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Christmas without Mommy, Daddy or Granny – All Gone!

Dear Friend:

Christmas greetings and joy! I hope and pray that you and loved ones are doing well.

We cherish our families every moment of our lives. But in a special way, Christmas is a focus on family, friends, and loved ones. The baby Jesus was born into a loving family of Mary and Joseph. The Christmas meal is a celebration of a Messiah born in our midst to bring salvation, but it also celebrates the joys and bond of love shared within families. It is indeed a cause for rejoicing and being grateful to the Lord for all His amazing blessings in our lives.

On behalf of the children, youth, and women you support in rural Uganda, THANK You for standing with us this year and for transforming so many lives through the projects you have generously contributed to as a volunteer or donor.

Today, I invite you to stop for a moment and imagine what Christmas is going to be like for Eric (11) and Angelo (14)—no mommy, no daddy, and now granny is gone as well.  About six weeks ago, granny left them in deep sorrow and uncertainty of life. When HIV/AIDS robbed them of their mother and father, the little boys were left in the hands of the granny as the only source of love, comfort, and care until death claimed her as well.

                      Photo: Eric with granny two weeks before she died

We don’t know what to do now. We depended on Jjajja (granny) for everything. We’ve never had Christmas without Jjajja. Now we have to fight for ourselves!,” said Angelo. I honestly don’t know what I would do if it were me; it’s very hard to imagine. But these boys are resilient. Now they have to assume adult responsibilities for themselves and forget about their childhood, parental love, and their youth! Most of us remember childhood as the best years of our lives; these kids won’t!

The little mud house is almost falling on them. This semester they missed school. The little money late granny had was used up in paying medical bills. With no education, what hope for a better future can you envision for these kids? Like you and I, they have big dreams too, but what chances, if any, do you see of these kids ever living those dreams?

In the past several years, you, our supporters have shared our belief that empowering these children in child-headed families is fundamental to the development of their communities. You have supported many of them to go to school and built five safe homes for such families. Our Hope Academy has educated more than 350 children since 2008. Maria, 7 years old and a deaf child got into a special school with support of a generous sponsor.  For all you have done for the children, Thank You!

In September Talemwa, 1.5; Kyosimba, 4years; Kisolo, 5years; and Bogere, 9, moved into their brand new home—a gift of shelter that has transformed their lives. You can see the old and new houses in the picture on back side:

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Many other children are in similar predicament and need urgent help for an education, housing, and medical care to secure their future—the future of our world. It’s amazing what these kids can do—take on parental responsibilities for each other at such a tender age, work so hard to obtain basic needs, and offer moral support and consolation to their little brothers and sisters. Imagine how much they are capable of if armed with an education—limitless possibilities!  As President Pinera of Chile said, “Education is our best weapon against poverty, in order to achieve greater equality of opportunities.”

These kids are gifted and are doing their best, but they need a companion on the journey. They are calling upon us once again to join forces with small acts of kindness, as we have always done, to extend a loving hand to support them in any way we can.

I invite you to pray for the children and to consider walking with them on this journey. When my father died on Christmas 15 years ago, the joy of Christmas was robbed out of my life and dreams of a bright future seemed for a moment to vanish in thin air. Like no person could replace my father, we cannot replace these children’s parents; however, just like many people have supported me to become what I am today—highly educated, joyfully serving the church and society, we can also be the angels that can bring a glimmer of hope for kids such as Eric, Angel, Maria, Talemwa, and others.

A generous gift of $30, $50, $100 or any amount you can afford would go a long way to educate and secure the dreams of these amazing kids. They have so much to give to society to make it a better place for all of us.

For $25 a month, $100 a trimester, or $300 a year you secure the future of one child through education.

You may donation online or send check to Uganda Rural Fund at 12829 River Road, Richmond, VA 23238.

When I lift up my voice to God everyday in my prayers and the celebration of the Holy Mass, I make a special intention to ask God to bless you and your loved ones. That’s the best form of gratitude I can offer on behalf of the hundreds of children whose lives you have transformed. Thank You! Webale Nyo!

Merry Christmas and wishing you a very blessed New Year 2014!

With love and kind regards,

Rev. Fr. John Mary Lugemwa, OSB
President

Nyinatunze family- a boy and granny