First up we have some really exciting news! Earlier this month we received a certificate of registration in Uganda, making us a registered NGO in Uganda! We are so excited as this has been a long road with so many people involved working toward this goal. Thanks to you all, and many many prayers, we have made it! This is great not only to make Kids First 'official' in Uganda, but to provide protection for the children and adults involved in Kids First. It makes meeting together in large groups safe, and allows us to provide more care for the vulnerable kids involved, as shown below in Joshua's letter...
It has been a while since I last gave an update about Harriet. I will share some information about her now.
It is a huge blessing being part of Harriet's life and seeing where God has brought her and the wonderful life He is giving her. Taking care of Harriet has not been easy, especially when we have not been registered as it has been illegal for us to make some decisions about her health or even provide some care while we are not registered. To make matters worse it is very hard to get her mother's approval for some decisions that needs a parents consent (as she is not easy to find or contact). Our registration and recognition by the Ugandan government has come like a Christmas gift to Harriet as we can now make some decisions about her care because we are protected by law.
Some time back in our first year of helping Harriet, I had taken Harriet to one of the best rehabilitation and nursing homes in Uganda for therapy and treatment. However, they denied us services because we were not registered and I was not Harriet's parent. I was so disappointed but hoped I would get Kids First registered so that Harriet could get medical services at this centre.
I thank God this has come to pass. Once I got the registration certificate, the next morning I went to this rehabilitation home to work on the process of seeing Harriet get therapy. I am so happy to let you know that Harriet has been admitted to this rehabilitation centre and she will be undergoing intensive therapy for one month.
Harriet is a very loved girl in Kids First. I was overwhelmed with the support everyone gave to see her get into this rehabilitation centre. On her day of admission, apart from myself, Stella was there to represent the mothers, Merabu the director of Gaba Model School (Harriet's school), and Harriet's teacher, Patricia, was there to support Harriet as she goes through her journey of specialised therapy treatment.
In addition, I am happy to note that Harriet's health has improved a lot since she started taking her HIV treatment. She has been so cooperative in taking her medication and the doctors are happy that her health has improved. At her last visit to the hospital they reduced the medication she was getting because of the improvement.
Merabu, the Director of Gaba Model School, has been a huge blessing to Kids First but also to Harriet as she accepted to keep her in her lovely home for part of this school break, and while I was worried about how I was going to help Harriet in the hospital, she connected me to Harriet's best teacher. This teacher, Patricia, will visit her in the hospital and at the same time help her with her school work while at the hospital.
With the kid of love and care Harriet is receiving her life is changing for the better and we thank God for that.
Mukama abawe omukisa,
Happy New Year!! What a great start to the year we had. Although new years day in NZ was rainy, I received a wonderful update from Joshua about more women on the microfinance programme, who have seen such a huge benefit to their lives in the last few months of 2015. Nothing is better than seeing people empowered to support themselves and their families. This is our aim at Kids First: to value others as Christ does, thus empowering them to make the most of the opportunities we can offer to help benefit themselves, their family, and their community.
So without further ado, let me introduce you to another amazing woman, mother, and grandmother, who is starting 2016 with a brand new outlook and a positive attitude. Let's hope we can all be so enthusiastic this January, and carry it through to the end of the year. And remember, if you haven't yet decided to support or sponsor through us or any other organisation, I strongly encourage you to do so this year. A small amount may change a life, and even a family (our microfinance loans are about NZD45/USD30, and yet families are reaping huge rewards from the boost they give).
Microfinance Success Story 5:
NAME: Elizabeth Nanyunja
Age: 56 years
Elizabeth is a widow with seven children and eight grandchildren.
Elizabeth is one of the leaders in Kids First. She has been with us since the start of the organisation.
Below is what she had to say about the microfinance project.
“Becoming a widow at a very young age with a young family, I was so desperate to find help from a number of organisations so that I could keep my children in school and get them food to eat.
Unfortunately most of the help I was getting was handouts so ended up going back and forth for help. I was so pleased when I joined Kids First because from the start it was helping us to lead self-sustainable lives.
Through craft we can make money that can help us meet our needs and when the micro-finance came in it just empowered us all the more. I lost one of my daughters to HIV/AIDS, leaving behind four orphans that I had to take care of. Three of these children are on medication which is free but it requires proper feeding [people with HIV are prone to nutritional problems and need greater attention on a balanced diet] which is so costly especially if you have a big family to take of.
I am happy that with the microfinance I have enlarged my income base and feeding my sick grandchildren is no longer a challenge. I cannot stop smiling because I am now so sure that with proper feeding I will be able to see them live for a longer time. Thanks a lot Kids First for not giving us fish but for helping us fish for ourselves.”
Here at Kids First we all have something to say, so this blog will be updated by members of our team as our work progresses to keep all of you in the loop!