Change Their Story: Give Them A Place- By Laura Marshall

I can’t believe the 2015 Change Their Story Campaign is in full swing. It seems like just a month ago that I first got a package in the mail from Children’s HopeChest containing 50 profile cards—50 pictures, 50 names, 50 children I was tasked with finding a sponsor for. But it hasn’t been a month; instead, it’s been over a year since I first saw those precious faces.

It’s been a huge year for the CarePoint in Ongongoja—so much has happened both for the CarePoint and the kids! As we near the one-year mark of the program, I want to look back a little bit at what has been accomplished.

We started the hunt for sponsors in November of 2014. I will never forget those first sponsors who helped set me on my way on this part of the journey. In January of this year, when Orphans of Teso went to Ongongoja for the first time as partners, the feeding program was launched;. There was a HUGE party, lots of excitement, and the kids were able to start receiving their daily meals. With such a young program, they started without a home, instead renting a space where they would cook and serve a meal every day to 150 kids.

Thanks to funds raised in the 2014 Change Their Story campaign, the HopeChest staff began looking for land upon which to build a permanent building. They found a space and pursued the purchase. After a bit of a delay, the purchase was completed in February.

The next task on the list was to drill a well on the land so that the community would have easy access to clean water. Again, funds from CTS 2014 were used. However, after three attempts, no water was found. The well project was put on hold—and remains unresolved. Presently, HopeChest pays someone to ride his bike 2-3 miles every day to the nearest well, fill a few of those ubiquitous yellow jugs with clean water, and bring it back so that the daily meal can be prepared.

The final project to be financed from CTS 2014 was the actual CarePoint building. When we visited in August, the building had been started. There were walls and a rough floor. Then while we were still there, they started work on the roof. The goal was to finish the whole building before the wet season, which would slow down work and make transporting materials difficult.

At some point during the year, the community of Ongongoja came together to build a kitchen for the feeding program, which is being run out of a small church building.

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Before the temporary kitchen was built

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Temporary kitchen

The great news is that they were able to finish the CarePoint building! Here it is!!

Ongongoja Building (1)

It has truly been a remarkable year! However, there is still much work to be done. We have the building, but we can’t use it yet. There are two more pieces to this puzzle. First, we need a kitchen. In Uganda, kitchens in villages like Ongongoja tend to be separate from the building or buildings they serve. In order to feed our kids (currently there are 189 in the program—three still need a sponsor!), we need a place to prepare the meals. Second, according to Ugandan law, in order to provide food for a large group of people, a location has to have restroom facilities.

For Change Their Story 2015, we are raising funds to build a kitchen and pit latrines on our land, beside the recently completed CarePoint building. The total necessary for these two essential structures is $7700—$2500 for the kitchen and $5200 for the latrines. So we need your help!

Help us achieve this goal so that we can move into our permanent HOME; as soon as possible. This location will be where the children gather every day to eat their meals, to learn about God and the work Jesus did on the cross, to receive care from the HopeChest staff, to play and learn and grow. This is an important place for a group of children whose lives have been interrupted by trauma and loss, fear and death. Having a permanent, stable, reliable situation will benefit these kids tremendously.

To donate, please visit this link.

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