 1-508-653-0764.

Copyright © 2007 Angels of Hope Uganda. All Rights Reserved. Last updated on 11/9/07

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