Letter writing - perhaps an old fashioned art that is more nostalgic of a simpler time than is practical. However, when it comes to interacting with your sponsored student, it is one of the most valuable gifts you could give. These students crave communication from their sponsors. To them, their sponsor represents happiness, hope, and most importantly love. To know that someone very far away from them loves them enough to support their education is wonderful, but to receive confirmation of that by a letter written by that very person is priceless!
It may seem intimidating to think about writing to a child you've never met, don't personally know, and who may not understand everything about your culture. Nonetheless, this child appreciates every word and there are many people around who can help translate if the child is very young. Oftentimes, you will notice (especially with older students) that whatever you write to them gets mentioned back when they return with a letter. For instance, you might mention your dog Max and your sponsored student will frequently ask about how Max is doing. Getting to know you helps them stay connected to the blessing that is a sponsored education and reminds them that though they may face many hardships in their daily life, often fueled by poverty, they are no less important and worth the time to put pen to paper and share your love.
Majorine is one of our primary sponsorship coordinators and during this break from life normality her job is extending way beyond her job description. Maj handles the coordination of a special type of sponsorship for a young boy from Butangala named Pius. Pius is a 10-year-old boy who is hearing impaired and unable to fully speak. His sponsor is supporting his education in a special school for the deaf in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, where he is thriving.
When schools temporarily closed due to COVID-19, Maj went to gather Pius to take him back home to his village where he resides with his grandmother and 6 other people with disabilities. He lives in the village of Butangala which is about a 3-4 hour taxi ride away from his school. However, upon getting Pius, the government announced a shut down of the roads and banned all public transport. This left Pius stranded and Maj to care for him during this quarantine as she lives in Kampala near his school and was able to get to her home before the total lock down began.
Fortunately for Pius, who at home is often sent out to beg for food to eat and doesn’t get much devoted attention, this was a huge blessing as he now has regular food, shelter, and most importantly – a loving caretaker. As for Maj, she shared that her family treats Pius like a prince and enjoys his company tremendously. His smile is contagious and he makes every day meaningful. Even better is Maj and Pius set up a routine where she helps with his school lessons and his speaking skills are improving day by day. They also have leisure time where Pius enjoys watching cartoons and playing games, a rare commodity for this special boy.
It is so comforting to know that our sponsored students in Uganda have our staff who see them all as family members and would give anything for them, jumping in to help them in the face of a global pandemic. We thank our sponsors who support vulnerable children in Uganda like Pius. We thank our staff in Uganda who are so dedicated to the well-being of each student. Lastly, we thank God for giving us this positive story of love and unity in an otherwise unclear and low-spirited time.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.