Yesterday, the formerly Incarcerated Women celebrated their Christmas party which was graced by Nicholas Opio, a Human Rights activist and lawyer. The women once again shared the challenges they face with the law leading to Incarceration (some amidst tears) and requested that they need an intervention soon! All this was put aside by the joyous mood as they shared a meal, cake, lots of music and dance as they celebrated the birth day of one of the ladies who was released afew months back having been in jail for four years.
We thank our sponsors for their continued support towards the women.
Among the children that stayed behind when schools were closed were children who did not have homes to go to and children who were at risk in the communities they come from. Over 50% of the children stay at Wells of Hope almost all year round even during the short breaks or holidays because of some of the above issues; for some, their caregivers cannot afford to provide them with the basic needs. Over 90% of the families are living from hand to mouth; to get a meal, is a miracle.
We are glad to report that some of the children have now got homes to go to for the Christmas break; mainly through kinship under the Family Based Care Project. Before the children went for the break, they received supplies which included: sugar, food, soap, salt, among other necessities; they could not hide their glee as they received the items!
More supplies are yet to be delivered to more families of the children. We thank all our sponsors and friends who are supporting this cause!
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would give sight to a blind man? Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would calm the storm with his hand?
The Party MC asked his co-MC, “did you know, did you know that today we would hold this party? Did you know today we would be here? Did you know that…, Did you know”; and the Co-MC answered, “Yes and No” to the questions!
To me these words echoed in my mind and indeed as the children did their creative dance on the same song, I silently could not hold my tears of praises to God, tears of joy and ecstasy as I found myself asking, “Ellen did you know, did you know that we would have this party this year with all the challenges and pain? Did you know that today you would see these children performing the Christmas presentations so well?”; and indeed, this went deeper with questions flowing, “did you know what Wells of Hope would be? As a little girl, did you know that you would one day serve prisoners and their families?”
Did you know that as you were going out on Christmas Day in 2003 with directions from the inmates in Upper and Women Prison, Luzira, condemned to death row, life imprisonment and serving long sentences 10 years above, to trace for their children that they had left in the community, so that you give them the small presents/gifts you had bought them on behalf of their fathers and mothers, that, that was the birth of the Children’s Education Support Program at Wells of Hope? Ellen did you know that the children we brought to join Wells of Hope from their communities who had lost hope of ever being in school,15, 10, 9 … years ago, with no self-esteem, withdrawn and stigmatized in their communities, would be the ones performing with so much confidence today, exhibiting so much talent and looking so handsome and beautiful?
At that moment, scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 61:1 – 5, Matthew 25:36 became so evident and I was even more humbled to realize that our Father God gave us the very best gift to us at Christmas and He Himself sends us out to give hope to those who have lost hope and to fulfill the plans that He has for every human being He has created and it is upon us to say “Yes” or “No” to Him and as long as we say “Yes” He Himself has and will provide for the resources to fulfill the plans that He has for everyone that He has created!
This revelation gave me so much joy and excitement as I joined the children in all the activities that they had prepared. We danced along; we cheered; we cut cake; we ate ice cream; and indeed celebrated the best gift ever given to mankind of Jesus Christ and the hope of having a bright future for children with incarcerated parents!
Yes, Ellen did you know that God Himself would bring to Wells of Hope people with a heart of serving with you? Did you know that the LORD would touch people’s hearts to stand with you spiritually, financially, emotionally and physically to enhance the Kingdom of God as you serve prisoners and their families?
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BLESSED 2021 TO YOU ALL OUR FRIENDS AND PARTNERS!
Ellen Eva K. Ssuubi, Wells of Hope Ministries Team Leader
When the president closed school due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we worked to send back the children to their homes. However, some children remained behind and continued to stay at Wells of Hope Junior School, the residential school for children with imprisoned parents, under the care of Wells of Hope Ministries. The children stayed because of various reasons which include: some have no homes to go back to, some are at risk in their communities and others were rescued from their communities. During the lockdown, most of the children who had gone back home faced a lot of issues; some had been forced into slavery, Wells of Hope as an organisation rescued these children and they are now safe and continuing their studies.
For the period of March when schools were closed up to date, we have continued to care for these children by providing them essential needs and also we have endeavoured to provide them an all rounded education that has enabled them to continue with their education uninterrupted. Through a program we call COVID Combo Education. This program involves providing the children an all round education which includes the regular lessons as per the government curriculum and vocational hands on skills, whilst we did this we also taught children how to avoid COVID 19 and provided them updates about the pandemic, that’s why we call it COVID Combo Education.
Due to COVID-19 government directives, the teachers couldn’t continue teaching the children directly as it was before, so what we did was to install Television sets in classes and the children continued to having their education uninterrupted. So While at Wells of Hope, the children are able to continue their studies through recorded video lessons compiled by their teachers. We record their teachers on videos from studios in Kampala and then the children are able to be taught through these recorded videos at the Junior School. We also provide them typed notes made by their teachers. The notes are in tutorial form and are made consistent with the recorded videos.
Besides this, we also provide the children with vocational training; the training is provided via Videos and also through instruction by their fellow children who already have the skills and are assisted by resident school Matrons.
We provide the following Vocational Skills to the children:
Cookery/Culinary Skilling; they are teaching them how to make snacks (like chapatis, meat balls and cakes) and casual food.
Hair dressing; they are training them how to braid hair (twist, 3 stands), how to plait dreads, crotchet weave and cornrows.
Tailoring; they are training them how to sew skirts, dresses and bags (cross-bags, purses and backpacks)
Video Editing and Graphics.
On December 2nd, 36 children graduated in above mentioned skills; the children were very excited as they received certificates!
We hope that by having a combination of the regular curriculum lessons and vocational skills will equip children with a hands-on skill or vocational skill so that when they complete their studies, they are able to start up an income generating activity back at home.
Because these children meet challenges in the communities, even making some of them drop out of school as a result of early marriages or other reasons; we hope that by providing them these skills they are able to continue with their lives by starting business of their own or even finding employment.
Christmas is a time of joy; and love. As most families gather to celebrate this festive season, for most children (over 90%) under our care it is like any other day. Their families are living in very deplorable situations and their caregivers cannot afford to celebrate the season the way most average families do.
With support from friends, Wells of Hope Ministries annually holds a Christmas party for the children before they go back home for the Christmas break. The joy and excitement expressed by the children is unexplainable!
This year’s party was held on December 2nd at Wells of Hope Junior School. Due to COVID-19 outbreak in March, schools in Uganda were closed. However, most children under our care stayed behind because some do not have homes to go to; and others are at risk in their communities. When the children got to know that the party was still on, they leaped with joy! Due to the current situation globally, this came as a surprise to them!
Throughout the day, the children and staff were extremely happy! One could tell by the wide smiles on their faces.
This year’s main Guests were two parents who were recently acquitted! The children were excited when they saw them; and most of all to celebrate Christmas with them! They were extremely grateful to the organization for taking on the responsibility of looking after their families especially their children; and they encouraged the children to continue trusting God for everything they pray for.
The day was a fully packed one as children made a couple of presentations which included a skit, mimes, dances and singing of Christmas carols, which they had prepared.
In the skit, the children emphasized the importance of Christmas and reminded their friends about God’s love for humankind.
Other major highlights at the party included: the Christmas carols presented by the children; all children receiving a Christmas gift; sharing icecream; playing on the bouncy castle; 36 children graduating with trade skills; and an interactive dance session by the IDU Dancers!
IDU Dancers engaging children in a dance session:
During the party, the children and staff shared a sumptuous meal and a cake!
Children with their gifts:
The party was another of a kind; a scientific one given the current circumstances. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors and everyone who responded towards the end of year campaign; especially towards the children’s Christmas party which was a success! Thank you all for bringing a smile to children with imprisoned parents especially at such a time!!