Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow

Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow

By: Brandy Campbell, with Ezra Ndagije in Uganda   |   Posted: April 05, 2008

Compassion equips a Ugandan orphan to care for her family
When Silivia's parents died and her uncle tried to take away her home, she had one place to turn the Gisorora Child Development Center.

When Silivia's mother died of AIDS, there were no social services to help the 13-year-old care for her younger brothers and sisters. There was no legal aid to help her fight her uncle, who claimed ownership of the small hut and strip of land where Silivia grew up.

For orphans like Silivia, losing parents is only the beginning of the nightmare of AIDS. Too young to understand her legal rights, Silivia could have easily joined the thousands of orphans living, and dying, on the streets of Uganda.

One Place to Turn

But Silivia had a resource that would prove invaluable in the months following her mother's death. As a Compassion-registered child at the Gisorora Child Development Center, Silivia was surrounded by Christians who would fight for her.

Workers at the center were familiar with Silivia's story. Her father died when she was 10, the year she was registered in the Child Sponsorship Program. Center staff ministered to Silivia's family as they grieved her father's death, and again during her mother's long battle with AIDS. When they found out about Silivia's struggle with her uncle, they immediately intervened. And when her uncle saw Silivia's army of supporters, he soon decided it wasn't worth the fight.

"From Grass to Grace"

Silivia, now 23 and a Compassion graduate, says it was only through the support of her Compassion sponsor and the program staff that her family survived the death of her mother. They made sure her family was fed, supplementing the U.S.50 cents a day she made doing odd jobs after school. And when the hut that Silivia was raising her siblings in began to collapse, they helped her build a new home.

"We lived in this crumbling, grass-thatched house, and it just wasn't safe," says Silivia. "We were always sick because water would come in the house when it rained, and I knew that one day I would come home and there would be nothing left. But Compassion helped our family build a new safe house. As I look back, I thank God for our house. I like to tell people that God brought us from grass to grace," she says with a smile.

Silivia's Family

In addition to providing for Silivia's immediate needs, Compassion worked hard to ensure that even after she completed the program, she would still have a way to care for her family. As a teen, she was able to enroll in a vocational nursing program, thanks to the support of her sponsors. Silivia says that after her parents' deaths, her sponsors and the Compassion staff became her family a family that instilled in her the faith that God will provide.

"I thank God for the favor He gave me in the center and for every worker who treated me as his or her child," says Silivia. "I am also thankful to my sponsors, Jim and Marion, for their love and sacrifice for me. I have nothing to reward them with, for all of the kindness they showed to me. I just ask God to bless them greatly."

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