I visited the Living Hope centre up in Gulu, Northern Uganda, and met with incredible women who had been through horrific trauma during the civil war but had come through the Living Hope program and were unrecognisable as the same women who had gone in.
Gulu is a typical small African town, red dust everywhere; rubbish piled on the sides of the streets; pot-holed roads, paint peeling off buildings and the signs of disrepair everywhere. By contrast the Living Hope Centre in Gulu is beautiful, from a huge green lawn and beautifully painted and maintained buildings, to the quotes and signs on the wall reaffirming value and dignity. Then that standard goes through everything, from the workers, medical care, programs and resources available to them. They have a beautiful day care for their children to attend as well as medical care provided for them and their family while they are attending the year-long program.
My Senior Pastor, Bobbie Houston, always says that it is not just what you do for someone but how you do it that places value on someone and that is so true here. The value placed on these rejected; marginalised and vulnerable women is something that speaks volumes to them, not just in the program that is run, but the environment in which is it run.
One of the people I met in the living hope program was Mary, a Living Hope graduate who was part of the initial intake of HIV+ and highly vulnerable women that we sponsored through our “stiletto stampede” at Colour Conference back in 2008. She has now graduated from the program but she works full time in the Watoto Living Hope workshop in Kampala, creating beautiful dolls to sell to support other women just like her. She has been able to put her son through university as a result of this program and he now has a good job as an accountant. It is an amazing example of how putting value on women and giving them opportunities can break a cycle of poverty in a family.
I think that often we negate our power to make a difference to someone because we don’t feel like we have enough to give, but $500 over one year will help someone like Mary get the support she needs to change the trajectory of her and her family’s lives.
Have a look at coloursisterhood.com/500project and find out how you can make a difference to someone like Mary through the LIVING HOPE #500project.
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