A snapshot of our work in Kumi, April 2016
Watch this video for a glimpse of our time in Kumi in April 2016. Some of our lovely sponsored children in their new work places or moving into their new homes!
2017 has been a difficult year for the people of Uganda. This year was the first, since beginning our work in Kumi, that we have been asked to intervene to help families struggling to cope with the lack of harvest and the subsequent horrors of famine.
We were devastated to be told of a child dying for having been desperate enough to eat the cassava plant too early and thereby being poisoned, aswell as others suffering greatly from lack of nourishment.
As always we have been wonderfully supported and because of that, able to help those in the most desperate of need. Our manager in Kumi, went around distributing posho, beans and rice and at times was overwhelmed by the number of people requesting help. It is never ideal, to be giving out foods, as there will always be those we can’t help, due to the enormity of the problem, but as always we hold to our philosophy of the starfish story.
Our aim was to do what we could to bridge the gap until the rains and the harvest would come, and this we have done for the immediate future. We are hopeful that with a further harvest later in the year, things can return back to normal.
Thank you again, to all of you who have supported us financially – without you there is no Seeds of Hope.
Distributing food to families affected by the famine Uganda 2017
It’s Easier than You Think to Make a Difference to a Child’s Life
At Seeds of Hope, we believe in the starfish principle. By that, we mean that although the heartbreakingly devastating poverty we’ve witnessed on our visits to Kumi is not something that can easily be rectified, and there will always be more children who are in desperate need of help, we CAN make a difference to the lives of each child sponsored through Seeds of Hope. We’ve seen the difference the hope and security provided by COHAD makes.
But, like we said, there are always more children in need of help, and our vision is to see COHAD operating at full capacity, providing hope and security for up to 80 children. To do that, we need more sponsors. Providing a home, food, education and health-care for a COHAD child costs £40 per month, but before you click away because that’s too much of a chunk out of your monthly budget, can we just take a moment to explain that it’s easier than you think to make a difference to a child’s life?
Look at it this way: an average glass of wine costs somewhere between £4 and £5. If you and three friends each gave up just two glasses of wine per month, together you could sponsor a COHAD child like Esther, who lost her parents to HIV/AIDS and is now flourishing at COHAD under the care of Mummy Micah.
Spreading the cost of sponsorship between a group of friends – or family, or colleagues – makes changing lives in Kumi a more realistic endeavor.
If you would like to find out more about sponsoring a COHAD child through Seeds of Hope, please get in touch or look at our COHAD and Sponsor a Child pages.
An Orphanage To Fill
Linda shares some thoughts about our recent trip to Kumi…
I could take you through our entire trip to Kumi piecemeal, but if you’re like me you’ll have clicked out by the third sentence bored, so how about we look at a snapshot of the best bit of our latest visit?
Back in 2011, our first trip to Kumi in Uganda we were introduced to COHAD orphanage (Children of Hope and Dignity)
through Mission Direct and took part in the building of house number 10. Four of the houses were vibrant with children, and it all felt warm and loving, with a sense of peace throughout. The children and the house mummies captured our hearts and we were smitten. This led to our spending time there whenever we headed back to Kumi, Uganda.
Our return visit this time, walking around the orphanage, we grasped a real sense of things being stagnant with no forward movement, which was both disappointing and demoralising. The older orphan children were at boarding school, so the houses had only 4 children in each, and there was an overall sense of despondency about the place.
Oh, what to do? Well, sometimes the answer makes itself known to you.
This trip was our first experience of seeing any street orphan children in Kumi and the 3 we met were wonderful characters, William, John, and Victor. Their stories were tough, and caused more than a few tears amongst us, their personalities cheeky, yet strong, (which they need to be to survive on the streets) and within a day they were hanging around the hotel morning noon and night waiting for us Muzungu’s (the local word for white people) to arrive. Like all boys, they loved football, and were keen for us to join in!
So, here we had 3 boys, homeless, and an orphanage half full. It’s not rocket science, you can probably see where this is going!
Again, one those quirky things in Uganda you just never know who you may end up talking to. We had gone to the local eating establishment (don’t imagine one of our restaurants) for dinner of local chicken and rice, and after an hour the Pastor we work with turned up with the local Bishop of the PAG church, John Michael to join us. Chatting about COHAD, and introducing the idea of the boys being allowed to move there, guess who then arrived? Yep, the boys themselves, to come and sit with us for a cup of tea. First hand with no effort on our behalf, a relationship had been created.
The result? That same evening it was agreed that subject to their stories checking out, they could be move into COHAD that very week, along with two other boys from the community. Yes!!!
Our promise? We would fund the 5 boys, plus 3 more with immediate effect. Yikes, this was no small commitment, and we knew it was still a drop in the ocean. With 5 more empty houses, (which in our opinion should be full to bursting,) COHAD orphanage was about to become our long term project, as we offered to partner with them, with the probability of becoming a member on their board.
So, here we are now a mere 4,000 miles away from this little place of safety called COHAD, great dreams of seeing it with a school, 100 children living there, a feeding programme for the vulnerable children in the local community, and what feels like a mountain to climb.
Do you think you can join in agreement to say Bring it on?
Originally Posted on the Choc-Affair blog: http://choc-affair.com/2016/05/02/an-orphanage-to-fill/
Choc-Affair newsletter 24th October 2014
It’s been a busy summer, and as we now approach the season of what is meant to be Goodwill, but in fact for most of us business owners, and managers it can feel like Goodwill went out of the window along time ago!
I would like to give you a brief insight into the values that underpin Choc-affair and why I travel to Uganda during the summer to manage our charity Seeds of Hope.
This year I was out in North East Uganda for 2 weeks to monitor the progress of our child sponsorship programme: we currently support over 30 children as well as providing sustainable start up funding for an orphanage project called Children Of Hope and Dignity. We travelled around with goats and chickens, delivering them to families we support, we drove down tracks that no vehicle should ever travel, tried to avoid a hippopotamus on our camp-site, and stroked wild baby warthogs. More importantly i laughed and cried in the midst of the whole mess, and had my heart broken over and over again.
This area of Africa I have fallen in love with is a township called Kumi, it has a terrible history of war, the Lords Resistance Army, HIV orphans and destitution. It also has hope in the darkest of hours, the children have a joy we don’t often see in the West, where handing over something as simple as football is as if you have given a child the world.
Please, take a pause in your day to allow me to tell you about Isaac. During my visit to our nursing friend Flora at the local ‘health centre’, we saw a young mum with 6 months old twins and a small boy who looked about 6 years old. On enquiring, it turned out that the twins were in fact 14 months old and Isaac 11. They were so malnourished, and the twins were stricken with Malaria, their mum just 23 years old with 5 children in total. Their father had deserted her to go and live with another woman, so she lived with her mother in law in her village, 5 kms from the health centre.
So, we took action there and then buying them food, clothes and mosquito nets. Realising that this was not going to be enough, we decided to take Isaac onto our sponsorship programme, and we asked our bus driver to take them back to their village with all of their newly acquired belongings. Our person on the ground, Robinah, accompanied them, as the mum was quite overwhelmed with our group of white faces.
You would think the villagers would be jealous of the change in circumstances, but quite the opposite. The knowledge that someone from another culture cares, and is willing to do something, can transform a weary village into a place of joyfulness and delight. This was the effect that choosing to sponsor one child had on a whole community. This was for us an easy act of goodwill.
There are many more stories of children, hope and also heartbreak, and due to our continued investment in this beautiful place, many more to come I am sure. This is where the heart of Choc-Affair lies!
So, when we are tired and stressed with surviving this season within our businesses, how about we raise a glass, because we can and will get through it. Let’s remind ourselves we can choose to bring about some good will and cheer to others.