Sponsoring a disadvantaged young Ugandan is a truly amazing thing to do. And it’s pretty easy as well; from the comfort of your fireside armchair, you can use your good fortune to alleviate a families’ poverty many miles away. But have you ever considered what it would be like to get out into the big wide world and visit your sponsored child on the ground?! That’s exactly what our supporter Carole did, for not one, but her two Amigos sponsored children! Click the picture of Carol and her Ugandan son to find out what happened when she jetted off to Uganda for the trip of a lifetime.
“When I started sponsoring Emmanuel, who was nine years old at the time, I never imagined I would actually get to meet him...But, last September I flew to Uganda and met Emmanuel and all 38 students studying at Kira. Emmanuel and I had been writing to each other for the past six years and sending photographs, so it was amazing to meet in person. I visited Emmanuel’s school, met his teacher and friends, and then Emmanuel took us to his village and showed us where he lived with his mum, brother and sister.
When I was thinking about sponsoring I found it impossible to decide which child to support, so I ticked the box which said ‘most needed’ and Emmanuel was chosen for me. My £16 sponsorship per month pays for Emmanuel’s school fees. Emmanuel sends me photographs and I receive a copy of his school report each term. Emmanuel writes to me about football, his best friend and his family, and usually sends a picture he has drawn, just like any other ‘normal youngster’, except his life is not what we think of as normal.” Emmanuel’s father died of an AIDS-related illness and his mother is now living with HIV. Emmanuel and his brother live in their own home, a mud hut, beside his mother and cousin in their mud hut. Both huts are kept immaculately. The village they live in was set up after they were forced to leave their homes when the LRA stormed the town they lived in. Some families have returned but others have stayed. The whole village came to greet us and showed us around, they are very proud of what they have. I’m so glad I had the chance to meet Emmanuel and wish I had visited sooner. I can’t wait to go back to Uganda again." Yvette P
I first met my sponsor child, Bonny, in 2008 after only a few months of sponsoring him. Having only been at school for a short time the young 13-year-old boy I met was painfully shy - he struggled to make eye contact and could only manage a simple “hello” and “thank you for being my sponsor”. When I met him again a year later in 2009, I noticed that not only had his English improved dramatically, but that he had the confidence to look me in the eye and tell me about his hopes for the future. In September this year, I met Bonny and his extended family again and discovered that sadly his parents had both died of AIDS when he was a child, leaving him orphaned. With his head held high and a refreshing confidence in his step, Bonny showed the group of UK visitors around his land and was keen to show off the bricks that he had made for building his very own mud hut (he had been sleeping in a neighbours hut on previous visits). His family’s pride filled the air and there was a great sense of hope for the future. I couldn’t have wished for more from my sponsor child and I am certain that my £16 a month couldn’t have gone to a better cause!" Nicola W
“I don’t think it’s possible to go on a trip with Amigos and not come back different”
It’s difficult to describe my trip to Uganda in just a few words as words seem utterly insufficient! We spent the first few days on Kira Farm doing a personal development program instilling in the girls that they have God given Worth, Strength and Purpose. It was such an amazing privilege to work with them and to see their confidence grow and to know that we had played a part in that. Heading north to Masindi, those of us who sponsor children through Amigos got the opportunity to meet up with them and give them gifts. I cannot express what joy it is to meet with a child living in country where a lack of education means a struggle to survive and know that you are having a direct impact on that person’s life! It’s an amazing feeling!
Visiting some of the homes of these kids and Kira Farm students was particularly humbling and it’s difficult to reconcile how we live in the affluent west with the conditions that these beautiful African people are living in. Seeing it for real and being able to embrace them and talk with them brings the reality of the struggles these families face and what they have been through home, and quite honestly shows up my comparatively luxurious life as shameful! It makes me realise how I need to make it a priority to help however I can. I don’t think it’s possible to go on a trip with Amigos and not come back different. As one of my friends on the trip said “I don’t think we could have had a fuller or richer experience.” He wasn’t exaggerating! This was real Africa! Miriam M
Amigos is working to bring self-sustainability, dignity and hope to the young people in Uganda through investing in vocational training, educational opportunities and holistic life-skills.