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From Sadness to Hope: A Story of an Expanded Family

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WRITTEN BY Shannon Deppi

Alex is just 16 years old. But he’s already endured more sadness than most experience in a lifetime.

First, his mom passed away. Then, his dad died, too. By age nine, Alex was the head of his family: two little sisters, Stella and Emmy.

But God had a plan to turn this story from sadness to hope.

He started flipping the script when Alex’s aunt, Christine, and her husband decided to take her orphaned nephew and nieces in and raise them alongside her own five children.

Big Family, Big Challenges

Aunt Christine and Uncle Benson struggled to make ends meet as peasant farmers even before taking Alex and his sisters in.

They already had five children to feed and send to school. Plus Aunt Christine and one of her daughters struggle with their health, adding doctor visits and medicine to their list of expenses. Adding three more children to the mix would stretch their thin resources even thinner.

And in their impoverished Ugandan community, farming families like theirs notoriously struggle to harvest enough to survive. School fees often become a family’s first budget cut when weather changes and inadequate harvests leave families lacking.

“I faced many challenges,” Aunt Christine recalls, “from providing food for the family, treating children when they fall sick, and meeting their needs for school. This would cause me a lot of stress everyday.”

Yet despite the overwhelming obstacles, she continued to trust in God. She believed her prayer that He would turn their sadness to hope would soon be answered.

And indeed, it was.

Expanded family of 9 now set up for success through the gift of chickens.

Chickens Turn Sadness to Hope

God worked through the Food for the Hungry (FH) projects taking place in the family’s community to provide Alex a child sponsor. This blessing helped provide encouragement to Alex and made sure he and his vulnerable sisters didn’t fall through the cracks.

But that’s not all. Child sponsorship also allowed FH to get to know their entire family and better understand the challenges they faced.

Relationships and conversations that started with child sponsorship opened the door to collaborating on solutions that would help this family improve their situation.

For example, Aunt Christine received 12 chickens from FH to raise and better meet the needs of the 8 children now in her care. The chickens also came with training in poultry management, providing her the tools and skills needed to raise healthy chickens for eggs, meat, income, and more.

As a result, these dozen chicks have made an outsized impact in the family’s present and future circumstances.

“A lot has changed in my family,” Aunt Christine says today. “The chickens FH gave me multiplied, and I can sell them to meet the needs of my family.”

“My children are in school studying well,” she continues. “I no longer struggle with paying school fees because I have what I can sell to raise money. My son is completing a certificate course in agriculture. He inspires many in our community.”

A Brighter Future

Though this family has faced many struggles, God has turned their sadness to hope for a brighter future.

“I feel so happy,” Aunt Christine shares today. “We can now smile because of these changes. Alex has completed primary school and is waiting to start secondary level education. His siblings and cousins are attending school, too.”

With these needs met, she and the children are all dreaming about the future. “My hope and prayers are that my children may complete their studies, get good jobs, and support their community,” she says. “Thank you, FH, for the support to my family and community.”

Continue Reading:

Ducks and Chickens: Small Birds with Big Impact

From Food Shortage to Surplus — A Family Garden was the Answer

Food Distribution: A Great Way to Celebrate World Food Day


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