Grace’s Visi n
a Children of Grace newsletter
Hope for a Better Future ONE GIRL’S OPPORTUNITY FOR A NEW LIFE
Fourteen year old Ruth awoke in total darkness in a windowless room, lying upon pieces of foam spread on a dirt floor. Shifting restlessly beneath a tattered remnant of a blanket, she listened to the gentle sound of her four siblings breathing beside her. As the birds began their morning chorus, the drudgery of the day loomed before her. Rising quietly, she donned her only threadbare dress and stepped into an adjoining room occupied by a drunken uncle. As she stepped over his body, she was overcome by the smell of alcohol and vomit. The early morning light silhouetted ten 20-gallon cans lined against the side of the house. Ruth’s first chore today was to go to the city water tap a half-mile away to fill each can with water for her grandmother’s distillery. This morning, the five trips to the tap and back seemed overwhelming, and the hopelessness of her future overwhelmed her. As tears slid from her eyes, she picked up the first two cans and headed to the tap.
the hopelessness of her future overwhelmed her.
Only a few months before, Ruth had completed Primary Grade Seven and sat for the government-mandated Primary Leaving Exam. The results of this exam had been released a few weeks earlier, and even though Ruth scored in the top 3% of her entire district, there was no money for her to continue in secondary school. Without an education, Ruth was destined to a life of hopelessness, poverty and early marriage. Unbeknownst to Ruth, shortly after the release of the exam results, her seventh grade teacher began searching for financial support for her.
One day, the teacher arrived on the doorstop of Children of Grace and pleaded that Children of Grace consider sponsoring her. The staff of Children of Grace responded by accompanying the teacher to the destitute village of Maga Maga, known for its distilleries. Continued on the next page
“Thank you for believing in me” (continued) After the initial home assessment and interview, the staff
enrolled Ruth in Holy Cross Lakeview, one of the best secondary schools in the district. “I cannot believe that I have the opportunity to attend such a good school. I promise I will do my best.” Her excitement was palpable. After she was given uniforms, scholastic materials, shoes, and personal items, Ruth was enrolled in school. Before Ruth began school, she was shy and anxious, but today, Ruth is filled with determination, confidence and enthusiasm for her future. Her teachers say she has great potential to excel in her studies and succeed. Recently while visiting the school, Ruth, smartly dressed in her new school uniform, approached COG staff with a huge smile on her face. “Thank you” she said. “Thank you for believing in me” Ruth at her new school, Holy Cross.
BOOK CLUB MEETS UGANDA Upon first visiting Uganda, many people mention being shocked by the stark contrast between living conditions in the developed and developing worlds, the poverty, and the oppression of women. Other pervasive issues in Uganda are more subtle, but no less serious. One of these issues is that children are not encouraged to think critically. COG started a Sunday book club to encourage creative and critical thinking through reading. In Ugandan schools, sponsored children are encouraged to memorize facts, but rarely challenged to analyze information and explore new perspectives. Several children were invited to join the book club, and the first book the club tackled was the Boxcar
Children, which opened doors for conversation about caring for family and being strong for younger siblings, even when it’s not easy. At Sunday book club, children are asked questions like “To which character do you most relate?” and “What do you think will happen in the next chapter?” The children’s imaginations light up as they come up with creative answers to the questions. If you’re interested in donating books to the book club, visit www.childrenofgrace.com and click on “Book Club Meets Uganda.”