Outside the new library at Destiny Villages of Hope, children eagerly lined up, waiting for their chance to enter the new building. The mood was cheerful, with balloons, songs of praise, and anticipation filling the air. Mary and her family had traveled from the U.S. to Uganda for the grand opening of the library their church had helped provide.
When Mary joined the others inside the library, the first thing she noticed was the silence. Sunlight from the tall windows fell across the rows of tables and shelves. Teachers ran their hands over the books, their touch gentle and full of reverence. Children quietly entered the space, chose a book, and walked over to the table to begin reading.
It was a beautiful sight — and an answer to prayer.
Mary and her husband, Chris, were excited to see this completed project they had prayed over and personally invested in.
“Our family loves the library,” gushed Mary. “And we know what a big role that plays in a child’s education. We wanted to foster that desire there [in Uganda] and that love of reading to children who don’t have access to a bunch of books.”
During their time in Uganda, the family also visited the refugee camp at Adjumani. In the camp, there were no balloons. There were no neat and tidy buildings, no big windows, and no rows of shelves. Adjumnai is home to more than 161,000 refugees, many of whom fled for their lives from war-torn South Sudan. Of those thousands of refugees, more than 85 percent are women and children. Their lives were interrupted by violence and war.
They are simply trying to survive.
Before the trip, Mary had been particularly moved by the story of Daniel — a 12-year- old refugee from South Sudan. When she saw the dismal living situations at the camp, her heart sank. It was a stark contrast to the joyful library opening.
Afternoons in Adjumani are incredibly quiet, but not because children are busy reading. This is the hottest part of Uganda and children spend the afternoon huddled inside little clay structures or tents, hoping to avoid the brutal sun and prevent the dust from stinging their eyes.
They have enough to cry about already.
Some children have spent their entire lives in the camps. And in Adjumani, children have an especially difficult time. In an effort to help refugees start a new life, the camp provides each family with a small plot of land and tools to build a home. However, most children lack the strength or the ability to build a home or till their plot of land.
Arriving alone or with a small group of siblings or friends, these kids must fend for themselves. They stick together — groups of children raising one another. But food is scarce and, unfortunately, there are few ways to earn money in the camps.
Without food, these kids have grown weak and lethargic. And as they lose weight, they also lose hope.
They want to go to school. But the school at the camp has few resources; in fact, it barely has walls. Students share one blackboard at the front of the class, and the teachers are volunteers … fellow refugees who simply want to love and support the children. Local pastors and other adults work hard to help these kids. They know that education is the key to ending the cycle of poverty and the start to a better life full of possibilities.
But it is hard to focus in class when you are hungry.
Chris, Mary, and their children were overwhelmed by the difference in children’s circumstances at Destiny versus the refugee camp. In fact, their youngest daughter was so taken with the children that she didn’t want to leave. But now that the family is back home, they are determined to share the needs in Uganda with others. And they are teaming up with those around them to help support the education of children in Adjumani.
And it all begins with one person. Right now, you also have an opportunity to restore hope to children in Adjumani and around the world. For just $35, you can provide vital essentials like food, clean water, and medical supplies to a refugee. Your gift will bring joy to places like Uganda, Iraq, and other countries where people are suffering.
And thanks to generous corporate donations and grants, your $35 gift multiplies to become $189 worth of aid for people who need it most!
Give today and help bring food and hope to a refugee in need. When you provide emergency supplies, you give someone a chance at a future full of purpose and full of joy.