One of the positive impacts of COVID is that parents have been able to spend more time with their children. For children with parents in prison, this is not the case. Correctional centres (prisons) in… More
It was a Sunday morning on 6/June/2021, we set off from Wells of Hope Head office heading to Wells of Hope Junior School. Despite the fact that it was raining heavily, we reached safely and found the children in their school chapel. The children’s moods were low due to the cold weather, but as soon as we entered the school chapel, they were very excited to see us attend Sunday service with them.
It was such a great Sunday service that I was left in awe! I was extremely happy to attend Sunday school with the young children. The service was led by Martha 15 years, one of the children; she conducted very interactive sessions with the theme God Is Great; and she referenced it fromExodus14:21-31. The children were very active and had love for the word of God which encouraged me to keep yearn for the word of God. We were encouraged to trust God and to stand firm because God will always fight for us.
Seeing the children happy is one of my interests! The young children were very happy during the session of coloring pictures of Moses and the Israelites crossing the red sea. one of the children was heard saying, “my favorite time during the service has come! I cannot wait to see what we are going to color today!”
Our service was concluded with worship and a prayer led by Martha.
The time for games was another exciting moment that took my minds back to when I was young. The children were divided into three groups each group having a leader from head office or school staff and we all participated in a singing battle and musical chairs. I was extremely happy because my group beat the rest of the groups in the second game (musical chairs); and we were given gifts!
Here is another wonderful and touching moment for me; during the group session, the children shared more about heroes day and they were very active about this. They shared with me the names of their heroes; some said their heroes are their parents, God, mothers, among other heroes.
One of the children said that their hero is president Museveni because he inspires them to become leaders; this was an encouragement to most of the children and I. We also had a wonderful moment talking about wishes. The children shared their wishes which included: suitcases, books, school bags, dresses, shoes, balls, bicycles, toy cars, teddy bears, clothes.
However, there are some wishes that really touched my heart; one of the children wished that his father gets released from prison so that he can also become normal like other children. To me this felt like he thinks he is abnormal but it reminded me not to take life for granted but instead surrender our worries to God who is in charge of everything. Another child shared that they wish to complete their studies and do a nursing course such that they fulfill their dream of becoming a doctor.
After all this, I gave these children encouraging words and told them not to stop praying for their wishes because God is the author of everything and he knows us all. We concluded the session in prayer. Later, we shared a very sumptuous meal together.. To me this was a very nice bonding moment with the children; I learnt more names of the children and really had a very fantastic day with them.
Compiled by: Zulaiha Arinaitwe, Frontdesk Officer
6th June 2021 was a Sunday like no other; rainy, cold and the atmosphere was abuzz with the excitement of spending yet another Sunday bonding with the children. We set off from Kampala excited and anxious about the games we would play with the children, the activities we had planned to carry out with the children. Millions of questions kept popping in my mind, would the children love the games? will we find them happy in this cold weather? will the word of God I have prepared to share minister to each of the children on a personal level? Philippians 4:6 says “Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” So I decided to rest and lean on God’s ability to minister to the children through me other than trusting my own ability and I thanked God for the wonderful time we were about to spend with the children and indeed a great and joyous day it was!
Half way through the Sunday School songs riff-off everyone had chucked their sweater as we jumped, danced and sang along with the children who had been divided into three groups to compete against each other. The children’s joy and laughter brought a lot of memories and seeing them this happy, carefree and basking in the love of God made me pause in my tracks as I realised that this is where I was supposed to be that day nothing would warm my heart as the children’s laughter did that day and I remember sighing in my heart that this is worth it and that this is love.
We went on to have a game called musical chairs which is a game of elimination involving players, chairs and music. As the players danced around the chairs their team mates kept screaming cheering them on with their pitchy voices. This game ended with the winner and participants each getting a sweet which brought a lot of excitement among the children. After this the children shared with us their heroes and for most of them it was their parents and Jesus this session helped me engage the children on the role of mentorship and some shared with me about what they want to be in future which helped me know the children on a personal level.
The children also shared their wishes with us through a game called the wish box, some wished for new shoes, clothes, gumboots, school bags, balls, bread and doughnuts. This made me realize how at times we take God’s provision for granted for example what one takes to be automatic is a longing and a wish for another which helped me reflect and pray more for funding and more partnerships so that all the children’s need would be mate. I shared a prayer with the children where we each prayed in turns for God’s continued provision for the children, release of their parents from prison and more joy and love in their lives.
We continue to thank God for more opportunities to bond with the children and the joy and love the children have for one another.
Compiled by: Elizabeth Butuyuyu, Finance/ M & E Officer
We were welcomed by voices of the students’ praise and worship that was on-going and this made us feel the presence of the Holy Spirit the moment we stepped out of the car with the drizzle of a heavy down pour coming to an end!
The matron/custodian warmly received us, leading us to the class/hall which is also improvised as the church, where shouts of praise with clapping and drums could be heard from afar.
The moment I stepped into that church I felt the connection of the students praising just like their parents in prison when we attend the Sunday service with the inmates, and for me this was quite phenomenal how the LORD makes His divine connections! It’s so amazing, the children have never attended these services or heard their parents in prison praising and worshipping the LORD, but they praise and worship the LORD the same way and almost the same voices just like their parents, the hard clapping, the sounding of the drums, the shouts of praise and singing some of the songs that their parents always sing like “Niwe we, niwe wewe Baba….!” To this I felt at home with the Holy Spirit and the peace of God flow in my heart and His comfort after coming with a heavy heart of loosing a close family friend to COVID – 19, I just knew the LORD wanted me to be here with the students.
Indeed, the preacher of the day Rachel – Senior 3 was called up, and she introduced the title of her sermon, “Resting in Christ,” Matthew 11:28 – 30 & Galatians 5:1. Her message was very timely for me and hearing it from the child that we have groomed at Wells of Hope with a parent in prison made me praise the LORD even more as I listened to her. Their matron/custodian wrapped up the sermon by her testimony how she knew she had come to an end and would not continue with her education yet both her parents were present but she had to lose one year and that is when she gave her life to Christ and cried out to the LORD and he heard her cry and indeed she completed her studies!
Together with Gloria, the Assistant Programs Coordinator, we had a one-on-one session, talked and shared with some of the students, played volley ball with the students and later played another game called “mingle mingle”; which was lovely as we indeed mingled with the children, laughed and had all the fun! When I asked the students how they felt, they all applauded, “LOVED”!
Compiled by; Ellen Eva Ssuubi, Executive Director
One of the major worries of inmates when they go to prison is the situation of their families especially their children who they live behind. They worry for their education, health, safety and general well-being. Through family tracing, the organisation in partnership with Uganda Prisons Service traces the inmates’ families with guidance of information that they provide in consultation with the Local Council members (village heads). Sometimes, the social workers are able to find the families and in some cases they are not able to; some family members fear that they could end up in prison just like their loved (they fear to be found).
For the last two weeks, Beatrice Nalutaaya, one of the Social Workers traced 4 families. Most of the children are under the care of elderly grandparents who are sickly. The families especially the children were in a very deplorable state: children were not in school yet they were of school going age; they lacked food (all families have one meal a day). In one of the families, children wake up early to go to the garden and look for something to eat; if they got something, it was a miracle. At the time she visited the families, most of the children were wearing rugs. The caregivers shared that they mainly depend local herbs for treatment whenever they fall sick because they cannot afford money to buy medicine. The safety of the children is not guaranteed because some families stay in slums; the children especially the girls are at risk. All children have never visited their parents in prison. They face a lot of stigma in their communities they where they stay because of the crimes their parents committed. Some children are unaware of their parents’ whereabout (they do not know that their parents are in prison); “I was told that my father went to an island and never came back,” one of the children shared with Beatrice.
It is our prayer that the children get sponsors so that they are enrolled into the Education Support program.
One Child At A Time
Wells of Hope’s main aim is to reach every child with an imprisoned parent(s) and to restore their hope for a brighter future, especially during this time. Currently, the organization is supporting 170 children with parents in prison under the Education Support program in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. On 6th June, the president issued a directive that children should be sent back home the following day as a measure to control the spread of COVID-19. However, most of the children stay at Wells of Hope for various reasons. Some children are continuing their studies through the material which their teachers provided them with before they went back home while others are at Wells of Hope Junior School, the residential school for children with imprisoned parents under the organisation’s care. Some of the children currently at the Junior school do not have homes to go to while others (which is the biggest number) are at risk in their communities. The biggest challenge the children face is hunger because the families they come from are living in a very deplorable state; their caregivers can hardly afford to provide the children a meal every day and once they get it, it is a miracle. The other risks they face include: early pregnancies, child labor, among other issues.
Since the pandemic broke out in Uganda, the prices of commodities like food, hygiene supplies, scholastic materials, among other necessities have increased. The transport fares have doubled because means of public transport are allowed to carry half the number they used to carry before (pre-COVID), as a measure issued by the ministry of health to control the spread of COVID.
Our major needs at the moment include: food, mattresses, medical and hygiene supplies. In total, we need $6,017.13 to provide necessities to the children for 2 months. The proceeds will be used to purchase food, mattresses, beddings, medical and hygiene supplies. By participating in this cause, you will be a conduit of love and hope to a child with a parent in prison especially during this time.
Any size of donations is welcome
FRIENDS IN UGANDA
Mobile Money; 0780530619/0704630967
Bank Name: ABSA Bank Ltd
Account Name: Wells of Hope Ministries
Account Number: 6000489474
FRIENDS OUTSIDE UGANDA
Click the donate button below:
Partners in Hope USA –501(c) 3
PO Box 51173
Amarillo, TX 79159
Email ; email@example.com
Contact Person MS Brooke Skypala
The other way you can be part of this cause is by sharing this campaign with your loved ones