Search Results for watoto

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When I heard about this contest through Watoto – I knew nothing about them. Had never even heard of them. I started googling them and reading up. Then when I won, I started watching the videos (you have to check these out!) and was amazed at this organization! Watoto’s mission is to “Our mandate is to RESCUE the orphans, RAISE them up to be leaders, so they can REBUILD their nation.”. Love this. I have to share a couple ways they do this first hand – there’s a lot of pictures, and some incredible stories… be forewarned. :-) Our first day here we went to the baby home up in Gulu. To backtrack – Gulu is up in Northern Uganda where Kony was active and many lives were destroyed by his viciousness. This country will take a long time to heal, but with great organization’s like this one… they’re on

November 10, 2012 I Am Just One

When I went to Uganda in June, it was a dream come true. I have always wanted to go to Africa - to see first hand all that I have read about for years. I saw and learned so much. When I came home I kept wondering what I could do to help on an ongoing basis. The thought that I had packed up and came home - but that the people I had met who were struggling in disease, poverty and hard times were still there struggling... it just didn't sit well. What could I do to help? If you've been following my blog you may know some of this story... but I'll share anyhow. Back in 2011 I started to pray that God would use my camera to offer hope and do more. To make a difference. In December 2011, while photographing at the Ronald McDonald House I

August 1, 2012 Living Hope

People keep asking me about my trip to Uganda - it is really hard to sum up all that I saw and learned. So then they'll ask what made the most impact on me. And my answer is always the women. To see these women who have been abused, neglected, mistreated and disrespected... given their dignity back. To see their wounds - emotional and physical - healed. To see them walk with their heads held high. Smiles replacing tears. It is to witness a miracle and a thing of great beauty. I met women who had been abducted as children, forced to be child soldiers, raped, who watched loved ones murdered, and who were infected with AIDS and the stigma that goes with it. But that is not what I saw. I saw beautiful women, loved and valued. Women who were contributing to society. Women who were making a difference

June 28, 2012 Uganda: School

Today is the last day of school for kids at home. Such a day of celebration - two months off to play and be kids! I've been looking forward to today for a long time! In honour of school and education - I thought I'd share a bit of schools in Uganda. Education is so crucial to the health of a country. We were fortunate to visit numerous schools... some I have shared already. Schools at the Watoto Children's villages.... Women learning in classes at Living Hope.... Children learning in the Living Hope daycare.... Small rural schools.... Local boarding schools... And I'll sign off with the last school we visited. I hung out in the kindergarten classes in one of the Watoto Villages and then their vocational school there also. First the kindergarten classes - I should explain, some of the kids look older than kindergarten age. This is because they would have entered Watoto at

June 27, 2012 Uganda: The Babies

Over and over we are told that a child's first few years are the most crucial in their development. In Canada there are Early Years centres and government programming to help invest in the next generation in those first few years. This need for care, love and stimulation in those first years are important whether in Canada or Africa. And I love how Watoto is investing in Africa's future leaders by loving their babies. We saw many little ones who had been neglected, discarded, orphaned, and in desperate need of love. One little blind girl was found in the bottom of a latrine (toilet) by someone in her village. Children have been found with their hands and feet bound and thrown away. Each and every one of those children deserves a chance. Deserves love. Care. Nutrition. And a chance at a future. This is Watoto's newest child. Steven. Weighing 1.67kg.

June 27, 2012 Uganda: the Women

The longer I stay here in Uganda, the more the women impress me. These women work from morning to night while raising an army of children. They are incredible. I also believe it is with the women we will see change in this country and hope renewed! I just wanted to share a few favourites of the women here with Watoto. I had shared a bit about Living Hope before but have since spent more time with them both in Gulu and Kampala. I just love the way that Living Hope gives the women a practical skill they can take away and use to regain dignity. The women are taught to sew, weave, make food products and make awesome necklaces and more. I bought a few goodies! These women have been abducted, raped, have HIV, are widows, and the list goes on... but the joy they radiate is amazing!   These women are so

June 27, 2012 Uganda: Ruth

I think my favourite thing here is hearing the stories... stories of sheer sadness that are now filled with hope! Yesterday I got to spend the morning with Ruth. Ruth is 17 and a beautiful, articulate young woman. She told me all about her family and dreams. Ruth's father was wealthy and his neighbours and 'friends' got jealous of his cattle and land and murdered him. Ruth and her mother and sisters were extremely tight. The average family in Uganda has 7+ children but because they were a small family of only 3 children, they were exceptionally close. Her mother heard about Watoto and applied to be a house mother. All the house mothers in Watoto are widows. When Ruth was 6, she moved into Watoto with her mother and sister. Her family now grew to include more siblings - totaling 8 siblings all together. I asked Ruth if this was

June 26, 2012 Uganda: A New Home

On Sunday, we went and each spent an afternoon with a family in one of Watoto's villages. Their model is so unique and I'm just loving it! Each home is lovingly headed up by a widow - some have brought their own biological children with them - and together with a total of 8 children they form a new family. This is their home. It was great to spend time with them seeing what a typical day at home on the weekend looks like. The home I Was in had 4 girls ranging in age from 11-15, and 4 boys all age 7! Could you even imagine? But it really is amazing to see how the older ones encourage and teach the younger ones. And the younger ones make the older ones laugh and play! Here's a glimpse into a family life in one of Watoto's villages... When I

June 23, 2012 Uganda: Safari

Yesterday we had a "fun" outing outside of Watoto and their work. We went on a safari! Two months ago I would never have dreamed I'd be in Africa right now on a safari! Our guides all couldn't get over our luck... before we even got up to the park ranger we saw hyenas (I guess this is incredibly rare!) and a pair of lions. Amazing. It was such an incredible way to spend a morning - even if it meant getting up at 3am to be there for sunrise! Hyenas on the prowl Good morning lions! Notice the snake in it's mouth? Mmmmm breakfast! Animals aren't very good at hide and seek - but they try as you'll see in these next two pics ANd just some animal fun - enjoy! Then we stumbled across this... And then we went and had lunch at this amazing lodge HEre's our gang.... (L-R) Apollo (who knows everything and everyone in

I have been sharing with you some of the amazing stories of HOPE and restoration coming from Watoto, but yesterday we were taken to see some of the "before" situations. We went with our team and a social worker from Watoto to visit some very rural villages where some of the children have come from. To see the conditions they are in is so heartbreaking. Yes, they smile and dance and sing and laugh... but there is still so much need. It was like stepping into another world to visit these children. When we arrived, we first had to meet with their local council and gain permission. Then once approved, we were able to wander around and interact with the children freely. I adore kids - it doesn't matter we can't speak a word in the same language! I could have stayed there all day! Some of the kids are sponsored

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