By: Willow Welter   |   Posted: March 13, 2018

Sponsorship changes everything for a girl who lives in a crumbling home and can’t afford school.

Fortified Future

Sponsorship changes everything for a girl who lives in a crumbling home and can’t afford school.

Written by Willow Welter
Photography by Chuck Bigger
Sharon and her mom sitting together

Margaret Navalga with her 17-year-old daughter, Sharon Nabisinde, who grew up with the support of her local church — thanks to sponsorship.

Sharon Nabisinde was only 6 months old when her father died of meningitis. He left behind two sons, three daughters and a widow, Margaret Navalga. The family didn’t own much, but they were thankful to own their crumbling mud home in a rural community of Uganda.

With her new role as the only breadwinner, Margaret found a job tending someone’s farm. Her meager pay was enough to afford food for one meal a day for the family, two on a good day. “Sometimes we have to suffer, to starve ourselves,” she said at the time. “Food is a problem, so sometimes we go without food.”

Struggling just to keep her children from starving, Margaret usually couldn’t pay her children’s school fees. But she knew the importance of education if her children were to get out of this life of poverty. When a worker from a nearby church visited her home one day, Margaret listened intently. The woman explained how the church ran a program that offered meals, health checkups, Bible lessons and education to children. The church worker registered Sharon in the program and immediately began searching for someone to sponsor her through Compassion.

Margaret didn’t yet realize that sponsorship would result in a rebuilt home and a quality education for her daughter.

Sharon walking while carrying water for her family



Sharon walks about an hour each day to gather water from a community well. The well water is contaminated and isn’t safe to drink unless her family boils it first. Sharon completes her water-fetching chore after school — or after being turned away from school because her mom hasn’t paid her school fees. After the visitor from the church comes to Sharon’s home to register her in Compassion’s program, the family never has to worry about school fees again.

Sharon doing chores around the house
Sharon sitting at the table doing homework

AGE 14


Five years after joining Compassion’s program, Sharon lives with her mother, four siblings and niece in the same crumbling home as before, but other parts of her life have changed. She has gained confidence with the guidance of a mentor at her Compassion center, Olivia Namuli. Her sponsor sent a financial gift that enabled Margaret to buy animals. The family now has pigs, hens and goats to provide food or offspring that can be sold or eaten. Sharon loves to receive letters from her sponsor. “I feel encouraged by those letters,” she says.

Sharon helps with housework like cooking and cleaning and then does homework at a table outside her home. The biggest change Margaret has noticed in her daughter over the past five years is how much she has improved in school. Because of her sponsorship, Sharon is able to attend private school. For a mother who once couldn’t even afford fees at the low-quality public school, Margaret feels overjoyed that her daughter is getting a quality education at the private school. “She’s the hope of our family,” Margaret says.

Sharon walks and chats with her mentor, Compassion Project Director Olivia Namuli

Sharon walks and chats with her mentor, Compassion Project Director Olivia Namuli. "Aunt Olivia" provided constant love, direction and advice from the time Sharon joined Compassion's program at age 8. "Aunt Olivia is very approachable. When I have problems I can talk to her," Sharon says.

Sharon laying on her bed listening to a radio
Sharon sitting in the grass learning a vocational skill

AGE 17


Four years later, Sharon listens to a radio in her home, which is now made of brick. Margaret says their mud home had begun collapsing. “One day the walls collapsed on me. Debris hit my chest, and by the time the children came, they found that I had been hit by a piece of the kitchen wall.” So Margaret’s oldest sons rebuilt the walls with brick. Margaret says if it weren’t for Sharon’s sponsor covering her school costs, the family wouldn’t have had enough money for the home repairs.

Sharon expands on her academics with vocational training at her Compassion center, which prepares her with even more future career options. She has learned to weave, crochet, knit, bake and tailor. Sharon serves as head prefect at her private high school, meaning she enforces the rules and offers leadership to the other prefects. Thanks to her sponsorship, she is pursuing her certificate in secretarial studies while she earns extra money working in a stationery shop.

AGE 23


Sharon lives with her husband and 2-month-old baby, Martha, in Masanga. She is a stay-at-home mom who hopes to use her hard-earned certificate to start a secretarial career soon. She says that without her sponsor’s support throughout her childhood and youth, she wouldn’t have been able to get any education at all. She says that without the program, she probably wouldn’t know the Lord and wouldn’t understand His love for her.