A New Dawn in Uganda

A New Dawn in Uganda

By: Daisy Asiimwe, Compassion Uganda Communications Specialist   |   Posted: May 28, 2003

Groundbreaking for Agape Children's Home!
A number of Compassion Uganda's children have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, and their remaining relatives have rejected them. Read how the Compassion-supported Agape Children's Home will provide new hope for these little ones.

Anna* is ten years old. She is no ordinary child. Anna doesn't have a playtime like other children. Neither does she have a parent to limit her chores to the light hours of the day.

Instead, Anna lives a double life. During the day she is a primary school student. In the evening she becomes an adult, changing out of her school uniform to sell onions on the streets, exposing herself to the dangers of nightlife in Kampala's slums.

Her night job affects her schooling and her ability to concentrate in class. Yet, she has no other option. She and her younger siblings are AIDS orphans; there is no one in their extended family that wants to care for them

Anna's predicament may read like the script for a tragic African movie; alas it is not. Rather, this 10-year-old's reality is that of a number of Compassion Uganda's children. These children have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS and, as a result, their relatives have ostracized them.

Desiring to provide hope to children in its programs, like Anna, Compassion Uganda is working with one of its church partners in Kampala to construct the Agape Children's Home. The home will potentially provide housing and care for 120 Compassion-assisted children who are AIDS orphans.

It was a bright sunny afternoon March 19, 2003. The groundbreaking ceremony for Agape Children's Home took place that day on the hostel's building site, 15 acres of beautiful land in Kagala, Seeta, Uganda, outside of Kampala.

A large group of Compassion Uganda representatives and pastors from the Kampala Cluster, as well as members of the community were in attendance. After opening with prayer, Agape Baptist church pastor, Julius Twongeirwe, who oversees the building project, along with his church board, presented a project briefing.

Rev. Julius and Compassion Program Manager, Fred Mukhwana, explained to event attendees how the hostel will help to decrease the burden AIDS orphans shoulder - performing adult roles and losing their childhoods in the process.

In addition, the local council chairman for the community expressed his gratefulness to the churches and to Compassion for bringing "this development" into the area. While another prominent member of the community also thanked the church for its practicality in helping orphans, he asked God to "bless all those involved in spearheading this new move in the growth of Compassion Uganda's ministry."

Belachew called the hill on which the hostel is being built a "hill of deliverance and hope" for children who will live at the Agape Children's home. "Not just in the present," he said, "but in 15 to 20 years when the first children come back to visit the place where they were shaped."

The ceremony reflected the love and care the children in this home will receive - the spirit of Compassion. It was truly a memorable event.

*Anna's name has been changed to protect her privacy.

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