Growing up, I always wanted to open an orphanage overseas because I thought this was something greatly needed in a developing country. After getting an internship in Uganda after college, I realized this was far from the truth. Building orphanages is a problem globally because many children end up there who aren’t actually orphans. (In Uganda, an astounding 85% of the children in orphanages have at least one living parent^). Parents struggling to provide for their families sometimes see these institutions as a way for their children to get fed and receive an education. In this way, the orphanages help, but the children grow up outside of a family structure. My Ugandan coworker and I knew something needed to change. We believe these individuals want to work but may lack skills or capital needed to start a business. Since then, we developed business classes to walk families through how to find a source of income. Instead of just a handout, dignity is being restored to the parents because they can now sustainability take care of their children.
In addition to the business classes, we are building a primary school! While working in the communities, we realized there was not a well-performing school in the area. We do not want these children to face the same limitations as their parents. Education is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty. Simply learning English, which is taught in school, opens many doors to employment. Phase 1 of the school build will include preschool through fourth grade classrooms, a pavilion, and digging a well to serve the greater community. American teachers are coming over to work alongside Ugandan teachers to help with lesson planning and making learning more hands-on.
By involving both the parents and the children, we are working to break the cycle of poverty on two fronts. We are following Christ’s example of loving and serving others, and we are emboldened by the Great Commission to share Christ’s love with the whole world (Matthew 28:19-20).