Today’s guest blog is written by Penny Husted-Gamm. Penny is an award-winning photographer who has been a long-time supporter of Food for the Hungry and an advocate for the poor and suffering. She recently visited Food for the Hungry programs in Uganda and was inspired by how FH helps parents better care for their children through livelihoods programs.
Food for the Hungry believes in eradicating poverty in part through relationships: relationship with God, relationship with family, and relationship with community. I saw this principle in action in northern Uganda, in the lives of sponsored children: Alex and his cousin Andrew.
Alex and his family came to the attention of Food for the Hungry in 2004, when his father passed away, leaving his mother Ida a widow. FH enrolled Alex and his cousin Andrew in FH’s child sponsorship program.
Alex and his mother Ida, on a farm made possible because of the FH child sponsorship program.
Before FH stepped in, Alex didn’t have access to medical care. He slept on the floor, and he didn’t know how to read or write. Alex’s mother Ida didn’t know how to properly care for babies. She didn’t know about hygiene, such as washing and drying hands. Ida also could not afford Alex’s school fees.
Andrew did not have access to medical care, and his parents, Michael and Jennifer, could not afford his school fees. Like Alex, Andrew slept on the floor. Despite their situation, Michael vowed to look after his late brother’s wife and family.
Seeds of Change Through Child Sponsorship
Food for the Hungry walked together with the cousins’ parents, teaching them about hygiene, prenatal and newborn care, nutrition, and farming practices. Alex and Andrew received mattresses, bedding, hygiene kits, medical care, and school fees.
Michael and Jennifer share a large property with Ida and her family. Each family has their own traditional mud dwelling, and there is another shared house for gatherings, where we first met the two families and talked before taking a walk through their farmland.
Michael and Jennifer started their farm with lemons and oranges 12 years ago. They proudly walked our group through their beautiful property, showing us the different fields they’ve planted over the years. Their farm now includes bees, jackfruit, oranges, a fish farm, pine trees for timber, and a banana plantation. They plan to have a ginger garden and corn crops in the near future. They now sell seedlings to pay for their children’s school fees.
Michael proudly showed us his banana farm made possible by FH child sponsorship.
Ida tends to her own fields of crops. She planted eggplants and oranges as well as ground nuts—or peanuts, as many of us know them. Ida received oxen for plowing, which greatly helped her increase her food production to have enough for her family and to sell. She received one goat that then multiplied to 10, which she sold for two cows. Ida also trained in coffee farming and plans to add coffee beans to her farm.
Hope for the Future
Both families showed excitement at how far they’ve come, and excitement about the future. While Alex’s favorite subject is Chemistry, and Andrew’s favorite subject is biology, both young men wish to become doctors and return to help their community. Michael and Jennifer now share their knowledge of farming techniques with other farmers in their community.
Ida summed up her experience with FH by saying, “FH taught us to love one another. Thanks to God for bringing FH. I didn’t think as a widow I could pay school fees.”
By having relationships with God, their family, and their community, both families were able to rise from poverty to independence. While many widows in Uganda live in poverty, Ida realized what was once unimaginable: she is an entrepreneur making enough money for her family to thrive. Ida said that if FH has to leave her community, she knows their families will be able to continue on, thanks to the help and education from Food for the Hungry, and their commitment to rising out of poverty.
Get a FREE eBook on Relationships!
Want to learn what these families now know about how relationships can revolutionize your life? Download Food for the Hungry’s free ebook, 4 Relationships That Will Make You Whole.
In this free ebook, you’ll learn, like Alex, Andrew, and their families, that God created vital relationships for you. When they aren’t working right, you miss out on the fulfillment that God wants to give you!