Editor’s note: Sempa Don, who serves the St. Kizito Foundation “on the ground” in Uganda, wrote the following post. Our team edited his post for clarity.
Working with the St. Kizito Foundation has brought me so many amazing opportunities. I have had the opportunity to help young children reach a bright future. Hearing their stories and learning what they aspire to do with their lives has been one of the best parts of working with the St. Kizito Foundation.
These children come from some of the worst possible circumstances: orphaned from civil wars, domestic violence, natural calamities, or born into captivity. Some are victims of pandemics—namely HIV/AIDS—and other health problems. Still, others were homeless, forced to live in the streets of major urban areas and cities due to economic hardships. However, no matter what these kids have had to endure, what amazes me is that they are always smiling.
One of our core objectives at the St. Kizito Foundation is to restore lost hope in the lives of the children and young adults we serve. We accomplish this by providing them access to a good education with basic scholastic materials and life assistance while walking by their side, giving them our love and support. Being entrusted with this type of responsibility can be quite challenging. However, I have learned through these kids that loving what you do brings love and joy into your heart, as well as to those you serve.
The siblings in the above image that attend St. John’s SSS are a good example of hopes restored. They are in form four, per Uganda’s education system, in high school. I have seen them grow into young adults with their hopes restored. They now dream of becoming one of the teachers, nurses, and engineers of tomorrow. It is joyful and rewarding to walk with them into a promising future.
St. Kizito reaches out to all children from all walks of life without regard to their background, race, tribe, religious affiliation, or gender. The focus is on the child. We follow the word of Jesus Christ when he said in Matthew 9:14, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” This powerful message continues to have a deeper and greater relevance today. The St. Kizito Foundation knows that the children we serve are our future. It is, therefore, imperative to impart and equip them with leadership skills and knowledge that will help them live a Christian life, putting God at the center of their lives as they go out and shape the world for the future.
The St. Kizito Foundation reaches out to every person regardless of their situation. We believe in the oneness of the human family, and we uphold those values that promote human dignity.
The image posted above shows me with Mr. Busulwa Sula (in the wheelchair) with his son and wife. This academic year, Mr. Busulwa Sula applied for a tuition scholarship for his son, Busulwa Aahil Ken (pictured in the red t-shirt). I visited his home in Kyengera, a Kampala suburb, to assess his eligibility. After a thorough assessment, we enrolled his son onto our list of beneficiaries for the 2017 academic year. I feel blessed, together with all the St. Kizito family, to be able to play a part in bettering Aahil Ken’s life—and through him, the lives of his family as well.
I continue to cherish the mission and values of the St. Kizito Foundation as we continue to help children change their lives. Thank you to every benefactor and all the well-wishes to the St. Kizito family as we keep in solidarity, serving God’s Kingdom together!
An important objective of the St. Kizito Foundation is to support the female child by giving her access to a good education to help empower her and make sure she has a secure future. A nation with educated women is a nation that will thrive! As a developing nation, Uganda must ensure that young women are not left behind. At the beginning of each term, I visit the schools where St. Kizito students study. I make sure that all students, especially female students, are safe and have everything needed to focus on their studies. As I visit each school, I check on our students to learn how they are doing in their studies and healthwise. I also encourage them to work hard to achieve the best grades.
One bright young girl pictured here is Mutaganda Patience, who is one of our students studying at Mukono Junior. Patience aspires to become a future physician. She desires to help in medical science and hopes to make discoveries that will rid the world of diseases or reduce their impact. She hopes to help people live longer, healthier lives. These are noble and wonderful goals! Let us pray for her that she will achieve these goals.
We joined the rest of the St. Kizito staff in Gulu located in the north of Uganda to visit with the scholars at Pope Paul School in Nwoya. The picture below is of some of our scholars at Pope Paul VI School. Nwoya is one of the districts that make up the Acholi sub-region, where the LRA insurgency displaced hundreds of thousands of women, children, and people with special needs. The insurgency also led by Joseph Kony resulted in brutal killings of innocent women and children and forced some children to become child soldiers.
We are grateful that St. Kizito Foundation’s intervention has rescued and helped reunite families and offered them a way forward with good opportunities at a better life. We see this especially when children go back to school and secure their future through education. I feel humbled to be part of the team that sees this happening to the displaced returnees across the region. We will continually pray for nonviolence and work hard to offer these victims hope and a fulfilling future.