Since 1997, the program now known as Bridges for Children has been caring for children in Kampala, Uganda. In post-war Uganda and in the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the program partnered with the church for temporary classrooms that doubled as shelter for children living in the streets.
Over time, as life-saving medications became available and stigma lessened, the program shifted to an educational model providing school fees and allowing children to attend the church school without financial support. In some years, as many as 500 children attended. Last year 224 children were in the program.
You have helped these children in many ways, including:
- Education and interventions such as medical care and trauma healing.
- Discipleship programs, bibles, school supplies, and shoes
- Two daily meals
- The Wamama group for mothers
Now in a new season, Bridges for Children embraces a time of transition into a new model of care. Bridges Founder Sara Sebyala has been working to establish means for the program to become self-sustaining. With this in mind, she has added raising chickens and growing pineapples to her activities.
“Now every day I have eggs. I sell the eggs and I have money in my hands, and every day more chickens are laying and I watch that money grow.” Sara’s desire is to support children and families through farming.
In recent years, students’ grades have plateaued and then dropped. The number of children has outpaced the financial support, and administrative duties took Sara and her team out of the mothering roles where they excel. We asked how we could bring more hope and positive change into the children’s lives.
So, this year, Calvary Primary is working with fewer students while the Bridges team works with families to transition children into other programs. Nineteen students will continue in secondary school to complete their studies.
Education is a key part of escaping poverty, but there are also many other factors that profoundly affect a child’s future. The 42 children raised in Sara’s home over the years have done well. She is restructuring to have more time with individual children, to make more investment into their day-to-day lives beyond the classroom. This is a return to her original calling to be a mother to many.
Within five years, Sara hopes Bridges for Children will be fully self-sustained trough the farm.