She remembers Christmastime fondly as a child in Compassion’s program. Every year she would receive a Christmas dress and shoes – gifts that kept the fire of hope ablaze in her heart.
A Desire to Give Back
As Doreen grew up, she became passionate about the happiness of others and wanted to give back — especially to Compassion. But it wasn’t until her Compassion center showed the movie “Pay it Forward” that she realized how she could do so.
“‘How do I pay it forward?’” Doreen says she asked herself. “So I go to my math teacher and ask him, ‘How do I learn? What subjects should I do for me to give back to the community and help?’”
The teacher suggested a career as a social worker. “I had never heard of a social worker before that,” she says. “But when I applied for university, I only applied for one course: social work.”
Struggling to pay tuition, Doreen spent seven years earning her bachelor’s degree from Uganda Christian University – an accomplishment that should have taken only three.
As she applied and reapplied for her degree as required in her country, she started questioning God and, eventually, forgot about him. Life became even harder until she realized that a life without the Lord led to a dead end.
“I recommitted my life, and things started moving in a way I didn’t expect,” Doreen says. “I was going to apply again and one of my supervisors called me to his office. He told me, ‘Doreen, go and do your exams. You will pay the balance after. I’m putting my job on the line for you.’ When I went back home, I had no words for God. He had opened doors that I least expected.”
Finally, with her degree in social work, Doreen set out into the world and began working for an organization that served trafficked girls. But she increasingly felt the Lord calling her to start her own organization.
It would be three years before Doreen gained the confidence and opportunity to pursue her dream.
The Power of Partnerships
As she wrestled with hesitation, Doreen found encouragement from a friend: Jason MacGregor, associate professor of accounting and business law at Baylor University. She formed even more relationships at the Texas-based university, eventually connecting with the Compassion at Baylor student group.
Compassion began partnering with Baylor in 2020 with the goal of bringing about global human flourishing for children and families in poverty. The partnership has led to pioneering work like the Christian Collective for Social Innovation.
Inspired and hopeful, Doreen searched for a house where she could base her nonprofit.
“We look for a house and look for a house and look for a house,” she says. “Then one day, I share with a friend, ‘Becca, I need someone to give me rent.’ Just blatantly saying that with no belief or hope that I would get the money. I receive an email from her dad, Kevin, telling me, ‘Me and my wife have sent you $3,000 for rent.’ It was the best gift ever. The Holy Spirit just reminded me: Never doubt.”
71 Rescues and Counting
In March 2021, Lupins Africa opened its doors to girls facing sex trafficking and sex abuse. Some girls are survivors; others are rescued from situations that place them at high risk of exploitation.
Doreen has five staff members, including a social worker, trauma counselor, pastor and security guard. After working together for a year, Doreen discovered that the social worker and counselor on her staff were also in Compassion’s Sponsorship Program as children — all of them at different centers around Uganda.