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Newsletter January 2018

Dear partner,

Dormitory students, school:

Year after year there is a change in the country: the roads between the different places have improved, the government is much more involved in the work among children through guidelines,registration procedures and supervision. For example, the administrative aspect of our work increases day by day, but we also adapt our work broadly to meet local standards.

 

Napak Rehabilitating children is one of the priorities of the project. So it is not all about placing them in the house, but about giving them a full opportunity to stand on their own feet. Part of this makes it possible to bring children in contact again with parents or relatives and to place them back, as much as possible, where they come from. In recent years we have focused more intensively on this, partly in line with the stricter government guidelines. Some children are placed in homes and some, in schools. From there we continue to support and follow them up.

Meanwhile, there is a permanent bridge between Uganda and Belgium. A diligent team of volunteers works throughout the year to ensure the support of the street children project of Koinonia. Together with our sponsors they are the backbone of this operation! Almost every Koinonia event has an outstanding place to present the Koinonia Kids project with dedicated coworkers, each time next to a stand where visitors’ children can enjoy face-painting and animation.

In early September last year, the Hope Festival took place in the open air for the benefit of street children in Uganda. Hope, faith and love was the continuous message on the Groenplaats in Antwerp. Artists and speakers alternated on the stage while a flea market and the sale of snacks and drinks took place under the different tents on the square.
‘No’ to the threatening weather forecasts said the teams of volunteer employees and ‘yes’ to the love with a price tag … In line with the message from the stage: captivating are the images of the street children in Uganda but what will it cost you … ?

Like rain on a dry land was our visit from Belgium to the children and employees of Uganda in August. The distances are long and roads dusty but at the end of the day, it is worth it! Every missionary journey is a mutual encouragement.
With a mixed team from Belgium and Uganda we have done the round of our four projects in the north, central and south of Uganda.

After a day of driving and an overnight stay, we arrived on Sunday morning to Napak in the northeast of the country. This is an area where people live from farming. The water is scarce and rain seasons are often disappointing. Several areas in the region have been struck by famine because of lack of rain.Families live for the most, in a hut with a forecourt and a garden. Several huts form a village. They call this ‘mayanta’.

In Napak we currently serve 200 children across four sub-provinces. Half of them reside in four boarding schools and in houses, depending on their age. The other half are located in their homes after a time of rehabilitation in our partnership house, Masulita Children Village (MCV) in the vicinity of the capital.

 

67 new children and 6 mothers from the streets of Kampala have been taken care of in Masulita Children Village. During our mission trip we were able to bring them a welcoming word and an encouraging message. In the beginning, the settling in the house seemed to be to them a limitation to their freedom. Interaction, dialogue and sharing helps them soon realize that the street is no option for them and their children.

We started with new writing-reading-counting classes and sewing workshops for this group, depending on the age. A few months later they are escorted to their place of origin. Meanwhile we start to look for their families in the slums of Kampala and in Napak.

Brian our permanent employee has takes his place back in Masulita for more than a year now. His main task is to raise the children in God’s love, word and deed. He guides them daily as a good parent, helping them with learning and teaching them about behavior, leisure and daily routine. It is incredible how the lives of these children turn around and their eyes open from a very new perspective.

After a long journey from Kampala to the southwest, we arrived in Kabale where our smallest house is located. About twenty children are served there, some in the house and others in their home of origin after a first rehabilitation period varying between six months to a few years. We were received with great joy by the children and our local staff members. It is so nice to see familiar and new faces every time.

Ruth is the coordinator of the project. After a long negotiation she got a piece of land under leasing. Kabale is a mountain town with many hills. Many houses are built on the hills. Our piece of land is on a hill next to a dust street and close to water, about 7 kilometers outside the town, with a beautiful view on forest and agricultural sites. We could perfectly set up a nice shelter with a vocational training school. That way we could serve our children and the community. Education and training is a top priority goal of the government through sustainable development and breaking with poverty. The vision is: high-quality education with Christian values. This is an open invitation to all our partners and sponsors: together we can make a difference between darkness and light for one child, for one family, for one community!

A few hours further, against the borders of Rwanda and Congo, is our oldest street children rehabilitation project in Kisoro. Just outside Kabale the technical problems with our car began; a ‘must’ in the last mission years. Numerous repairs in Kampala and in Kabale made it possible for the car to still go ahead and yet we know that the countdown began long ago!

The children walked from far to welcome us on arrival at the home in Nyakabande. Permanent team member is our national coordinator, Jovia Ainemaani-Mutembe, who served for many years as a supervisor of our children in this town and later as a project coordinator. It was a double blessing for the children to see us coming together.

Ronah, our current coordinator in Kisoro, is now married and gave birth to a boy who adds to the family atmosphere.

Our new piece of land with the land leasing agreement renewal still waits with plans to build there and it is now threatened by local planning to move a refugee camp there. This is a permanent prayer and negotiation point for us.

The road back to Kampala was not without adventure. Three hours before arriving in the city, the car stopped in the middle of the night. A few hours later we were happy to go to our guesthouse and the car went for a new repair again. With a borrowed car, we were allowed to spend the last day of our mission trip and to finish the administrative tasks in the capital.

A new car is urgently sought to meet the needs of our projects and mission teams.

Next mission trip: 12 to 22 February

Sponsor actions 2017: In April, Koinonia was invited to attend a sponsor action of the Evangelical school “De Zonnenbloem” in Antwerp, for the benefit of the street kids. The children from all the classes had prepared something, crafted, put them together and sold them. The sale was homemade items from every class of drawings, craft work, pancakes, etc).

A pension party was organized in Graz, Austria in November by one of our partners and loyal sponsors.

Presentation of the Koinonia Kids project Uganda and lessons in the context of religion classes were given by our team at the beginning of November in Cade primary school in Aartselaar.

 

BUILD THE FUTURE OF STREET CHILDREN IN UGANDA:

  • PROMOTE OUR PROJECTS THROUGH YOUR SCHOOL, CHURCH, FACEBOOK, COMPANY OR BY A BENEFIT, SELLING PLANTS, GREETING CARDS, WAFFLES ETC. FOR THE STREET CHILDREN OF UGANDA.
  • INVITE US FOR A PRESENTATION.
  • SPONSOR A CHILD TODAY FOR ONLY 30 € PER MONTH PER CHILD.
  • REGISTER AS A VOLUNTEER.
  • JOIN US IN PRAYER.

Your dedication and contribution means a world of difference for the children in Uganda!
” Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; ” Mark 9:37

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