Grace and her husband Augustine are a typical, hard-working family in the rural village of Nasinge, Burukuru. They do small scale farming to feed their children – beans, maize, potatoes, and coffee. Augustine also sells onions and leafy greens in the local markets to earn a little income to support them. They live without any margin for crises. So when their daughter was diagnosed with cancer, it was a huge blow. The local hospital was able to remove her eye, but the healing process was painful and complicated. Grace’s daughter passed away, but her family was not alone. “I was emotionally tortured. Some people in the village started talking of witchcraft.... Due to constant visits by FH staff to pray with us, we are encouraged,” Grace testifies.
FH Uganda began a partnership with Bukiende in 2019. Grace was among the first parents to enroll her children in the child sponsorship program. “This was a very important step for the future of my children,” Grace shares. It laid the foundation of support she and Augustine needed to walk through cancer with their daughter, and to encourage all of their children. “I have never seen any organization coming to support needy families like mine,” says Grace. “I feel good when FH staff come to check on my children, carrying letters from their sponsors to them. It gives me hope that my children will have a bright future.”
After just two years of walking together, Grace’s children are already reaping the benefits of FH’s presence in their community. “Since FH started working in this community, many people now see the value of education, so they ensure that children attend school every day. I thank God that at least three of my children have been enrolled in the FH sponsorship program. My children receive school uniforms from FH which will lift their self-esteem and I will be able to save some money to buy a goat or any animal and keep it for the future of my family,” Grace explains.
Through partnership with FH, Grace recently joined a Cascade health group for women where she gains access to health and hygiene information critical to keeping her family healthy. In addition, village health teams regularly visit Grace and her neighbours to encourage them in new practices that will produce a brighter, healthier future.
But overcoming poverty isn’t exclusively about meeting material needs; it’s also about reconciling relationships. To this end, FH staff not only check in on children, but also mentor parents. “I was so harsh to my children before...Community development facilitators [FH staff] have shown love to our children.” Grace shares that their example inspired her to change her own parenting style: “Now I am like a role model for the parents.” Grace has since become a “Lead Mother” in her village and volunteers in the sponsorship program.
“Is it possible that at least some time you can come, and we have a meal together?” Grace asks with a twinkle in her eye. “Even Jesus visited some homes and they shared the meal!” she laughs.