International Needs Uganda
When we imagine the future, we see a kinder world; a world where children have choices other than forced labour, trafficking, gangs, and prostitution; a world without oppression and racial inequality; a world without so much poverty, disease, and hunger; a world where people confidently make their own decisions, regardless of their circumstances. (International Needs: Vision)
Since 2008, CrossRoads has been partnering with International Needs Uganda (INUG) as they support the most vulnerable in the region of Buikwe.
INUG is well known in the community and operates many essential programs such as child sponsorship, health care, savings and loans groups, water and sanitation, and church planting and pastor training. Since 2017, we have been supporting the education of secondary school students at the Buikwe Senior Secondary School (BSSS). The ~500 students at BSSS, many of whom are orphaned and vulnerable, now have access to a modern Science Laboratory, spacious Girl’s Dormitory, and the soon-to-be-completed Boy’s Dormitory.
The Boy’s Dormitory ground-breaking ceremony occurred in February 2020, celebrated by hundreds of parents, guardians, students and staff. This has been an answer to the student’s prayers. The current dormitory is overcrowded, unsanitary, and a potential fire hazard. When completed it will house up to 200 boys, providing a safe haven for them to pursue their studies, live in a God-centered community, and be supported and mentored. The new dormitory eliminates daily long commutes from home to school, reducing outside pressure to drop out of school, consume alcohol or drugs, be promiscuous, and/or other risks such as being kidnapped for the human traffic trade. With the facility scheduled to open in early 2021 for the beginning of the new school year, students are given hope that God, and the people of CrossRoads care for the future of these valued students, the future of Uganda.
A team of 8 from our church was there Feb 27th-March 10; they were just in time to help make bricks for the foundation of the new dorm. In addition, they were in the classrooms teaching, interacting with students, participating in a fun-run, and much more. If you missed this trip, check out the blog here.
This was the only team to go out in 2020, and they were also the first to quarantine, making the transition from a warm culture and 24/7 community to isolation extremely difficult. They never had a meaningful way to share their stories.
Coronavirus in Uganda
In March 2020, the Ugandan Ministry of Heath declared Buikwe District “high risk” due to the large numbers of residents infected by the virus. The entire community was harshly impacted. The school shut down, students were sent home, and essential programs were suspended. This was especially hard on vulnerable sponsor children and their families who were already facing limited income and resources. Thankfully, INUG was able to provide sizable food baskets containing many essential items. One family called this a “timely gift” because they “had no one to turn to for food at this time”.
INUG also initiated school course support for the students. One teacher said, “We would like to thank God that International Needs and CrossRoads Church were able to provide funds that helped in facilitating the production, printing and distribution of study materials”.
The coronavirus lockdown was hard on students, but some took the opportunity to leverage skills learned during agricultural class at BSSS in order to generate income. Marvin began rearing goats. Dissen began making charcoal briquettes using the skills learned in school; he was proud to be able to “contribute to the nutritional needs of my family”.
On October 15th, some students were allowed to return to their classes. These were “candidate” students that must complete standardized government exams in order to apply for post-secondary schooling. James said “the dormitory will allow space for us and it will reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Social distancing will be easy to maintain, hygiene will be observed well, and many lives will be saved. Thank God for CrossRoads Church and God bless them”. Although we couldn’t have anticipated this critical need for extra space to allow for social distancing, we thank our all-knowing God that He did.
Please continue to pray for students and staff in the primary and secondary schools of Buikwe, especially for the senior students taking their government exams. Pray for the community that they would weather the coronavirus storm well. Pray for wisdom and health for the staff of INUG as they support this vulnerable community. May you be blessed as you bless the children of Uganda.
Written by Adam Minke