Saturday, July 4, 2015

Step Into My World: Central Uganda

Happy Independence Day, everyone! It may seem odd to out take a step out of the United States today, but that is exactly what we are going to do. Today we travel to Central Uganda. I write to one young man, who lives in this region:


My boy, Abbas lives in the city of Hoima, which is considered Central Uganda. However, most of Compassion's project in the Central region are located around the capital city, Kampala. The line on this map is between Hoima and Kampala. Compassion also serves in a few other cities, above the line. 

Central Uganda is mostly an urban region and people either live in the cities, in government housing, or live right outside the cities, in slum conditions. Homes are made out of wood, iron, or other found materials. City slums typically have electricity, but not running water. Water is typically purchased from water vendors. 

Those people that live inside the city, live in one-room, rented shacks, that line the city streets. These homes generally hold a large family and are definitely not adequate to meet family needs. 

Most working adults in central Uganda work as day laborers, which is usually manual labor. For men, that can include traveling to rural locations to work on plantations or in quarries. For women, that can include working in factories or running errands/carrying loads. Parents work long hours, leaving their children at home. The oldest sibling (even if they are still a child themselves) is in charge of younger siblings. 

Sadly, because of the stresses of poverty, domestic violence and child abuse is a very regular occurrence. Due to neglect or abuse, children can often search outside of their home for a family, which leads them to violent, urban gangs. Central Uganda has many homeless children living on the street, often because children have left home to join gangs. 

Schools in Uganda are not free and families often are just not able to afford to send their children to school. Schools are often overcrowded and supplies are not readily available. Even the best teachers struggle to help children learn in these difficult situations. Due to this, only 66% of people over age 15 are able to read and write. 

Thanks to Compassion, all children registered in a Compassion program attend a local school, with all of the supplies they need. Children are also given tutoring after school to help in any subjects they may be struggling with. 

Of course, the Compassion project is a place for a child to just be themselves. It's not all work and no play at the project. Children are given plenty of time to play with their friends, in a safe environment, where they don't have to worry about negative, outside influences. 

Like in all countries, children are given a quality, Christian education, as well. All children are provided with a bible and regularly learn bible stories and Christian songs. They are also taught how to pray and regularly pray for their project, their community, their country, and their sponsors. 

For Central Uganda, Compassion asks sponsors to pray for the following:

- Pray that God will protect children from negative influences that may lead them to harmful practices, such a gang involvement, drugs, theft, and premarital sex. 

- Pray that children's caregivers will be there for them, love them, and be good role models in their lives. 

- Pray for children's good health and ability to do well in school. 

Currently, there aren't any children from Uganda on the website, to share with you. I'm guessing the children have all been requested by advocates or they are out at events. Or maybe they're all sponsored! Wishful thinking. :) 

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