How you can make a difference in one child’s life

So after what seems like an eternity of discussions, planning, praying, documenting children, and just plain waiting, we are finally at a point where we are able to begin the process of finding sponsors for the kids in Ogoloi.

What we are up to:
I thought it would be good to share a bit about what we are doing through Childrens Hope Chest in Ogoloi, for a couple of reasons:

  1. That our friends and family would have a better understanding of what we are up to; how this process through Children’s Hope Chest works, and how they can be praying for and supporting us etc
  2. Because we have had a lot of people ask how they can get involved in sponsoring kids or just helping out and we want them to know how they can help if they feel they can/could/should 🙂
If you want background on how we got to this point, or on the village of Ogoloi and the Care Point there I’d encourage you to read the blog post at http://orphansofogoloi.blogspot.com/2011/07/story-of-ogoloi.htm first.  This will give you a better understanding of why our hearts bleed for this war torn and ravished region – and its people. 


Do Something Now from Children’s HopeChest on Vimeo.

The Care Point in Ogoloi is currently providing very basic care for a little over 120 Orphans.  Most of their parents either died in the war or from HIV/AIDS, while others may still have a parent living, but are currently sick (again usually with AIDS) and are therefore considered “at risk”. Many of these kids live in “child headed households” – a foreign and sickening concept, but a reality in this region. Many teenage (and even sometimes younger) kids are left to care for their younger siblings as the sole means for provision for their “family”. – I still cant wrap my brain around that one even as I type it….

The kids are currently being fed one meal daily at the care point despite the fact that this particular care point still needs to be sponsored. Childrens Hope Chest is able to provide for these basic needs from their general fund until a sponsoring community is found (usually a church) and finds sponsors for each of the kids.

However, other than this basic need little can be provided until this Care Point is established and children have been partnered with willing sponsors. As it stands in Uganda (and specifically Ogoloi):

  • Less than half of all kids are able to attend any kind of primary school even though it is government funded This number is even lower for orphans like those in Ogoloi -usually because they can’t afford uniforms and supplies and are turned away
  • Fewer than 25% of Ugandans can go to secondary school – and for orphans (like the 120 in Ogoloi this a real impossibility) – This leaves them hopeless for any kind of future or education. 
  • Most of these children will eat little more than the one meal being prepared for them, and are constantly malnourished and hungry (you should see how these guys polish off their plates when the meals are served)
  • These kids are constantly exposed to the risk of death from preventable disease like malaria and TB
  • And the funding currently available for these kids is insufficient to continue to support even their basic needs.
  •  More than anything, they are also starved of love. It breaks my heart when I think of my 5 an 3 year old boys, hungry, lost, hopeless, without their mom and dad, and without the love and hugs and affection that they crave from us so much every single day. 

And thats where we come in 🙂

No favorites, but if you made me pick
-these two guys were my buds

Sponsorships:
Our partnership with Childrens Hope Chest is a 5 year commitment to a long term development plan for these kids and the village in Ogoloi. It begins with finding sponsors for each and every one of the kids. A sponsorship runs $34 per month, which affords each child “luxuries” (and I am using that word incredibly loosely) such as a daily meal, school uniforms and supplies, access to primary and secondary school as well as medical care as needed. The kids are also cared for and nurtured daily by a staff team comprised of local Ugandans (often widows or local pastors from the region) who invest in the kids lives and futures. The Care Point (when properly funded) will have 2 cooks, a caretaker, 2 disciplers to teach the kids, and eventually we hope a social worker to help meet with the kids at their homes and provide guidance.

The Orphans of Ogoloi
The cooks at Ogoloi preparing the daily meal

The current “kitchen” at Ogoloi
Give us this day our daily bread.
They love this stuff – you might not 🙂

Development:
In addition to this basic set of provisions, Childrens Hope Chest works with sponsors to create a long term development plan to facilitate development projects in the village for the kids and community to benefit from. 


A typical first step is to provide a drinking well. It sounds trivial, but this in and of itself can change a village simply by allowing access to clean water and allowing kids to go to school instead of having to walk several hours each day just to carry drinking water for the family. Organizations like Living Waters International are contracted to come in and dig a well, and sponsors are afforded the opportunity (along with the locals) to help drill and build the well. This is an amazing endeavor, bringing water to a people who need water to survive, and opening doors to share about “living water” from which they will never thirst. (John 4:10)

The well at the Ogoloi Care Point
People walk from all over the area to
drink from the local well

Other developments usually include building a small kitchen for the daily meal preparation as well as a meeting pavilion for the kids to gather in (it’s that or under the mango tree, because sitting in the African sun just isn’t an option….even for these tough little guys), and a latrine (usually isn’t one around for quite a distance – even miles)

The current “church” building in
Ogoloi

A finished nearby Care Point Pavilion – Bukadea
Orphans daily meal at the a finished
Care Point nearby
The current Ogoloi Meeting building
is actually the local church 
Meeting under the Mango Tree
These developments happen slowly, and are secondary to the most  important and immediate needs that the children have, but make a massive impact on the community and the children. In addition to a secure and shady place to meet, the pavilion allows for medical and food supplies to be stored and locked away – they tend to go missing otherwise 🙂
Visits: 
Probably the best part of this endeavor, is Childrens Hope Chest’s (CHC) desire to see sponsors actually meet, engage, and love the children they support in person. Our development commitment to Ogoloi through CHC will mean that we will be traveling at least twice a year to the village. We will be able to take small team (about 5-10) each time to meet their kids, help with development work, and to simply love the people of the region and provide hope. Jen and I will be taking the first group back over at the end of the year, and I can tell you that I honestly cant wait to be back on the ground with these people. (My business partner Joe and I were in Ogoloi this spring, and we were in Uganda a year prior as well)

Blessed….
I’m incredibly blessed to have a wife that shares this passion for Gods orphans.
Jen and I are also incredibly blessed that I have a business partner who shares my heart and desire to serve God by obeying his command to love orphans and widows (James 1:27 , Isaiah 58, Mathew 25 James 2 etc).  
CENTURY 21 Signature Real Estate (our real estate firm of about 60 agents here in Central Iowa) will be taking on the primary role of overseeing this endeavor. Our company will be sponsoring a bunch of the kids but will also be working to make opportunities available for our agents and clients to sponsor a child if they want to. Obviously Jen and I are sponsoring children as well – you saw my favorites up top 🙂 and I am hopeful that we will be able to have around 50% of the sponsorships taken care of within the walls of our organization. 
Help Wanted:
We however will not, in-and-of ourselves have the ability to fund this project on our own. We will be needing help to match these children with individuals, families, small groups or even companies who would be willing to provide food, hope and love to a child who has none of these things today. 

You might ask why we would take this on if we cant afford it ourselves….and the answer is that it is just plain right. And someone has to! When you encounter a child dying on your doorstep, whether you have the means to pay the hospital bill or not, you head to the hospital. 

It is never easy to ask for money from people, but there is nothing easier for me than to ask the people I know (and some that I dont), to consider giving $34 a month to something this important. 

So we are beginning the process of reaching out to those around us to ask for help in accomplishing this massive, and yet simple feat. We need a lot of people to raise their hands and be willing to sponsor just one child. The profiling and screening process for these kids will be complete within a week, and we will be posting the profiles as soon as we have them complete. 

I am more than happy to answer questions about the funding -how it is handled through Hope Chest, how the process works etc. Just email me at dylan@century21.com if you have any interest and I will be happy to fill you in. 

I would also encourage you to look into Hope Chest at www.hopechest.org

In about a week you will be able to find a list and brief profiles of the kids we still need sponsorships for at our FACEBOOK PAGE and I will gladly send you complete profiles of any child that you would like to consider sponsoring. 


For now, if you have any interest in sponsoring a child, please email me or respond to this post and we will be in touch….OR….
If you think that your church may be interested in possibly taking on a Care Point like the one in Ogoloi, I would be thrilled to fill you in on some of the other Care Points that we visited that are in desperate need of a community sponsor such as a church. CHC has Care Points all over the African continent, as well as in India, Russia etc. 


Please pray about it, but I believe Gods answer is clear:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Talk it over and count the cost, but lets be honest, we all have the means. Its really just a choice. 

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. -1 John 3:17

…Thanks…
 from the bottom of our hearts!
 

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