I greet you all in the precious name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As the year 2019 comes to an end, we thank the Almighty God for what has been accomplished in His purpose. Our big Lulwanda family appreciates you for standing with us through the entire year. You are the reason why there is a big smile on the faces of the little ones at Lulwanda because their future is now bright. We love you all and appreciate the support rendered to us, which is a clear manifestation that God is using you to reach out to the helpless and ensure they reach their full potential. Allow me to highlight several events that have occurred throughout 2019.
Overall health has been well throughout the year. Our kids could rarely get sick with malaria which is the biggest health illness among the children in Uganda. We continue to partner with Joy Hospice Mbale to provide comprehensive medical care for staff and children. All children have been treated for worms quarterly. HIV tests have been conducted twice along with pregnancy testing among the girls. All our children are HIV negative apart from the two known cases that were registered on the day of rescue. These two children are doing well and continue to receive medication and counseling from the referral hospital. Mental health continues to be our focus and a team of Christian counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists have been visiting our children with mental health needs. All our children have been vaccinated against typhoid this year and we plan to carry out Hepatitis B vaccines for all children moving into secondary school.
We have constructed new houses which have changed the face of Lulwanda as some of you will appreciate when you visit Lulwanda one day. So far six (6) new houses have been constructed and are being used by the children. We still need 2 more houses to be constructed and the renovation of the office block. We still believe that God will continue to open more avenues of raising the funds to construct the remaining two (2) cottages and office block. Special thanks go to all of you who donated money to Building For The Future.
We have been able to rescue six (6) more orphan children at the end of November. This was done with the help of the senior welfare & probation officer – Madam Harriet Nekesa, the social workers, Mama Aida, Chairman Larry and his wife Dee plus the management leadership team of Lulwanda. All the six new children (3 girls and 3 boys) are doing very well. We appreciate some of you who have already picked up some of the new kids as their sponsors. Depending on the availability of funds, we hope to rescue more kids in the coming year as soon we receive a green light from the US board.
We are grateful to God that five (5) children have joined a University this year and they are all doing very well. Our beloved daughter Maliza Mutenyo excelled in the National examinations and was given a “full ride” bursary by the government of Uganda. We thank God for this achievement as it has become a motivating factor for other children to work hard too. So far the total number of children at University has come to twelve (12) and this is becoming costly as l will inform you on the side of the challenges. However four (4) of our University students will be graduating in 2020 around July. It’s my prayer that some of you will be around to witness this miraculous testimony from God as our first class of graduates make history for Lulwanda Children’s Home.
Financially, we are doing very well and our books of accounts have been audited by a credible audit firm. Every single dollar received has been accounted for the benefit of the children. We also submit our financial reports to the US board for scrutiny and advice. Our desire is to remain faithful and be good stewards with all the donations received from you. We have received training from Chairman Larry on how to manage funds using the envelope system. I am happy to inform you that we have paid all the utility bills, medical and the wages for the staff members for 2019.
We have finally shifted from the dormitory style to home-like environment during 2019. All our children have been allocated to the new houses where the house mothers will be able to give them much attention, care and love. In this house setting, children will learn how to work like any other children in the village home setting. We believe the mothers will be able to know the strength and weakness of each child in order to help them and also instill discipline among the children since the number is manageable. We expect a lot of successful stories with this change of house style model.
Discipleship has been the most important aspect achieved this year 2019. Without a relationship with Christ our children would fail to reach their full potential (John 15:4-5). With the addition of Pastor Martin on site, we have made further progress at making disciples with not only our children, but among the staff, and school as well. Evening devotions are also held in two groups, one for the young ones and the other for the young adults. House mothers are praying and reading the Bible with the children before bed every night. Staff Bible studies are held every Wednesday. This gives us time to pray for each other and bear one another’s burdens just like we are commanded by the Bible (Galatians 6:2). Likewise, Lulwanda primary school staff meets every Thursday as a group. Home staff and LPS both convene every Friday morning for worship and teaching. All home children attend Bulolelo Presbyterian Church and are pastored by Pastor David Muwoya. We have purchased an assortment of musical instruments and speakers with the donations from Salem Baptist Church in McDonough, GA. Our children have been able to take part in the youth conference held this year. Thank you to Pastor Morris and Mama Aida Ogenga and all the leadership at Mbale Presbyterian Church for organizing the youth conference for our children to benefit.
We were successful in conducting the social bonding for our children with the clan members as a requirement from the government. The short visit to the villages helped our children to know some clan members who are still surviving and also learn some cultural norms and values. We have compiled stories of their interaction with clan members.
We held a Christmas party for both the children and the staff members. The children received Christmas clothes and shoes while the staff received a Christmas bonus courtesy of GICF. We all agreed that Christmas should be celebrated knowing that Jesus was born with a purpose of redeeming mankind. Hence we should associate with the less privileged and help them by showing them love and care and above all share the good news of Jesus Christ. We all agreed to serve the orphans and less privileged with one heart and we should not focus on money as we serve the Lulwanda children.
On the farm, we have constructed two barns with a store for drugs and feeds. Currently we have ten (10) cows and we hope by next year we shall have about 15 animals. The pigs are doing well though the number is less than what we had expected. Currently we have thirty three (33) pigs and our target was to have over a hundred (100) pigs. We have rented out the land of Namajje to the community people in exchange for some bags of rice. In the first season we received 700 kgs of rice and we are yet to receive more for the second season probably at the end of January 2020. This will help us cut down the costs of buying food every week. We received funds to drill a borehole (water well) through Chairman Larry at Namajje farm. This borehole is to be used to supply constant and fresh water to the constructed fish ponds when we start rearing the fish. The community is a great beneficiary as they drink safe water from the borehole.
God continued to bless us this year with different teams and short term missionaries. We received Mike Thrasher’s team that helped in the training of the Lulwanda primary teachers. They also donated a photocopying machine and a number of reading materials. We also received Salem Baptist Church in McDonough, GA that was involved in a number of activities like community outreach, conducting vacation Bible school among others. We also received Sharon Baptist Church McDonough, GA and conducted Bible study with the children, community outreach among others. Among the short term Missionaries received this year included Chairman Larry and his wife Dee. They were very instrumental in the smooth running of the home through holding meetings with different stakeholders and helping in the sponsorship program especially by Mama Dee. We appreciate Don Metz and his wife Ann who visited us and donated play materials to Lulwanda children. We also appreciate Peter Palermo and Rose Mary for the sacrifice made. Peter was instrumental in overseeing the construction of house 5&6 while Rose Mary was busy with the women Bible study in different Presbyterian Churches.
Being a missionary in Uganda is a total sacrifice because life is different from USA. Allow me to appreciate Ryan Kelley and his family for the commitment in serving the orphans with one heart. He has taken the path like that of John Palmer’s family and Natalie Rolfe. Truly their stay in Uganda is a sign of love for Lulwanda family. Thank you so much Ryan, and may the Almighty God bless you.
Our biggest challenge this year has been the increasing tuition for Trade school and University children. Most of the children have grown up and they are either in secondary school, Trade school or University. We are projecting 40 children next year 2020 in Trade school or University. As Lulwanda we are struggling to ensure that our children attain the required grade levels but our biggest challenge is the tuition. Every single child needs $1500 to complete the tuition every year. My humble appeal to you is to own the childrens’ post-secondary education and offer them with quality education to live a successful and meaningful life in future. No single child can succeed in life without joining a trade school or University. All the children at the trade school or University have appreciated the offer because very few children in Uganda from vulnerable families can afford to pay the tuition.
We had a restructuring of the staff members due the change in our mode of operations from dormitory to home-style living. This meant that we had to do away with certain positions like that of the central kitchen, laundry and cleaning department as all this kind of work will now be done in houses by the children and house mothers. We had to lay off ten (10) staff members for the good of the home and sustainability. It was a hard moment to announce such news to the staff members that we no longer need their services. All the affected staff members were paid their severance package and Christmas bonus.
On the side of Lulwanda primary school, the Headteacher (William Wamoni) resigned from duty because he was appointed in a government school. However, we got an excellent replacement by promoting Teacher Irene Nasike as the acting Headteacher until she is approved by both the US board and Local management committee.
We registered a big number of staff members losing their beloved ones. At the beginning of the year, our driver Pison Kamya lost his wife, Joseph Othieno lost his father, and George lost his daughter. Others lost close relatives who were very instrumental in their lives. The sad moment for Lulwanda came in June when we lost our beloved staff member — Florence Nekesa who was a cleaner. It was a trying moment for both staff and the children as they were affected psychologically.
Apart from the above challenges we are generally doing well. God has been faithful to us and we are seeing Lulwanda moving to another level by the Grace of God. Special thanks go to all of our donors, sponsors and US board for giving us the funds every month to be able to feed the children and also meet the medical bills, clothing and tuition. As the year come to an end, on behalf of the children and staff, l take this opportunity to wish all of you a prosperous new year 2020.Thank you so much and may the Almighty God bless.
Lulwanda Children’s Home