We were refugees, and now we’re happy souls at Amahoro

I came to Uganda in 2015 with my mother and my three siblings: Joshua, Natalie, and Edward. Before then our home was the Democratic Republic of Congo, where our father was a soldier. He was a loving father! He was killed when the rebels ambushed our home, and they promised to come back and kill us too. It was a gruesome day and an experience I do not wish to narrate.

Our brave mother fled with us to a refugee camp in Uganda. Determined to make a living, educate us, and see a brighter future she headed to Kampala and rented a house in Kisenyi slums. She would do casual jobs but struggled pay rent and provide for all of us. My family was then kicked out of our house, but we did not lose hope. Amahoro runs a Kisenyi project where free food is provided to street and disadvantaged children, and my mother came to Amahoro asking to be helped. She was confident that once her children were taken care of, she could survive on her own.

Amahoro took me and my siblings and in put us all in school. I am now in my final year of the primary level and I hope to excel with flying colors and continue to high school.

While at Amahoro our lives have changed a lot and we are happy souls again.

 ACCT forever at heart!     – Jonathan Mudekereza

Jonathan with his family and a few friends in 2018

Jonathan, Joshua, and Edward in 2021

FROM LIVING IN A CAR TO FINDING A GOOD HOME AND SCHOOL

Aisha and her brother Issa were born in Kisenyi, a suburb in Kampala, Uganda. Growing up, they ate only one meal a day and did not have access to clean drinking water. Their parents were often unemployed and could not afford decent accommodations – the family lived in an old car with no doors or windows. Afraid for the health and well-being of his children, Aisha and Issa’s father asked the local authorities for help, then contacted Amahoro Children’s Home. Aisha was brought into Amahoro first and her brother Issa soon followed.

Aisha and Issa now live together at the Amahoro Children’s Home. On Kisenyi outreach days, when Amahoro team members go to the city to provide services to people in need, the team still provides food for their parents. Aisha and Issa also get to see their parents on scheduled visit days. Amahoro hopes to help the family establish a stable source of income and when that is achieved the children will be reunited with their family! Thanks to Amahoro, these children now have a safe place to sleep, food to eat, clean water to drink, and the ability to get an education.

Amahoro: Opportunity, love, and care

My name is Anisha and I am fifteen years old. I came to Amahoro Children’s home when I was seven years old. I have been taken good care of by our mentors. They have provided shelter, food, clothes, and education without me repaying them.

We used to walk long distances going to school. However, our father Caleb with help of his friends build a good school for us called Amahoro Community Schools, which eased our long distance to the previous school. Therefore, I thank Amahoro Children’s Home for the opportunity, the love, and the care which they gave me. Now I am in secondary school and have been very well taken care of by my home Amahoro.

May the almighty God bless them abundantly and keep them safe.

Yours faithfully,

Anisha

Reunification Can Give a Child the Best Chance of Success

Sharifa is a clever 10-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a doctor. Her father struggles to pay for her studies, since he has seven other children and does his best to support them by selling tomatoes. When Sharifa was very little her mother died and her father remarried. Sharifa’s stepmother mistreated her – so Sharifa ran to the streets.

Sharifa was found by a young man named Coach who runs a shelter for homeless boys and provides free meals to vulnerable children in the slums. Even in a pandemic, Coach is still providing food!

Coach is a friend of the Amahoro Children’s Home and mentors many orphaned and abandoned children and helps them get their life back on the right track. When Coach found Sharifa he took her in and gave her food.

“The excitement these kids have when they find out that someone out there is taking care of them, is inviting them to eat, and providing them a safe place to be is so powerful,” says Coach. Coach helped Sharifa find a safe home by reuniting her with her grandmother. Sometimes reunification can give a child the best chance of success, and Amahoro mentors take the time to ensure a child goes to the most supportive and loving home. Sharifa now feels safe in her own home with her grandmother and can pursue her dreams.

Letter from Hanifah

Hello everyone,

Greetings from Amahoro Children’s Home. We’re glad that we’re able to communicate to you all through this letter.
Everything has been okay from this side despite the COVID 19 pandemic. We have been able to get almost everything we need, such as enough food and medical care. Despite the lockdown on your side, how has everything been for you due to the world wide pandemic?
In Uganda the president announced the lockdown on the 20th of March 2020, which led to the closure of schools, churches, mosques, and many other gatherings.
As we look forward to the religious celebration of Eid Day, the preparations are not going to be the same as previous years due to the lockdown. So we (as Amahoro Children’s home) are planning to celebrate Eid at our Children’s Home with the help of our mentors, for they have managed to provide us with food we use to celebrate Eid day. We’re very happy for that and thanks goes to our dearest mentors for the love and care given to us. May the almighty grant them abundantly. Happy Eid to you all.


Happy to have you, friends,
Hanifah

Baby Jason’s Story

Jason was very small when his mother died in childbirth in a village near the Nile in Uganda. He was taken to a local children’s home, where the older children constantly held and cared for him. Unfortunately, it was difficult to afford formula for this newborn. In Uganda, there is no welfare program who will pick up the cost when there is a tragedy.

This is the story of baby Jason, an orphaned child who was being taken care of by children who were also orphaned or abandoned.

The Amamhoro Children & Community team met baby Jason at a medical clinic. Grammy Jean Morgan is pictured holding baby Jason in the first photo below, and the second photo shows Jason, held by Mary, after one year of good nutrition. Look how he’s grown! “I have friends that ask me what they can do to help, and I can share that loving the kids is the important part,” shares Jean. “It’s good for both parties! And in loving children like baby Jason, you can become their advocate and help give them a chance to survive.”

Look how baby Jason has grown!

Period Education For Everyone

Dear friend,

Being able to manage menstruation safely, hygienically, and with dignity is critical for human rights and gender equality. Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, more than 500 million women worldwide did not have what they needed to manage their menstruation. One in ten girls in Africa still miss school due to their menstrual cycle.

I pray that our current crisis may drive innovations. In my experience as an OBGYN, I know that period products are not luxuries, they are necessary items. And I want you to know that at Amahoro we will continue advocating for involvement of men and boys in period education, too. Universal human rights must involve everyone.

At Amahoro, we aim to ensure access to menstrual products, soap, and safe water so girls and women can manage their periods wherever they are. The current pandemic highlights and exacerbates menstruation related challenges many women and girls face around the world. Economic impacts of COVID-19 force many women and girls to prioritize other basic needs over safe menstruation products.

Help Amahoro keep girls in school by providing a feminine hygiene kit to empower a girl as she becomes a young woman. A donation to Amahoro will help a girl stay in school by providing her with supplies and period education from local women’s health experts.

Wishing you a safe, hygienic, and dignified day,

Dr. Lorie Morgan
President of the Board
Amahoro Children & Community Team

Godfrey’s Story

In this new year, we’re all looking forward to a brighter future. Though this year has been tough for many of us, life got brighter for someone named Godfrey.

At only 5 years old Godfrey was quickly going blind because of cataracts in both eyes, a condition which caused him to drop out of school. Godfrey’s family are farmers in rural Uganda and sometimes they find it difficult to make ends meet.

Earlier this year Dr. Franklin brought Godfrey in for a bi-lateral cataract surgery, which fully restored Godfrey’s sight! “Godfrey did not only receive his eyesight back,” said Dr. Franklin after the operation, “he got back his dignity and now he can dream again.”

The picture on the right is just one week after his surgery – look at Godfrey’s bright eyes and his smile!

You can help make 2021 brighter by making a life changing procedure possible for someone like Godfrey. With a donation to Amahoro you can open the eyes of a vulnerable child to a life of possibilities.

Here’s hoping that 2021 is the brightest year yet!

-Dr. Lorie & Dr. Chris

What sponsoring a medical clinic can do

Dear friend,

I hope this finds you well! My name is Austin Morgan and I am a second-year medical student at Oregon Health and Sciences University. If you have a moment, I would love to share with you something I am very passionate about. While serving in Uganda, as well as doing research in Tanzania, and traveling in South Africa, I have continued to see that where you are born significantly impacts your chance of living a healthy life.

When we think about equality, we do not always think about health. However, disparities in health and wellbeing are a huge problem globally. For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 the average life expectancy in the United States was 78 years. In Japan, the average life expectancy was 84 years. In Uganda the average life expectancy is 62 years. The average person in Uganda lives 16 fewer years than the average person in the US. We can also look at specific indicators to get an idea of the health of people in a country. The ability of mothers to safely give birth to children is one of the best indicators of health. According to the WHO, in sub Saharan Africa, the risk of maternal death is 1 in 37. Compare this to New Zealand or Australia where the risk of maternal death is 1 in 7,800. Whether a mother lives or dies can literally depend on their country of residence.

The Amahoro Children and Community Team (ACCT) strongly believes that all people should be given an equal opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. Health should not be a luxury item reserved only for some. Health disparities have a number of causes, some of which include poverty, lack of access to healthcare and lack of access to education. ACCT’s work in Uganda aims to address each of these factors. In particular, I wanted to highlight the challenge of accessing healthcare in Uganda. The World Health Organization recommends one doctor per 1,000 people in order to meet the medical needs of everyone. However, in Uganda, there is 1 doctor for every 24,000 people. As a result, many people in Uganda are unable to get the medical care they need. If someone if lucky enough to get to see a doctor in Uganda, being able to afford the necessary treatment is another major challenge. This is why we work with Dr. Franklin and Jungle Medical Missions to hold medical clinics for disadvantaged communities in Uganda. At these clinics, we have a team of healthcare professionals who provide a wide range of primary care services for free to hundreds of patients. These clinics are a major step towards reducing health disparities.

You can help us address health disparities by donating to Amahoro to cover the cost of a medical clinic in Uganda which can serve 300-500 patients. Or donate another amount to because every donation helps.

Please join us in our effort to ensure health for all,

Austin Morgan

Education as a Right or Privilege?

As we draw near to the end of 2020 and the end of the 2020 school year, I can’t help but take time to reflect. Take a moment to think about the top 3 things that you’e grateful for.

Was education or knowledge on your list? In reality, education in the United States is considered a right and is often taken for granted. I have had the privilege to teach primary education in the United States, and briefly in Ghana and Uganda. All three countries have very different definitions of public school and what that includes and excludes. The one thing that remains the same is that all children, when given the opportunity, love to learn! 

According to UNICEF, in Uganda only 1 in 4 children who starts primary school makes it to secondary school. Less than half (40 per cent) of students are literate at the end of primary school. Is that the foundation for education that you would want for your friends or family? What if you could make a difference in the life of a child?

As a kindergarten teacher, I see so much growth from my students from the beginning of the year to the end. The opportunities that I provide throughout the year, along with support from their families and our community help to shape the foundation of my student’s educational journey.

Can you support a child’s educational journey at the Amahoro Children’s Home? There’s no free public education in Uganda. With a gift to Amahoro, you can make it possible for a child to go to school for an entire year by providing tuition, books, uniforms, and lunches.

In the U.S. we are so privileged.

I view education as a right, and it is my privilege to support the children at Amahoro receive a well-rounded education. Consider making a donation. Thanks to an anonymous donor, all donations are being doubled until the end of the year!

I wish you well.

Lindsey Morgan
Vice President of the Board
Amahoro Children & Community Team