Give Thanks to the Lord, He’s God and King

After the long wait, I was finally able to get on board with the rest of the team heading to Wells of Hope Junior School for the Thanksgiving Service organized by the Head of Discipleship, Pastor Mark.

We arrived safely, and we were a team of 5. The smartly dressed children sang so beautifully and were led by Mercy Mugoya. The first song encouraged us not to worship idols. Soon after the presentation, Brian from Wells of Hope High School (WOHHS) took us through the program and promised that some students from WOHHS were also coming to attend the service. They were going to make some presentations, which really excited me as I looked forward to interacting with them also.

“God loves a cheerful giver,” Michael our first preacher emphasized, we read from 2Corinthians 9:7-8. We learnt that whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.

Pastor Mark also taught from the book of 1 kings 3:3- 9, and Psalm 50:23. We got to learn that God is honored and also pleased when we bring sacrifices at his altar as he accepts and blesses us; we also find favor in his eyes and the eyes of men. Pr Mark said that we can thank God with songs of praise, shouts and worship, music and instruments and with our offerings. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, was the memory verse, and we all recited it together with the children.

After the hearty sermon, my heart was ready to give and I believe it was the same for the rest of the congregation. We went with our offerings while singing praises and with thankful hearts. The Pastor prayed for our offerings and, indeed, I felt blessed.

Soon after, we had the presentations form the High School that included mostly dancing. My best moment was when we had staff dancing along with the children.

Shortly after, the children joined by the staff offered thanks to God for all Wells of Hope friends, sponsors and partners. They continued to thank God for the construction of the administration block which is progressing.

We thank God for all our sponsors that have faithfully given to a child with a parent in prison month after month. The whole team at Wells of Hope has you at heart and a special prayer was made for all of you at our wall of appreciation.

We later enjoyed a great meal with the children. We thank God, our provider!

Written by Jacqueline Nakinda, Administration Officer

Kanzu Code at Wells of Hope

Saturday 6th July 2019 found us having a wonderful day at Wells of Hope Schools with 14 members from Kanzu Code who were there to visit the children. The day started at Wells of Hope High School with the Kanzu Code team arriving at 11:30 am. They were welcomed to the school with a dance performed by the students, were briefed about the High School by the Head Teacher in the Head Teacher’s Office and were later taken on a short tour around the school. During the tour, they were able to see the computers they had donated to the laboratory. The team from Kanzu Code later met with the students, had interactions with them and listened to their testimonies. Peter Kakoma, who was the leader of the team, later did a power point presentation on websites with the students. This was very inspiring, especially for the students to have interests in IT related careers. Time was not our best ally, so Peter hopes to prepare better and come with more material to facilitate a more engaging computer and career guidance session. The short visit was crowned with an interesting dance off that involved everyone laughing merrily and everyone showing off their talent.

At 1pm, we headed to Wells of Hope Junior School where we were welcomed with a beautiful dance from the East. The children were smart in their attire! The team was briefed about the junior school and thanked for their donation towards the printer that has been of such great help ever since it was brought. It was time for lunch, and the team from Kanzu Code helped in serving the children and maintaining the line. It was such a wonderful moment hearing the team reminiscing of their days back in school. They later served the scrumptious Posho and beans. It was great that they enjoyed the meal!

Children at the Junior School being served.
Communications/IT Officer Lucy and members from the Kanzu Code team serving food.

 After lunch, we had a praise and worship session with the children. They presented a poem “rejection” which had our visitors clapping loudly at the end of the presentation.

We later had a tour around all the sections of the school. The team from Kanzu Code was fascinated by the pigs in the farm section because they are big and clean, and they especially loved the one that had given birth the previous day.

Finance Officer Joan with some members of the Kanzu Code team.

We went to the dormitories and later to the class rooms. The members from Kanzu Code had a brief moment at the play field with some of the children and helped push the children in the swings.

A member from Kanzu Code pushing a Junior School pupil in a swing.

Ann, a member from Kanzu Code, said “it such a great work we are doing here at wells of Hope” and said she wished they had more time to engage the children in some games. We later took them to the wall of appreciation where they saw the names of various people that have supported Wells of Hope.

The team from Kanzu Code!

The children prepared a traditional Kiganda dance to crown the day. Some members from Kanzu Code joined in and shared in the light moment! Finally, Peter Kakoma gave a word of encouragement to the children. The team handed over donations that they had brought that included clothes and stationary before we took a group photo.

It was such a wonderful day that included of many light moments shared by both the students and the team from Kanzu Code. They hope to come another time and do more activities with the children because they loved them deeply but were limited because of time.

On behalf of the team at wells of Hope, I thank the team from Kanzu code for coming to spend a day with us. It was truly memorable to have you all around, to see your compassion towards children that have a parent in prison and for your continued support especially regarding the computers to the schools that have made a difference. Indeed, we saw Love in Action that day through each one of you.

We look forward to seeing you again and hopefully be able to play tag with you all!

Written by Joan Ninsiima, Finance/M&E Officer

Trauma and Self-Esteem: A Look into Life with a Parent in Prison

“I like my hands because they allow me to be an artist.” 

I smile in appreciation. I, along with my fellow counseling team, had asked the pupils to fill out a worksheet, detailing all of the features and characteristics the pupils liked about themselves. We continued to walk around the room, excited to hear more: legs that allow pupils to play football, brains that facilitate thinking and learning, and hearts that create so much love.

On July 4th, the Programming Team chose to focus on self-esteem and self-confidence building for classes P4-P7 at the Wells of Hope Junior School. This decision came from a trend teachers at the Junior School began noticing — lowered amounts of self-esteem, confidence, and self-belief among the pupils. Mind, a mental health charity based in the United Kingdom, provides an explanation of self-esteem: “self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It’s based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves.” While having a healthy self-esteem can provide numerous benefits, low self-esteem can cause numerous detriments, including, but not limited to, anxiety, stress, loneliness, increased likelihood of depression, problems in both friendships and romantic relationships, impaired academic and job performance, and an increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse. 

Why, however, are the children at Wells of Hope facing such barriers? One answer – arguably the most common denominator – is trauma. Trauma, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a “disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury.” In simpler terms, a child may experience a form of trauma, or an emotional/mental response, when being subject to severe amounts of stress, beyond his or her ability to cope. In the case of children under the care of Wells of Hope Ministries, many of them are healing from a form of trauma, whether it be from witnessing the arrest of a parent, being subjected to poor conditions following the arrest, or facing ostracism from one’s community. The World Health Organization, when conducting a World Mental Health survey, found that at least a third of the 125,000 people surveyed in 26 different countries had experienced trauma. These numbers only include reported instances — actual numbers are most likely, much higher.   

When looking at the relationship between trauma and self-esteem, often, as described on GoodTherapy.org, “it is common to believe that if you had been smarter, faster, fought harder, yelled louder, or simply been a better person, then the trauma would not have occurred.” Even though these beliefs are not true, they whittle away at an individual’s self-esteem, causing harsh opinions of one’s self. Therefore, trauma and self-esteem work in a cyclical nature, as experiencing trauma leads to low amounts of self-esteem, and the thoughts caused by having a low self-esteem make it harder for the individual to heal from the trauma. 

Many children at Wells of Hope Ministries fall into this cycle, but, through consistent and routine counseling, Wells of Hope Ministries aims to help children heal from their trauma and build their self-esteem so they can begin believing in themselves. We believe in these children’s’ resilience and ability to enact positive change in their respective communities. We want to give these students tools to overcome the hardship they previously faced in order to create long-term, sustainable change because, at the end of the day, these children deserve the world.

Written by Anooshka Gupta, intern from the University of Michigan, USA