SCENES FROM CAMDEN: The New Jersey city is one of the most violent in the U.S., and nearly 40 percent of the residents live below the poverty line.
Peter’s journey growing up in rural Uganda was not secure either. His father was not a Christian and had seven wives. His mother was the seventh wife, and the other wives were jealous of the attention his mother received from his father.
When Peter’s father died, the other wives refused to support his mother. One wife stole almost all of his mother’s property, including the area where the family grew most of their food. Food became a constant challenge. Peter and his siblings could no longer attend school because his mother could not pay their school fees.
But there was hope for Peter. He became a Compassion-sponsored child and was able to finish his schooling. His family also benefited from his sponsorship.
“Our local church in partnership with Compassion addressed our needs, such as food for our family,” says Peter. “But the biggest change for me was the spiritual transformation. I knew God, but I didn’t know Jesus. Compassion introduced me to Jesus and the Bible.”
Peter wanted to help at-risk children and women in his community and started praying for an opportunity. God answered Peter’s prayers when he was accepted into Uganda Christian University and a Compassion donor covered his school tuition. While there, he completed his bachelor’s degree in social work and social administration.
Peter shares: “When I got a chance to go to university through Compassion, I cried out to God: ‘If You give me this opportunity, I’m all Yours. I’m going to work for You. I’ll start a community-based organization to support other children and women in my community. I want to do for others exactly what has been done for me.’”
Peter’s bachelor’s degree and vision for his community made him a top candidate for UrbanPromise. Alongside his master’s studies, UrbanPromise provided training on how to efficiently run a nonprofit. Peter spent time shadowing UrbanPromise leaders, learning business models and involving donors in his plans for his nonprofit. With this new skill set, he has now returned to his village in Katovu, Uganda, to run his nonprofit, Women and Orphan Support.